As a family law attorney and court-appointed special advocate for foster children, one of the most compelling things that I’m involved in are cases where a parent’s rights are terminated against their consent. It is a tremendous power to exercise, and even though it usually means that the child is being adopted into a loving family, at times I feel some ambivalence.
In March 2012, Washington state’s differential response mandate was passed into law. In response, Child Protective Services (CPS) created the Family Assessment Response (FAR) pathway, and began implementing the program in January 2014. DSHS describes FAR as “an alternative method for responding to allegations of child abuse and neglect.” (1).
As many of you may know, Washington is a community property state. That means that the law presumes that property acquired during a marriage is owned by both parties equally – and thus, in the event of divorce or legal separation, a court may divide that property equally between them.
What many people don’t know is that this community property presumption can also extend to non-married couples. So, yes, if you and your significant other (boy/girl-friend, or whatever euphemism the kids are using these days) breakup, they may have a right to take up to half of the property that you thought was yours. This is because Washington state extends the community property presumption to “committed intimate relationships” (CIRs). Connell v. Francisco, 127 Wn.2d 339, 898 P.2d 831 (1995).
Before you act on thoughts you have about getting a divorce, there are six very important things to consider first. These steps are specific to get a Washington state divorce, but can be applied to divorce in most states. It’s essential to be certain of your decision and to feel good about the next steps. Here are the top six things to do before moving forward:
Associate attorney at Tilden & Associates, specializing in Family Law, Guardianship, and Child Advocacy. Dylan is a native to the PNW.
Owner and lead attorney here at Tilden & Associates. Her passion is for Adoption and Family Law. She lives in SW Washington with her family.
Contact Tilden & Associates at:
4001 Main Street, Suite 327
Vancouver, WA 98663