Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Parenting Plans

Sometimes divorcing parents get so involved in speaking ill of each other, that they (and their attorneys) overlook the factors considered by the court that are all about the children - and not about the parents' emotions.

The court will look at "the best interests" of the child.  If you left the children at home to go to church, to go fishing, or to go have an affair, the court does not care which it was.  (This is the meaning of "no-fault" divorce.)  The issue is only how much love and energy you put into the children

The court wants to know who has the strongest and most stable relationship with the child.  Who has nurtured the child?  Who has gone to the school to get lessons and made sure the child did his/her lessons?  Who has fed the child healthy meals?

And what does the child need now, and into the future, to grow and thrive?

If the child is sufficiently mature, the court might "take into account" the child's wishes, but no matter how old the child gets, the court is the decision-maker (not the child), and the court will look at which parent's home will best serve the child's growth and development.  There are some other factors, as well, but the focus remains on: Which parent has put in the time and effort to help the child grow?  If both parents have done so nearly equally, and have similar work schedules, then 50/50 plans are much more common in recent years.

Here at Mason Law we help you get beyond the irrelevant things you might want to say in pain and anger, and we help you focus on what the court needs to know about the best interests of your children. Contact Craig Mason at Mason Law at 509-443-3681 in Spokane, WA.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Community Property/Separate Property

There are nine community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In these states, all property of a married person is classified as either community property (owned jointly by both spouses) or the separate property of one spouse.

In some of those states, once the property is "characterized" as separate property, the court loses the power to give it to the other spouse. Other states are like Washington in that the court must characterize the property before making a "just and equitable distribution," but that "just and equitable distribution" can include giving separate property to the other spouse.

These cases can get very complex in the determination of whether property is separate or community, and during the course of those cases clients often learn that they should have (or should not have) gotten a prenuptial agreement, or a property agreement, or they learn many other aspects of the law that lead them to wish they had better prepared for a possible divorce.

At Mason Law, Craig Mason has years of experience with these matters in Spokane County and other Eastern Washington counties. Call Mason Law at 509-443-3681.  And for further reading see In re Marriage of Kile & Kendall, 186 Wash. App. 864, 347 P.3d 894 (2015), a case in which a Mr. Mason's appeal reversed the legal errors of a very smart judge -- community property law is simply that tricky to understand.