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Seattle Family Law Law Blog

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:

Are old wills valid?

Suppose you have a will that is 20 years old. Maybe it leaves practically everything to your ex-wife and nothing to your new wife. Would such a will still be valid?

Yes, it can be sometimes. However, the age of the will may raise some issues.

Basic requirements for a valid will

Making a will can give you control over what happens to your assets after you pass away. A well-drafted, specific will with clear provisions can also go a long way towards minimizing potential conflicts and misunderstandings later on.

The first thing you want to ensure is that your will meets basic legal requirements for validity. While these requirements can seem simple on the surface, the amount of litigation that has arisen over the years concerning these issues shows it is better to work with a lawyer rather than assume your will is just fine the way it is.

What happens if you do not leave a will in Washington state

Making a will is often one of those tasks people find a reason to put off. However, life can take unpredictable turns. Planning your property disposition in advance can save your loved ones many headaches and ensure your estate distribution occurs in accordance with your wishes.

Estate planning can begin with making a will, but can also include other legal mechanisms such as trusts. An experienced attorney can listen to your concerns and advise you on the best solutions for your circumstances.


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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