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Seattle Family Law Law Blog

Divorce and the emotional needs of children

Divorces include a multitude of variables. Parental worry about children can be a common factor in most divorces. A child often feels powerless and fearful when parents decide to dissolve their marriage. Children are unable to reason as well as adults; in fact, young children may react solely on emotion. Some children fear that parents are not only divorcing each other, but they are also divorcing their children.

The entire family experiences stress in a divorce. Parents can learn how to create the least amount of trauma for their children by understanding separation from a child's point of view. Children fear abandonment. A difficult child may feel guilt and self-blame for the family breakup. Each child's reaction will be characteristic of unique personality traits, as well as age-related coping and cognitive skills. Children also take their cues from parental behavior.

Signs your marriage may be heading for divorce

On your wedding day, you may pledge to be with your spouse until death. It may be ideal to stick with your partner through everything, but there could be a time when it is better to let things go. While you may try to work things out or go to therapy at first, if problems continue to arise, your marriage may be in deep trouble.

Each relationship is unique, and the decision to get a divorce is a deeply personal one. However, here are some red flags your marriage may be coming to an end. 

What is the purpose of a living will?

Almost everyone knows what a will is and why it is necessary. Despite this knowledge, many people still do not have one. A Gallup poll in 2016 revealed that less than half of Americans have created a will.

Even fewer people know what a living will is or have ever heard of it. If you are in this group, it is imperative that you become familiar with the purpose of a living will and include it in your estate plans to ensure the fulfillment of your wishes.

How to modify a custody agreement

The custody order in your divorce may not make sense forever. While your parenting plan or custody arrangement may work at the start, you may find it is inconvenient or even harmful for your kids. If this is the case in your situation, you may want to make changes to the existing order.

In order to modify a custody or visitation agreement, you must show there is a significant change in circumstances. Here is a basic overview of custody modifications in Washington state.

Are you considering who to name as executor in your will?

Perhaps you are about to prepare your will, or you need to update the will you created over a decade ago. One of your first tasks is to name, or possibly rename, your executor.

This is an important decision, and there may be several potential candidates for the job.

How does an unwed parent fight for custody?

If you have had a child with a partner that you are not married to, you may wonder how your parental rights differ from those of a married parent. Even if you are not married to the parent of your child, you have rights that courts have to honor, including a right to fight for custody. There are a few things every unwed parent should understand about the process of petitioning for custody.

A married parent does not necessarily have any rights that an unwed parent cannot gain, but you may have to advocate for yourself and your child. Consider the following tips for gaining custody, even if you are not married to your child's parent.

How community property laws affect your divorce

If you are facing a divorce, one of the primary concerns you will be dealing with is that of property and asset division. Most married couples have accumulated at least some property and assets during their marriage, such as a house, vehicles, and possibly some other major possessions such as a boat or vacation home. 

Regardless of how much property you have accumulated during your married life, there will be a specific format that you will have to adhere to in terms of dividing your property and assets when you go through your divorce. How that process works depends on the state in which your divorce occurs.

What is a special needs trust?

If you are the parent of a special needs child in Washington, your life may well be a roller coaster of ups and downs. You rejoice in every milestone (s)he reaches and your heart breaks over the ones (s)he cannot achieve. Throughout all this, your biggest worry may be who will provide the care your child needs if and when (s)he outlives you and what resources that person will have at his or her disposal.

You may be able to relieve yourself of both of these worries by establishing a special needs trust for your child’s benefit. It can last for his or her entire lifetime, thereby ensuring that (s)he will always get the care (she) needs.

Differences between contested and uncontested divorce

When it comes to divorce, one of the first things you need to understand is whether your divorce is going to be contested or uncontested. The differences between these two types of divorce will make a big impact on how your divorce moves forward and how you eventually arrive at a settlement or judgement.

In its simplest definition, the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce is that an uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce. However, there are other, subtler differences that will help you understand these two options.

Organize with lists and other estate planning tips

If the time has come for you to give serious consideration to estate planning, you may be wondering how to begin.

Your goal should be to become well organized by the time you meet with your attorney, and to do that, you should make lists. Here is a group of five to start you off:


Mark A. Brown, P.S.
1325 4th Avenue, Suite 940
Seattle, WA 98101

Phone: 206-686-4466
Fax: 206-515-2084
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