Nunn Vhan & Lang, PLLC

Everett Family Law Blog

Could you have to legally divorce—even if you’re not married?

Some people live together, have children, buy property together for years but never marry. Often, they feel it’s just a piece of paper. Or maybe they’ve been married before and don’t want to go through divorce again. You might be surprised to learn you might still have to get divorced—even if you never married.

The state of Washington recognizes “Committed Intimate Relationships” (CIR, formerly known as “common law marriages”) to protect committed couples who choose not to marry. This can help in a variety of ways, but it can also complicate a divorce.

Why is it best to mediate my Washington divorce?

When you hear about couples getting divorced, you often hear about couples who experienced a long, highly contested court battle. You rarely hear stories about amicable divorces where couples were able to end their marriages peacefully and walk away able to effectively co-parent with one another. Achieving the latter is possible through mediation.

If you're wondering why so many individuals describe divorce mediation as a more peaceful approach than litigation, their justification for doing so is pretty simple. When each spouse hires their own divorce attorney to represent them, the fight over who gets what assets or child custody can often get heated. When a divorcing couple hires a single mediator, their goal is simply to broker an agreement between the couple.

Taking a Long-Term View to Your Post-Divorce Lifestyle

We live in a dynamic society, where parents may encounter changes in their income, job schedules. Accordingly, family law advocacy must take a long-term view to the parties' lives during times of transition. An approach that provides flexibility, such as a mechanism for resolving disputes or adapting to conditions that may arise after the divorce has been finalized, will often yield more stable results.

How does a court make decisions about parenting plans?

As a parent beginning the divorce process, one of your main concerns may be about your ability to be with your child and make decisions that affect his or her well-being. Washington courts prefer parents to work together to form a mutually agreeable parenting plan whenever possible. This means that most likely you and your child’s other parent will work together to decide where your child will live and who will be able to make decisions regarding your child’s upbringing.

However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, you may each submit a parenting plan to the court, and the court will decide on a parenting plan. When the court must decide on a parenting arrangement, it do so based on the best interests of your child.

Summer Plans

Working parents always face the decision of what to do with their school aged children during the summer break from school. Do you place them in day care, camp, or send them to a relative's home? It is even more complicated when the parents are divorced. As they age into the teen years, the schedule gets even more complicated with summer jobs, sports, and special interests.

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