Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Family Law Temporary Orders

When your divorce or parenting plan case is first filed it is often nearly a year until trial.

Between filing the case and getting a final outcome by trial or agreement, there must be an interim court order to regulate financial and parenting issues.  These orders are called “temporary orders.”

Temporary order hearings are almost always on paper filings only (without testimony) and so you must prepare sworn statements of witnesses with personal knowledge of your parenting history, and file documents to give the court a snapshot of your current financial situation. Often, these statements and documents must be compiled within in only days, in a rush to a temporary order hearing.

Mason Law of Spokane can help you prepare for these hearings and follow the complex court procedures to get your position and facts before the court.  You will find them on the web at spokaneinjuryanddivorcelaw.com or call them at (509) 443-3681 for a consultation at their office located at West 1707 Broadway in Spokane.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Violence is NEVER the Answer.

Domestic violence (“DV”) and its accusations concern spouses, romantic partners, or co-parents who engage in abusive behavior toward one another.  That may result in one person striking the other and causing a visible injury, or even causing fear of injury is often sufficient for a domestic violence order to issue, as can stalking lead to a DV order.  Charges for domestic violence often are brought against one spouse against another which may lead to divorce proceedings, or after emotions heat up during a divorce, DV can erupt.

Unfortunately, false charges of domestic violence also occur as part of a strategy in a divorce, especially around the children. The courts and lawyers can have a difficult time getting to the true facts of what has happened.  Retaining a family lawyer in divorces that stem from domestic violence is essential at your earliest opportunity to ensure that your case is thoroughly investigated and that your legal rights are protected throughout the process. The rules of evidence are looser in a DV case, as the violence is intimate, and it is very difficult to sort out the truth of domestic violence behind the closed doors of family life.

One of the very best family attorneys in Eastern Washington State is Craig Mason of Mason Law.  You can count on his staff to fight for you in a divorce proceeding that stems initially from a domestic violence charge, or in sorting out DV after your case has begun.  Contact Mason Law of Spokane immediately if you fall into this category at (509) 443-3681.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

COVID 19 and Visitation

Unfortunately, some hostile parents are taking advantage of the governor’s stay-at-home orders as an excuse to not let the other parent have his or her visits, or to not return a child after a visit.

This was wrong at the outset of the COVID 19 emergency, and since then the courts have made it clear that it is legally wrong.

Travel to visitation for the exchange of children is considered an “essential activity,” and all parenting plans are to be followed (unless some new orders emerge).  The court is clear that this game-playing is not to occur.

If it does, then a motion to return the child will have to be filed electronically, and the court will decide whether the situation is urgent enough to schedule a telephonic hearing in the near future, or to await a contempt of court finding, and ordering make-up time, at a later date.

These are hard times that do not need to be made harder by parents behaving selfishly.

We are Mason Law of Spokane serving Eastern Washington with aggressive and effective representation in Washington State divorce proceedings, and we have already been in the thick of the COVID 19 special procedures.  Call us at 1707 West Broadway in Spokane at (509) 443-3681 for an electronic or telephonic appointment.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I Can’t Pass up that Job Opportunity.

What if you are faced with a chance to further your career, but it means moving out of the state of Washington with your minor child of whom you have primary care?  If an existing court order gives someone else any visitation rights at all, you must give that person notice of your plan to move with your child.  Understandably, they do not want to have their child move further way, and they have 30 days to start a court action by filing a formal objection to your relocation. (Even simply moving to another school district creates the right to a trial.)

Alternatively, maybe you are the parent who does not have primary placement, but you do have rights to time with the child under your parenting plan, and you are the one filing the objection to the relocation. You have a right to a trial that will occur on the basis of statutory factors (e.g., like relationship strength, relatives in the area, or unique needs of the child, among many factors). The parent with primary placement is “presumed” to be able to move, and the non-primary parent must “rebut” that presumption at trial, on the statutory factors.

Even parents with 50/50 parenting plans will have a relocation trial based upon those statutory factors (but without a presumption in favor of either parent).

The court must show that it has considered all of these factors, and your task at trial is to present evidence on those factors.  Here at Mason Law, in Spokane, WA, we help you present evidence on all the statutory factors to help lead the Washington State Family Court to a correct decision. Please give us a call at Mason Law today.  That number is (509) 443-3681.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

“But It’s in My Name”

In community property states, of which Washington is one, the marriage owns all the labor of both persons during the life of the marriage, and everything purchased by the proceeds of this labor belongs to the marriage, unless otherwise gifted or contracted away.

And when the court turns to “characterizing” property as separate or community property, the court looks to the “source of funds” with which the property was purchased.  In short, if you cannot “trace” a separate property source for the purchase, then the purchase is presumed to be made with community funds, and the asset is presumed to be community property. “Title” (whose name it is in) does not matter.

Of course, there are exceptions and complexities, for example, if you can claim that when something was titled in your name it was meant to be separate property as a gift, or part of an enforceable property agreement between you and your spouse, then title is evidence of that agreement.  Or if an inherited house, that would normally be separate property, is titled in both spouses’ names, that can be evidence that the intention was to gift the property to the community, by the deceased or by the inheriting spouse.

This little sample is not legal advice.  It is simply a reminder to seek legal counsel in the face of very complex legal rules.  For help understanding these complexities in the laws of Washington State, call Mason Law in Spokane at (509) 443-3681.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Valentine’s Day in Spokane

(Click the link for more information)

"The annual day of love is nearing. If you haven’t begun thinking about your Valentine’s Day plans yet, fear not because Spokane has you covered with date ideas and romantic things to do."

 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Domestic Violence: A Tough Call for the Courts

Domestic Violence Protection (DVP) orders under RCW 26.50 serve an important part in protecting a spouse, or even a former romantic partner from misbehavior of the other party, from violence and threats of violence. Beware because they are also misused for the purpose of gaining a strategic advantage in a divorce, especially in regards to children.  This is unfortunate, because then genuine threats can be dismissed as merely litigation strategy.  There are “false negatives” and “false positives” all too often when our over-burdened courts make the wrong call.

These DVP orders usually are first issued “ex parte.”  That means without notice to the other person until he or she is served with the proper papers.  Normally a hearing will be set within 14 days from the ex parte order being granted by the court, so that the restrained person has an opportunity to present his or her side of the story.

If these orders are violated, the penalties are severe.  They range from a gross misdemeanor to a class C felony.  Even if you are completely innocent of the alleged domestic violence, you must obey the order unless it is changed in the full hearing.  To prepare for that hearing, as the person bringing the petition, or as the person defending against a petition, you need strong legal representation to prepare your facts for the court.

Craig Mason and his team at Mason Law in Spokane, Washington, will be able to help you fully prepare for court, so that your story is heard. Call Mason Law for a consultation at (509) 443-3681 today.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Keeping your Family Together.

If your family has been disrupted by divorce, or a break-up between any pair of parents, in 2019, the underage children get caught in the middle. Washington State courts will probably give you substantial time with your children if you do not have behavioral, criminal, or drug problems.  So, hire a capable family attorney if your former significant other says: “I will take the kids from you.”

Legally speaking, it is in the best interests of the kids to be raised by both parents on terms that most match what went on before the break up, and that is what the court is required, by statute, to arrange.  Some attorneys will promise your angry ex-spouse that they can get "sole custody," and keep you from your children.  They may even try to convince the court that your presence is harmful to the children!

If your break-up or divorce takes this unfortunate turn, Spokane family lawyer, Craig Mason, routinely fights back against such outlandish, and damaging, attempts to keep you from your children.  He has years of experience in helping people just like you prepare and present the real facts, and in developing the relevant witness statements, to defeat such attempts to deprive you of participating in the lives of your children.  Call Spokane Family lawyer Craig Mason at (509) 443-3681.