The First Amendment is an important one. It is first, after all. Although most Americans can agree that freedom of speech is foundational to our country, what is considered protected speech is a fairly complicated area of law. It’s not just words – conduct, dance, art, clothing, donations, and symbolic gestures are all considered speech (among other things). So too is the right not to speak.
One of the most difficult things in family law can be that he says one thing, she says another, and then a judge/commissioner has to make a decision based on which parent seems more credible. So how can you prepare for court so that everything doesn’t end up he said-she said?
We have a system of justice that I want to believe in and yet it seems like every day it fails me. Or really, it fails people of color. Not me personally. I’m a privileged white girl who grew up on a farm – I never had to worry about being shot as I walked into school. I never had to think about which gang I might join to ensure protection while I walked to the bus stop. When I talked to my family about our heritage, I didn’t have to listen to painful stories about how at one time someone owned me and beat me at their will if I deigned to do something like speak up. While my family did not have a lot of money I definitely never wanted for anything and certainly not the basics like food, shelter, or safety.
Communication – or lack thereof – seems to be the root of many the world’s problems. In fact, this very well may be one of the main reasons you are getting a divorce. Communicating when your spouse becomes your ex is decidedly more difficult than when he/she was your spouse. But beyond the hurt and the raw emotions of it all, poor communication can (and will) end up in the courtroom and come back to haunt you. So just don’t do it.
“I want to go for full custody.” I always ask folks what exactly they mean by that, because what that sounds like is a parent who wants to have the children full-time, with no visitation for or input from the other parent, and I’m here to tell you that’s a highly unlikely scenario.
Got an ex who always shows up late for pick ups/drop offs? Or one who is months behind in child support? You’ve sent them emails, texts, strongly worded letters… and nothing seems to work. So what do you do when one party continually violates a court order? If it’s a parenting plan, a child support order, a maintenance order, a restraining order, or any of the aforementioned as temporary orders, then a contempt hearing might just be in order. Contempt is defined by RCW 7.21.030(b) as the intentional disobedience of a court order.
The biggest myth that seems to be propagated about child support is that he who has the children more receives more child support. If I get the kids 50 percent of the time, then I won’t have to pay child support!
Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
Legal separation is largely the same thing as divorce. When you legally separate the court will divide your assets and your liabilities, can grant child support and spousal maintenance, and can enter a parenting plan. The only catch is that at the end of it all you’re still technically married. That means neither of you can remarry.
Why would you want to do this?
Going to court can be extremely stressful. What heightens that stress is not even knowing what to expect. Thus, here’s a quick run-down of how to prepare for your day in court, and some general rules to keep in mind when you’re there.
Relocation is one of the hardest issues to resolve. Relocation cases are more likely to go to trial than other types of family law issues because it’s very difficult to find common ground when there are hundreds – if not thousands – of miles in between two parents.
So what do you do if your ex-spouse tells you she wants to move to Texas with the kids?