Talking to your kids about your divorce

This can be one of the hardest conversations you will ever have with your children.  Even though it is tough to do, it is often best to do it early before your children hear the news from someone else.  An article in Psychology Today includes recommendations that you plan what you say, talk to your children together, don’t blame, tell them why this is happening, tell them what will change and what will stay the same and which parent will leave the home.   The children will need reassurance and understanding that their reactions are normal.  The parents should be open […]

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Divorce Court

The word “divorce court” is widely used and may conjure up images of television shows in which the parties rage at each other in front of the judge. The truth, predictably, is less dramatic. Divorce courts in Washington are not referred to as “Divorce Court.” King County has a “Family Court” that deals with all family law cases involving children. If the parties are divorcing or filing for legal separation with or without children, their case will be assigned to a specific Judge and given a case schedule with various deadlines that both parties must meet before their case goes […]

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Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates finalize divorce

On August 2, 2021 Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates finalized their divorce pursuant to a separation contract.   They had been married for 27 years.  Bill Gates started Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen and he served as CEO and Melinda French Gates worked at Microsoft from 1987 to 1996.  They met in 1987, married in 1994, and launched their charitable foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.   At the time of their divorce, they were still co-chairs and trustees.  However in the month before the divorce was finalized, the Foundation said that Melinda French Gates will resign […]

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The basics of a parenting plan

A parenting plan is a court order which says which parent the child will live with, how much time will be spent with each parent, which parent will make major decisions, and how the parents will work out major disagreements.  A parenting plan is ordered in divorces, legal separations and other proceedings involving children such as a petition to decide parentage, a petitioner to change parenting plan as well as other legal matters.  The best interests of the children is the controlling factor in determining a parenting plan, and a Judge will decide whether a parenting plan provides the most […]

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Legal Separation

Basically a legal separation does all the same things a divorce does including distribution of property and debt, child support and custody, and determination of any maintenance but at the end you are still marrried.   There are various reasons why someone would want a legal separation instead of a divorce.  Sometimes a person is not certain they want to completely end the marriage but they still want the other relief that a legal separation can offer.  You do not have to file for legal separation before a divorce, if you have decided you want a divorce you can file directly […]

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Dividing property and debts in a divorce

Washington is one of nine states in the United States that have community property laws. In general, this means that all property gained during a marriage belongs to both spouses. Property acquired prior to marriage, by inheritance, or as a gift before, during, or after the marriage is normally separate property that belongs to only one spouse. Community debt is debt incurred during a marriage for which both partners share equal responsibility. Debt incurred before or after the marriage is referred to as separate debt. A court will consider community property and debt when dividing property and debt in a […]

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Getting a parenting plan/child custody order changed

This requires petitioning the Court for a modification of the  Parenting Plan .   There are minor modifications and major modifications.   A minor modification is a small change such as a change in the dates of holiday visits.  A major modification is a big change like a change in custody.  The change does not get granted automatically.  There is an initial hearing or threshold hearing where you must prove you have a good reason and adequate cause  for the modification you are asking for.  If you don’t meet the adequate cause threshold the judge will dismiss the case.  If you get […]

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Child Support

Washington state uses a standard child support formula that is based on the incomes of each spouse.   In addition to the base income, other types of income are included such as overtime, and wages from a second job.  Income that does not repeat such as one time  gifts, one bonuses, and prizes are not included.   If someone is voluntarily under-employed then State law “imputes” income to that person which means that person gets treated as if they were making what they should if they had not been working fewer hours to avoid paying child support.   The worksheet designate a standard […]

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Spousal maintenance

Spousal support or what is often known as alimony is where the Court orders one spouse to pay the other spouse ongoing amounts for support.  The main concern is the economic circumstances of both parties after the marriage ends.  There generally has to be a showing of need by one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay.  Other factors include the length of the marriage, the financial resources of the party asking for maintenance, the time needed to get training or education to find suitable employment, the standard of living during the marriage, and the age, physical […]

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Guardian ad Litem

A Guardian ad Litem or GAL investigates parties’ claims about parenting and makes a recommendation to the Judge such as about custody and parenting.  There is a cost which the court splits between the parties either 50/50 or based on income.  In some cases the court can place nearly all the fees on the requesting party.  Guardians ad Litems can be of help in cases involving allegations of abuse of children, substance abuse, obtaining information directly from the children, accessing CPS records, major disputes between the parents claims and where there is a large volume of evidence to review.  

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Convenient Out of Office Appointments Available
Mark S. Lee
Attorney at Law
40 Lake Bellevue Drive
Suite 100
Bellevue WA 98005
Phone: (206) 250-4249
Fax: (206) 452-2030