Everett Family Law Blog

Washington divorce: Many parents decide to part as friends

In many ways, celebrities are just like other people. They have families and, therefore, family problems as well. Many celebrity marriages end in divorce, just as thousands of other couples in Washington who would rather go their separate ways than stay in unhappy relationships. This is basically what Zooey Deschanel and her estranged husband, Jacob Pechenik reportedly have decided to do.

Deschanel and Pechenik have two toddler-age children together. Pechenik is the one who filed a divorce petition. He has requested shared legal and physical custody of his children. Some say it is likely that Deschanel's newly announced romance with another man was a causal factor in Pechenik's decision to take legal action.

Mediation has benefits that could help your case

When you and your spouse decided to get a divorce, you thought that you'd both be kind enough to be able to resolve your differences without help. Unfortunately, there have been a few sticking points that have made it impossible to move forward.

In cases like this, where both parties are reasonable but disagree, mediation can be of huge help. Mediation allows divorcing couples to make decisions without turning to a judge, so that the decisions they come up with are more likely to be agreeable to both parties.

Litigation alternatives: Is your goal to stay out of a courtroom?

There are many people in Washington and elsewhere who get nervous at the mere thought of stepping inside a courtroom. In situations where a spouse is filing for divorce, this can cause high levels of stress. Those who would rather not go to court to finalize a divorce will be glad to know there are often litigation alternatives available.

Collaborative law allows spouses to resolve issues without standing in front of a judge. There are a few ground rules that both spouses must agree to follow before the process begins, one of which is that each spouse must be represented by an attorney during collaboration sessions. As opposed to mediation, another litigation alternative, a collaborated divorce does not involve a neutral party acting as a facilitator. Rather the parties commit to work together -- to collaborate -- with a view toward achieving a fair and balanced settlement.

What to do if your spouse asks for a divorce

Maybe you see it coming or maybe you don't. Either way, if your spouse asks for a divorce, it's critical to understand what you should and shouldn't do.

When you take the right steps at the right time, you're in better position to avoid mistakes that can complicate matters during the divorce process. Here are five steps you should take:

  • Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can get your life together: It's never easy to go through divorce, especially if you didn't see it coming, but it doesn't signify the end of your life. It may take time, but you'll soon realize that you're inching toward a better life in the future.
  • Talk to loved ones: Don't keep your feelings bottled up inside. Talk to your friends and family about your feelings, concerns and plans for the future. And if necessary, it may make sense to consult with a therapist.
  • Don't fight it: It's a bad ending to your marriage, but begging your spouse to reconsider isn't worth it. It's okay to do your part in working things out, if possible, but begging and pleading won't get you anywhere.
  • Don't obsess over their every move: For example, it's tempting to stalk your spouse on social media, habitually check your joint email account and drive by their place of employment every now and again. But doing this will only make matters worse, especially if you find something you don't want to see.
  • Get your finances in order: Your personal life will change in many ways now that divorce is on the table. The same holds true with your finances, so get organized as soon as possible. Open individual bank accounts, create a budget and make general financial decisions that will improve your situation.

Understand custody and parenting laws before heading to court

When a parent in Washington or elsewhere in the United States decides to divorce, it is logical to assume that the process will include certain legal issues that must be resolved before the court will issue a final decree. These issues often pertain to custody and parenting. No two divorces are exactly the same; in fact, parents can often customize an agreement to fit their particular needs and goals, and to protect their children's best interests.

Whether a divorce is mediated, arbitrated or litigated, a parent will want to seek clarification of the different types of custody. Doing so will help determine which type of agreement would be the most viable option in a particular family situation. For instance, if a co-parent has a drug problem or is abusive, then it it would likely warrant filing a petition for sole custody.

3 concerns for stay-at-home moms who want to get divorced

Choosing to stay home to care for your children can be a very rewarding decision. Instead of handing your children over to a childcare professional for at least a third of the day every day, you get to be there to witness all of their special moments as they grow and develop. You also have the opportunity to create a strong parental bond that can benefit your children for the rest of their lives.

From a household perspective, having one parent stay home can often be beneficial. While you lose out on the income that spouse would have earned, the potential cost of outsourcing services like childcare, housework and cooking might be far more than what you would make at work.

Celebrities have custody and parenting issues too

A lot of what comes out of Hollywood is fiction. In Washington and elsewhere, entertainment and celebrity news is not meant to be a guide for life. But celebrities are real people like everyone else, and many people can relate to the custody and parenting issues that celebrities sometimes face, and find their stories helpful in their own situations.

In 2018, Tumisho Masha was arrested for taking his daughter on a trip without getting her mother's permission. This case shows the importance of getting a court order and fully adhering to its terms, especially regarding child custody and visitation matters. It is always better to seek clarification of Washington custody laws by consulting a family law attorney than it is to assume that spontaneous travel is permitted.

Custody and parenting: What constitutes neglect?

Some parents in Washington file for divorce, hoping to be the sole custodians of their kids. Custody and parenting issues can be complex and often spark contention between former spouses who do not agree on what's best for the children involved. In fact, there are many instances where one parent believes that the other parent's presence is a detriment to the children's well-being.

It is not enough to think it or even to tell the court about it. If a parent is going to request sole custody on grounds that the other parent is unfit, he or she must be able to substantiate his or her claim. This means the court wants to see evidence. A parent being late a couple times for parenting time does not necessarily mean he or she is unfit or negligent in parental duties.

Tips to help you tell your children about divorce

Divorce is never easy. It can often be complicated, messy and contentious. And, if you have children at home, you will experience a whole different level of complexity than couples who do not have kids or whose children have already left the nest.

The first challenge you may face is how to tell your kids about the divorce. This might be more challenging than it was to make the decision to end your marriage. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prepare for the conversation.

Actor Tom Arnold navigating 4th divorce

Many people in Washington and across the country believe that people who get divorced are prone to do it again should they remarry. Those who do think so might agree that TV personality Tom Arnold's personal life is evidence of it. Arnold filed for divorce on a recent Wednesday -- from his fourth wife.

Arnold says his wife moved out of the house several years ago. Since then, he has been raising their two sons by himself. Arnold says he is fine with that and has asked the court to grant him custody. He also said that he has no hard feelings toward his ex and hopes she pursues her dreams. Arnold has stated that he is thankful for the time he shared with his ex and is more than ready to move forward as a single parent.

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