The Real World of Alimony (Spousal Maintenance) Under Washington State Divorce Law

Washington Divorce law views spousal maintenance on the basis of what is called the “economic partnership model”. However, it usually focuses on the length of the marriage. If the marriage is less than five years you very rarely get maintenance.

The only time I see maintenance/alimony awarded in marriages less than five years is where one party is unemployed or would end up on the street if their partner just left them. Even in those cases, the awarded at temporary orders reads something like: “The [husband/wife] shall pay to the wife maintenance in an amount of $500 for six months or until the wife secures full-time employment. If full-time employment has not been found in 6 months the [husband/wife] may petition the court for an extension but only for good cause shown.” I have written orders like that many many times. At the temporary orders stage the judge or commissioner makes his or her ruling and says “Counsel, Write up the Orders”. Tradition has it that the primarily prevailing party draws them up; although sometimes a lawyer much older than you will assume that he or she will do the honors. We then often times have to go back in and argue over them. But that is usually if the attorneys either don’t know each other or one is inexperienced. As lawyers we also sit in the back of the courtroom and wait for our case to be called. During that time we talk with other attorneys about their cases or watch how the judges and commissioners decide other cases in Family Court.

On the other hand marriages longer than 20 years almost always do involve some form of maintenance, or “evening out” of the income and assets over time. The goal of the Court in such long-term marriages is mainly to maintain the partys financial standing at the same level for a considerable time after the marriage.

Spousal maintenance in Washington has traditionally been defined by an oft-quoted (and legally cited) bar journal article by Judge Windsor. It has been cited in many Washington divorce Supreme court cases.

Recently, there has been discussion regarding a new metaphor. A recent (2006) Washington State Bar Journal article discusses the subject. Maintenance can be highly discretionary and the cases I have dealt with on appeal have been difficult to overturn. That is basically the general consensus: the Judge or Commissioner must have really, really screwed up before they overturn it. Yes, you are thinking the right thing: it is very important to win at the lower levels. Don’t sit back and comfort yourself that “If they make the wrong decision I can just appeal.” This is not tax or corporate law. There are fewer analytical rules to follow. And this is alimony in the real world.

California State Divorce How to Start Yours

California state divorce laws are not that difficult to understand if you have good information. With the right advice, instructions, and explanations, you can get your own divorce started without hiring an attorney, and save a lot of money on legal fees.

This article will provide an overview of California state divorce laws in the context of how you can start your own divorce. You will learn what California law says about the roles of the Petitioner and the Respondent and implications of each role in the divorce.

The Petitioner and the Respondent. According to California Family Law Code Section 2330, every California state divorce starts with a Petition. The legal term for divorce in the code is “dissolution of marriage”.

The Petitioner is the person who first files papers and gets the case started. The Respondent is the other party. A Response need not be filed, but it is a good idea, otherwise the inactive person has little say about when or how the divorce is completed, unless there is already a written agreement. In order to become officially involved in the divorce, the Respondent will need to fill out and file California Family Law Form FL-120 (the Response).

In general, the more both parties participate, the better. After a Response is filed, the divorce can be completed only by written agreement or court trial. Agreement is better.

Equality. Once a Response is filed, the Respondent has equal standing and there is no legal difference between the parties or their rights, and either party can take any available legal step.

The Petition. So if you are the one who will start your divorce, you will be the Petitioner, and you will need to fill out California Family Law Forms FL-100 (the Petition) and FL-110 (the Summons) and file them with the Clerk at the appropriate courthouse. According to California state divorce law (as described in Family Law Code Section 2331), you will then need to serve your divorce papers on your spouse.

The only thing you need to know before you do this is that you want a divorce. The issues can all be sorted out and resolved later. However, it would be smart to learn the basics about California state divorce law before you start.

Advantages to serving the Petition:
Starts the clock ticking on waiting periods. California state divorce law states that the Respondent has 30 days to respond.
Causes automatic restraining orders to take effect, as per the instructions on the back of Family Law Form FL-110 (the Summons).
Has psychological value for Petitioner and tells Respondent a divorce is really going to happen.
Helps establish the date of separation. According to California state divorce law, the date of separation is whenever you can prove that one spouse intended to make a complete, final break (not just a temporary separation), with simultaneous conduct furthering that intent.

Possible downside. Serving papers can upset your spouse and stir up conflict if you dont properly prepare him or her ahead of time.

Getting a smooth start. Unless your soon-to-be Ex is an abuser/controller, you will probably want to start things off as nicely as possible. An abrupt start will probably increase conflict as an upset spouse is more likely to run to an attorney who will probably make your case more complicated.

So take some time to prepare your Ex and let him/her get used to the idea that a divorce is about to start. If you arent comfortable discussing things in person, write a nice letter. Let your spouse know you are committed to working out a settlement that you can both agree to and live with. Unless you are under time pressure, dont serve your Summons and Petition until your partner seems ready to receive the papers calmly.

The Response. A Response should be filed within 30 days of receiving the Summons and Petition, but can be filed any time before Petitioner declares the Respondents default.

Filing a Response is not an aggressive act. In fact, it is usually a good idea for the Respondent to take part in the action, especially if you have kids or property or debts to be divided. It is easy to do.

The only disadvantages are Respondents filing fee of about $320 for a California divorce, and the possibility that you might have to file a questionnaire about your case in order to avoid a case conference hearing.

There are numerous advantages to filing a Response. If theres no Response, Respondent has little control over when and how the divorce is completed, so the Respondent feels insecure. By filing, Respondent joins the case on an equal standing with Petitioner, so Respondent feels more a part of the process, more in the loop, more confident. Experience and studies show that the more Respondent participates, and understands the California state divorce process, the better the outcome is likely to be.

Child Support in New York

Any couple that goes through a divorce has to deal with many issues, but those that have children usually go through even more acrimony when dealing with custody and support for their children. Child support is financial support provided by the noncustodial parent. Child support includes, cash payments (based on the parent’s income and the needs of the child), health insurance for the child, payments for child care, and payments for reasonable health care costs that are not covered by health insurance. Family Court determines the amount of child support the noncustodial parent will pay. Under New York State law, parents are responsible for supporting their child until the child is 21 years old.

There are guidelines in which the court uses to determine the amount of child support that is owed to the custodial parent, based on the noncustodial parent’s adjusted gross income and on the number of children involved. The court first determines the noncustodial parent’s gross income. The court then multiplies the adjusted gross income by the standard guideline percentage for the number of children. These percentages are as follows:
17% for one child
25% for two children
29% for three children
31% for four children
at least 35% for five or more children.
Then the noncustodial parent’s share of child care, medical, and educational expenses is added to the income percentage amount. The combined amount, percentage of income plus share of expenses, is the basic child support amount.

For incomes over $130,000, the court determines whether or not to use the percentage guidelines and may consider other factors in setting the full child support payment.

The main problem that many noncustodial parents have an issue with is that many fill out long and tedious expense forms and when it comes time to determine the monthly the courts do not take into consideration the expenses of the noncustodial parent. If you cannot pay your child support you can file a “petition for modification” with the court that issued the support order. Only the court can change what you owe. Just because you think you cannot pay, do not stop paying. Continue to pay what you can while you wait for the court to make a decision. You should know that the court will only change the amount of support you need to pay if there has been a substantial change in your ability to pay.

Dealing with child support and child custody it can be very emotional, remember that in the end you want what is best for your children.

Divorce Mediation Where to Get Help, Advice and Do-It-Yourself Forms

Remember when …

Breaking up was easy

Okay, maybe it was never easy but it was sure easier than it is when you’ve got kids, mortgages and pension plans together!

Traditional Methods of Resolving Break-Ups:
Scenario 1

-Today, Traditional Methods of “Breaking-Up” typically mean hours and hours in Divorce Court and Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Attorneys Fees
Not to mention the Emotional Wreckage to Parents AND their children

-Outrageous Fees
Think about it – every time you have to go to court, that’s at least 2 hours of attorney time at $250 per hour
That’s $500 EACH party pays for each of 3-4 court appearances NOT including the final hearing

-But Wait – There’s More
So that’s 2 hours per court appearance times 4 court appearances = 8 hours + 8 hours for the final hearing (16 hours total)
Then, for every hour IN court there are probably 2 hours spent preparing for court (another 32 hours – that’s 48 total EACH)
$10,000+ (add to that fees paid to experts – experts about the children, about finances)

-Meanwhile …
You talk to your lawyer, who talks to the Judge, the other lawyer and the “experts”
The former “love-of-your-life” talks to their lawyer, who talks to the Judge, the other lawyer and the “experts”
The Judge, who has known you for all of a day (maybe) determines your fate and your children’s fate
Oh, and notice who aren’t talking to one another – the only two adults who aren’t being paid to be there – the only two who are ultimately responsible for the children

Scenario 2
-Do-It-Yourself Method
The forms aren’t the easiest things to fill out
If you slip up and fail to properly define something or forget to put something in the paperwork – Guess What?!?
Do Not Pass Go – Go straight back to Scenario 1(you’d be shocked how often this happens)

Is there any other way?

Yes
The Petovero Method(TM)
Divorce and Child Custody Resolutions
made easy

We use a unique process that includes mediation and that deals with all the aspects a person has to contend with when there are children, or assets, or debts involved

We focus on results while generating an environment that reduces the impact on the parties, and, perhaps more importantly, on the children

There’s an old saying: Criminal Lawyers See Bad People at their Best and Divorce Lawyers See Good People at their Worst.

We help good people invent a new life, that nurtures them and their children and facilitates the return of productivity, fun and play.
Go to petovero.com for more information

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The Seven Deadly Sins Of Divorce

SPEAK OUT OF TURN DURING COURT. Each judge has a system, and that system is their way of maintaining orderliness in their courtroom. Honor the system, or you may damage your credibility with the judge.

#6 ASSUME YOUR SPOUSES SILENCE MEANS AGREEMENT. A woman left her soon-to-be ex-husband a voicemail, telling him she would not sign the Agreed Decree for divorce because its terms were unfair. She requested extra time to file a response. Although her husband did not return her call, she was absolutely certain he would grant her the extra time.

Instead of granting her the extra time, her husband proceeded with forging the womans signature on the Agreed Decree, hoping it would be finalized and he would be able to enforce its unfair terms against the woman.

What is the point of this story? Do not assume your spouses silence means he/she is in agreement with you.

#5 FAIL TO FULLY RETAIN YOUR DIVORCE ATTORNEY. Your divorce case will be fact-intensive and will involve time. Once you get to the half-way point of the divorce process, your attorney will be intricately involved.

Fully retain your attorney, or you may have to find a new attorney, which would set your case back significantly.

#4 USE PROFANITY IN THE COURTROOM. Inside of the courtroom, there is a high level of decorum that the judges bailiff, the judges clerk, and the judge himself will expect you to honor. Refrain from using profanity in the courtroom.

#3 HOLD YOUR CHILD FOR RANSOM. You may have heard of a case like this: Per a Temporary Agreement, mom has custody of her six-year-old son, and dad, who lives out of state, gets him during school breaks and holidays. Everything goes okay until the end of Christmas break, when dad fails to show up at the agreed-upon meeting point to return son to mom. Dad wont return moms frantic phone calls. Dad calls mom the next day, saying son will be living with him, and if she wants to see him again, she will have to agree to new terms.

At the point when dad uttered those words, he committed Contempt of Court. Withholding your child from your spouse in exchange for more favorable terms is against the law and will be punished. Do not hold your child for ransom against your spouse!

#2 DO SOMETHING DRASTIC. Here is a checklist of “drastic” mistakes spouses sometimes make:

Leave a voicemail, or send an e-mail or note to your child, bad-mouthing their mom/dad.

Bribe your child (candy, an X-box 360, etc.) so that the child will tell the judge he wants to live with you.

Hide, or ask a friend to hide, your marital assets.

Hire a friend/co-worker to spy on your spouse.

Forge signatures/documentation.
When in doubt about the proper action, always ask your divorce attorney.

#1 LIE TO THE JUDGE WHILE UNDER OATH.

I Love You. . .Different Men,Different Meanings

I can sleep with her, marry her, take care of her, but love thats something else,” said Tony, a married man in his late forties. “Guys dont like to talk about love. They dont know what to say. Of course guys do love. But they express it differently.” Despite this fact, most women do not feel happy unless they hear those golden words, I love you. Men need to hear them as well. And yet, as much as men want love, many fight it to the last minute. Love can make men feel vulnerable, childlike, and unable to do whats expected of us, especially those who believe theyre functioning in a dog eat dog world.

Different types of men express their love differently. In fact, love means different things to a man, at different times in his life. A woman needs to be alert to who the man she is with is, and what love means to him. Although most women wait to hear the golden words, “I Love You,” there are many different ways that men use to express what they are feeling.

The first way is simply by saying “I Love You.”

Actually, saying these words is a huge step for some men. It means a lot more than simply expressing a feeling. For some it feels like a life commitment, for others it is fraught with danger.

“When I say I love you,” said Steve, “I feel like Im taking my life in my hands and giving it to her. Its scary. Ive got to really trust her and know she wont throw my love away in order to actually say the words to her.” In this case the fear of rejection comes up strongly. Rejection is enormously painful for most men, and saying “I Love You”, can be an invitation to be hurt. Most men must feel very secure in the relationship and in the womans feelings for him, before hell dare say those words. For others, saying “I love you,” means, Im offering a commitment. Im going to be here to do things for you.

For many men, love is expressed through action, so these words are a promise of what is to follow. Simply by saying these words they feel they are agreeing to be there to give to support her. If they dont do it, theyll feel like a heel.

For others, the words means, Im not leaving, or Ill always be faithful. This can be very scary for some men. They feel the words themselves are a promise, and if the promise is broken, they will suffer as well.

However, there is another type of man, The Lovers, Dreamers and Peter Pans, who enjoy falling in love and letting the world know it. These men will say “I Love You” easily.

There are many different motives behind their words though.

Some say it to get a woman to make love with him, others to enter into a romantic fantasy, some to feel as though they are the great lover of all time. By saying these words, others seem to be offering the woman the world ( that they have no intention of giving.)

Others say it just for the sheer pleasure of seeing how good it makes the woman feel, and how powerful this makes him feel.

The Why and How about a Prenuptial Agreement

Before marriage, couples often shy away from discussions of money, and their reluctance is understandable: Finance and romance seem mutually exclusive.

In fact, however, bringing financial issues into the open can be healthy, and it can be done without a full-scale return to the days of arranged marriages and fiercely negotiated dowries. Today, a couple can enter into a prenuptial agreement before the wedding, and that agreement will govern a wide range of financial matters in the future.

What can you put into a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement can cover a wide range of financial matters both during and after the marriage.

You can use a prenuptial agreement to specify whether some property individually obtained during the marriage will remain the property of one spouse and will not be treated as community property.

You can keep property, including property that might later be acquired by inheritance, in one spouses family.

You can limit one spouses liability for the debts of the other spouse.

You can define your respective financial responsibilities during the marriage, separating responsibility for household expenses, specifying how bank and credit accounts will be handled, and determining how taxes will be filed.
You can make provision for a spouses children from a previous marriage.

You can decide how property will be divided in the event of divorce and, in some jurisdictions, whether alimony will be part of the divorce settlement.

The precise answer to the question “What can you put into a prenup?” varies from state to state, but its fair to say that almost anything that is otherwise legal can be included, except for an agreement that defines the terms of support for the couples children.

How do you get a prenup?

The hallmarks of a valid, enforceable prenuptial agreement are disclosure and fairness. Unless both parties disclose all relevant details of their finances, the agreement is readily challenged, and it makes good sense to provide that information well in advance of the wedding day. The party receiving that information should have enough time to understand its implications. When information is provided at the last minute, a prenuptial agreement lawyer can argue that it was tantamount to receiving no information at all.

Demonstrating the requisite degree of fairness does not necessarily require that the agreement be fair by some particular standard. It does, however, necessitate the involvement of legal counsel. Each spouse must be provided with his or her own prenuptial agreement lawyer, someone with undivided loyalty to the individual, not to the parties as a couple.

The question “How do you get a prenup?” is only part of the ultimate question. In order to arrive at a prenuptial agreement that works, one that is valid and enforceable, both parties must put their cards on the table and each must have separate legal representation.

The State of Virginia Divorce Records

Divorce records are vital records. They play a certain role in the legal and historical records everywhere. Thus, everyone can benefit from such records. The state of Virginia, just like any other states, also keeps a file on these said records.

The Division of Vital Records is the best place to look for Virginia Divorce Records which are kept in a statewide level for an easier search and access. It is with the existence of the Freedom of Information Act that makes divorce records part of public records and are therefore open for the public to access. The searching process should also be easy and convenient because Virginia has it on a statewide level.

Searching for this Divorce Records Virginia can be done by visiting your local government offices. As long as proper procedures are followed, youll surely have whatever it is that you need right into your hands. Apart from following certain procedures, theres also a need for you to fill up a form and input important information like the couples first and last name, the time the divorce took place as well as the location, your full name and your email address.

The State of Virginia Divorce Records can be obtained in three ways based on the Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics. To mention, these are through mail, walk-in, and the use of VitalChek Network. The main difference of these ways is on the length of their waiting time in which the second way is said to be the fastest among the three ways. You must also know that the third option requires your credit card for the payment of the required charge.

The public is also entitled to have access to Divorce Court Records which will be available at any local courthouses where the divorce court proceedings happened. Court records contain a lot of important information that you can learn from. Such information includes the personal information of the couple, their parents and childrens, when and where the divorce happened, and why the divorce took place. It will also show the filing number, decree, asset division and settlement, restraining orders, children custody and other related information.

It is possible to encounter problems as you go through searching for these divorce court records because county courthouses are not at all linked. That is why to avoid getting lost, you have to know the place where the divorce took place so that you will know where to start from searching. Court records have two versions-free and paid. For a thorough and detailed information, your best option is to turn to the paid one.

Top Divorce Questions

Filing for divorce does not require justification in many states. However, divorce law varies from state to state, and that can make it daunting for most people. Most divorces are emotional and stressful experiences even without the legal complexities. Naturally, questions about divorce are among the most common on sites like JustAnswer. Below are a few of the most frequently asked divorce law questions. Is a lawyer necessary while filing for a divorce?
If both parties are in complete agreement, there may not be a need to retain a lawyer. In most cases though, disagreements and misunderstandings can start after the divorce. This can be because all aspects and implications of the divorce were not foreseen and addressed beforehand. Retaining a lawyer can help you address many of the issues that may come up in future. Also, divorce law can change from state to state, making it a practical and wise decision to retain a lawyer at the outset.

Can a spouse contest a no-fault divorce before it goes to court?
A no-fault divorce application can only be filed when both partners agree completely. Most states do not even require you to have a reason or “grounds” for divorce if both the partners are in agreement. When a divorce application is filed, regardless of whether it is a no-fault divorce application or not, it can be contested by either of the partners before the final divorce decree is signed.

What can you do if a respondent violates a court ordered divorce decree?
You can consider filing a petition for contempt of court. The petition would have to be filed at a court in the state where the divorce was granted. The severity of the violation and the law of the state will determine what legal action you can take against the violating respondent.

Filing international divorce
A divorce can be filed regardless of the geographical location of your spouse as long as you are a resident of the state where you file for the divorce. Once you file for a divorce, a summons would have to be served on your spouse. If you do not know the exact location of your spouse, you should ask a lawyer. There could be other recourse that a lawyer would be able to recommend depending on your exact situation.

Do you need to file for divorce in the same state that you have a prenuptial agreement in?
You should file for divorce in the state you currently reside in. Different states have different stipulations about how long you should have been a resident in the state before you can file for divorce. The courts in most states will recognize the pre-nuptial agreement from a different state, as long as it does not conflict with other local or state laws.

The legal procedures of filing for divorce can seem daunting and confusing at times. Depending on how well informed you are about the divorce law in your state; the process can either seem simple or very traumatic. Questions about your specific situation are bound to arise in most cases. At such times, you can ask a lawyer on JustAnswer and get quick answers specific to your situation and the laws in your state.

Who Needs A Family Solicitor

Numerous men and women will require the services of the family law court system at some place in their lives. Many could never foresee that they would discover themselves in the court room having employed the services of a family solicitor.

Here are a few examples of positive reasons why a person or family may require the services of a Family Law Solicitor. Adoption of a child or baby is an exciting life-choice however there are many legal aspects that have to be dealt with. A family solicitor could be helping a couple complete their family, or drawing up the papers that helps a single parent feed and cloth their children.

However, it is an unfortunate reality that many end up in the family law court for less pleasant reasons. The possibilities are endless however, they could be going through the process of divorce, fighting someone over child custody, they could be in the process of getting sued for child support, or being taken to court for alimony. There are sad cases of family members being accused of abuse or paternity cases where one is fighting to prove or disprove that they are the paternal father. In these types of cases there are no exclusions due to age, gender race or religion; all are expected to attend court. The impact of a courts decision in all these matters is likely to be significant in terms of the future of the family.

Those who have been married, divorced, living as domestic partners, or even those involved in a civil union may appear in family law and court if there is not a ‘happily ever after’ solution. The courts will decide who gets what in terms of property and persons. So who gets which visitation periods of the children, who keeps the family home, who owes for the debt the couple accrued while together will all be decided and more. It is often very difficult, upsetting and complicated to work out all the details of who gets what. However the process is there to settle disputes and allow people and families to rebuild their lives.

So with all of this to worry about you should seek the advice and services of a family law solicitor. Professional legal advice will make certain that you interests are suitably protected.

Relationship agreements (sometimes called nuptial agreements) can give you peace of mind. So if you plan to get married, start cohabiting or are about to enter into a civil partnership then some form of formal relationship agreement can protect you both.