Uncontested Divorce or Separation:
What does uncontested divorce or separation mean and why is it a good idea?
Uncontested simply means that you both sign the divorce or separation documents based on an agreement that you work out ahead of time. Why is it a good idea? First, it’s simpler, faster and won’t break the bank. Most cases can be done for a flat fee so you know exactly what to plan for. Second, it allows you to end your marriage with dignity and as little emotional stress as possible.
In the case of an uncontested separation, filing something with the court isn’t always required. You can handle property and other issues with a private contract. Although a divorce is public record, if you enter into a separation contract first, the terms of that contract covering property division, spousal support, custody, etc. do not have to be made part of the court record. This allows you to preserve your privacy by not having the terms of the divorce included in the public record.
You don’t have to agree on everything to do an uncontested divorce or separation. It’s enough that neither of you want to get involved in long, drawn-out court battles where the only winners are usually the attorneys. The areas where you don’t agree can be negotiated with the help of our in-house mediation service.
Why do I need the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer if we agree on everything?
Even though you agree on everything, there is a lot of very detailed paperwork. Documents need to be filed with the court in a specific way, and everything has to match. Also, the forms and local rules can change at any time. At the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer, our staff is familiar with the latest forms and rules, so working with us will save you a lot of potential grief.
What are the odds I will have to pay spousal maintenance if my wife and I make the same amount of money?
The chances are low. Spousal maintenance is designed to help one party adjust to life outside of a marriage and get them back into the workforce. If your incomes are similar, it is unlikely either party will have to pay alimony.
Child Custody and Visitation:
How hard is it to apply for custody in Washington State?
If you are a loving parent with the means to provide for your child, it is not difficult at all. In Washington State, you may file for primary custody, joint custody, non-parental custody, or sole custody–to name a few. Not only can we help you draft a proposed parenting plan, but we can also help you file it with the court.
I am above 18, and I wish to become my younger brother’s guardian. Is this possible?
Yes. This is doable. You can petition to become his guardian as long as you can prove that your parents are not “fit” to care for him at this time. The judge will take your words into consideration and strive to put your brother in the best home.
My daughter is starting college soon. Do I have to pay child support?
You might have to pay support while your child pursues a college degree in some situations. Check your child support order’s end date to see when your obligations are set to expire. If you would prefer not to support your child while she is in college, any of our family law attorneys are happy to speak to you about your options.
Agreed Modifications of Parenting Plans and Child Support:
Can you help with things like adjusting child support amounts, visitation, and custody if we both agree?
Definitely. All these issues are contained in the parenting plan and/or order for child support. As long as the proposed support doesn’t violate state law, modifications that the parents agree on can be handled quickly and easily with minimal court involvement.
Relocation With Children:
I do not have visitation rights. Do I need to provide notice if I am moving to a different state?
No. It is unlikely that you will have to notify your child’s other parent. However, if you plan to petition for visitation rights, you will need to propose a parenting plan.
I have a stepchild I would like to adopt. How difficult is that?
Surprisingly easy. If it has been a long-term relationship with little to no involvement by the biological parent, it’s usually pretty simple to get the biological parent to consent to the adoption. Sometimes the biological parent hasn’t been heard from in a long time and might be difficult to locate. That creates a delay, but it doesn’t stop the process. In that case, we ask that the parental rights of the biological parent be terminated due to parental neglect. Unless the biological parent objects, that request is normally granted. Then, the rest of the adoption process can continue.
We’re pretty sure we agree on most everything, but we still have a couple of things to negotiate. What do we do?
That is a perfect situation for mediation. We normally use a co-mediation format since that takes care of any perception that a single mediator might be “taking sides.” We have a variety of ways to help you negotiate an arrangement that might not be what you ideally want, but it will be something you can both live with.
I’m good with paperwork, and I can do most of this myself. Can you look over my work?
Sure! Another pair of eyes is often a good thing to have available when doing very detailed work that needs to be correct. If you are confident that you can tackle the forms yourself, and you and your partner agree on the terms, we will review your work and make suggestions if they seem appropriate.