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Family Law FAQs

William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law  Feb. 22, 2023

Book with words family law and glasses.Life-changing experiences require careful thought and consideration. Decisions such as divorce, adoption, or child custody matters demand the right legal counsel to protect families’ rights.  

At William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law, an attorney has the practice and knowledge to assist you and answer the frequently asked questions about family law issues in Grays Harbor County, Washington, including Montesano, Aberdeen, and Hoquiam. Attorney William is ready to fight for your rights compassionately while keeping your best interests in mind.  

Frequently Asked Questions about Family Law in Washington 

I just got served with divorce papers. What are my next steps? 

The first step is to consult with a seasoned divorce attorney to review the terms stated in the divorce papers. A divorce attorney can explain what the paperwork contains and how to proceed moving forward. From there, reaching an agreement outside of court is the best option. If not, the divorce process will go to court. 

How long will it take to get divorced in Washington? 

An amicable or uncontested divorce can take about three months to finalize. However, a contested divorce must go to court. The process can take 6 to 12 months, depending on issues such as asset division and child custody. 

What are the grounds for divorce in Washington? 

It is not necessary to prove grounds such as infidelity or abuse to seek a divorce in Washington. Washington is known as a “no-fault” state, meaning that spouses can get divorced by citing “irreconcilable differences.” This term means that spouses do not get along anymore, so they want to separate. 

Will I be awarded alimony? 

Alimony is not awarded automatically. Alimony, or spousal support, goes to the spouse who needs it. This decision is based on both spouses’ financial situations. Also, the custodial parent generally qualifies for spousal support since their childcare responsibilities may limit their ability to hold a full-time job. 

What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce? 

A legal separation occurs when one of the spouses leaves the household. Couples must wait for six months before petitioning for a Decree of Legal Separation. However, the couple is still legally married, meaning they still hold legal rights over property and child custody unless court proceedings indicate otherwise. A legal separation can be used to justify irreconcilable differences when filing for divorce. 

When is mediation a good option? 

Mediation is always a good option. It can help avoid costly litigation while allowing couples to agree on the terms of the divorce. Couples may enlist the services of a private third-party mediator to help them agree to avoid a drawn-out trial. 

Who gets to keep the home during a divorce? 

Generally speaking, the custodial parent gets to keep the family’s primary residence. However, the spouse that paid for the home has the rights over it. If both spouses equally paid for the home, the solution may be to sell the home and split the proceeds. Additionally, the spouses may agree to have the custodial parent keep the home. In contrast, the other spouse keeps other assets to offset the home’s value. 

How do I make or change a child visitation schedule? 

Child visitation schedules can be decided in mediation. Similarly, the court can produce a child visitation schedule during custody hearings. Petitions to change a child visitation must go through court once the schedule has been approved. 

I’m not sure I’m the child’s father. What are my options? 

Fathers unsure of their paternity should seek a paternity test to confirm they are the child’s father. If confirmed, the father remains obligated for child support. Individuals can petition the court to remove child support obligations if proven otherwise. 

What are the benefits of a prenuptial agreement? 

A prenuptial agreement allows the parties to agree on various issues, including asset division, child custody, and spousal support. A prenuptial agreement can help speed up the divorce process by removing potential points of contention. 

Do I need an attorney for my divorce? 

While the parties are not legally required to hire an attorney, hiring an experienced divorce attorney is highly recommended. Divorce attorneys help the parties protect their rights and understand their obligations. Going through a divorce without an attorney opens the door for the other party to try to take advantage of the situation. 

Turn to William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law, for Guidance 

Attorney William E. Morgan has been serving the communities of Grays Harbor and Pacific County, Washington (including South Bend and Raymond) with his valuable experience for years. He fights to protect clients’ rights while putting family first.  

Talk to a seasoned divorce attorney today. Don’t face life-changing decisions such as divorce alone. Get the support of a top divorce and family law attorney today.