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Washington Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Child Support and Family Law for Washington on
Q: Non-custodial parent will not pay court ordered child support. She has been held in contepmt twice. What else can i do?
T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Feb 15, 2024

In Washington, if the non-custodial parent has been held in contempt of court twice for not paying court-ordered child support and continues to not comply, you have several options. You can request the court to enforce the child support order through additional measures such as wage garnishment,... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Child Custody and Family Law for Washington on
Q: I’m in the process of filing for divorce in Snohomish County, nothing is final yet. I have to move back to Minnesota

We have a minor child and it was agreed that I would have custody. But now my ex is saying she doesn’t want me to just up and leave. She is now stationed in San Diego, Ca. Are we legally required to stay here in Washington?

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Feb 7, 2024

In Washington, if you are in the process of divorce and plan to move with a minor child, especially out of state, it's essential to consider both the legal implications and the custody arrangements agreed upon or ordered by the court. Since nothing is final yet, and given your ex's... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Immigration Law and International Law for Washington on
Q: Under what circumstances would a Costa Rican divorce decree and alimony payment request be denied in Washington State?

Does Washington State have to accept a divorce decree or alimony requests from Costa Rica?

My wife is Costa Rican. I brought her here on a marriage visa (we married in 2019) and she is now a legal permanent resident. Last October she went home to Costa Rica and didn’t come back.... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Feb 4, 2024

Washington State, like other states, generally recognizes foreign divorce decrees under the principles of comity, provided that the decree does not violate Washington State's public policy and the foreign court had proper jurisdiction over the parties. However, when it comes to enforcing or... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Civil Rights, Military Law and Family Law for Washington on
Q: I have gone through 2 referral services and researched on my own. I've tried to contact about 6 attorneys & got 0 help.

I live in WA state. I just want a Divorce/Legal Separation attorney. Why is it so hard to do? Does anyone know who I can contact? Near Snohomish county?? Is there a reason I am brushed off?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Jan 22, 2024

Finding an attorney can sometimes be challenging, especially in high-demand areas like family law. If you've had difficulty securing a lawyer through referral services, consider reaching out to your local bar association in Snohomish County or the Washington State Bar Association. They often... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Civil Rights, Military Law and Family Law for Washington on
Q: I have gone through 2 referral services and researched on my own. I've tried to contact about 6 attorneys & got 0 help.

I live in WA state. I just want a Divorce/Legal Separation attorney. Why is it so hard to do? Does anyone know who I can contact? Near Snohomish county?? Is there a reason I am brushed off?

John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
answered on Jan 23, 2024

If you are only looking for a divorce lawyer, I wonder why you have included unrelated areas of practice in your question (Civil Rights, Medical Malpractice, and Military Law).

Finding a divorce lawyer should not be that difficult, particularly in a high demand area. There tend to be a...
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1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Washington on
Q: If someone serves papers to your grandma that are for you, have you been served?

You’re in a custody battle and a person serves your grandma your custody paperwork but you’re not there, does that still count as being served?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Dec 31, 2023

In Washington State, the rules for serving legal papers can vary depending on the specifics of the case and the type of documents being served. Generally, for service to be considered valid, it must be made directly to the person named in the documents or to someone who is legally authorized to... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Immigration Law for Washington on
Q: What are the responsibilities of a sponsor of a LPR of USA regarding reporting change of address?

If a legal permanent resident leaves their spouse who sponsored them to come to the United States, and moves back to their country of origin, then the couple files for divorce, does the US sponsor have the obligation to report a change of address to USCIS? The LPR spouse does not want to file a... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Dec 30, 2023

In the situation you've described, where a legal permanent resident (LPR) leaves the U.S. and moves back to their country of origin, the responsibilities of the U.S. sponsor can be quite specific. It's important to note that as a sponsor, you are generally not required to report the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Washington on
Q: Single mother trying to get sole custody

I’m a single mother to a 4 year old boy, I’ve been his primary caregiver since he was born, I take care of everything, his dad does pay child support but has subsistence abuse issues. He has 2 DUIs and has jail time coming up, his mom also has substance abuse issues and I’m concerned for the... View More

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Dec 27, 2023

In Washington, as a single mother seeking sole custody, you have valid concerns about the safety of your 4-year-old son due to the father's substance abuse issues, two DUIs, and upcoming jail time, along with the grandmother's similar issues. To strengthen your case for sole custody,... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Immigration Law for Washington on
Q: If a legal permanent resident of the United States who is married to a US citizen moves out of the country…

and divorces their spouse, stays out of the country for several years, then meets another US citizen and moves back to the United States, can they still sue their previous spouse for maintenance based on the affidavit of support?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Dec 10, 2023

If a legal permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, who was married to a U.S. citizen, moves out of the country, divorces, and then returns to the U.S. with another U.S. citizen spouse, the issue of maintenance based on the affidavit of support from the first marriage can be complex.... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Immigration Law and International Law for Washington on
Q: If a legal permanent resident of the United States who is married to a US citizen moves out of the country permanently…

and divorces their husband, but doesn’t submit a formal abandonment of citizenship, and their spouse notifies USCIS of the divorce and LPR’s new address outside the USA, will USCIS contact them and request they abandon their residency? Or, is there a way to ask them to do so? For example, could... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Dec 10, 2023

If a legal permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, married to a U.S. citizen, moves out of the country permanently and divorces, the situation with their residency status can become complex. The act of moving out of the U.S. permanently and not maintaining a residence can be interpreted as... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Immigration Law and Family Law for Washington on
Q: I have a couple questions I was wondering if you could help with:

1- If a legal permanent resident of the United States who is married to a US citizen moves out of the country permanently do they need to notify USCIS? And do they need to abandon their residency if they do not plan to return? Also, if they don’t notify USCIS, should their spouse do it, and could... View More

Roland Godfrey Ottley
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answered on Dec 9, 2023

A permanent resident married to a US citizen must notify USCIS when moving out permanently.

If they don't plan to return, formal abandonment through Form I-407 is necessary.

The I-864 affidavit becomes invalid upon permanent departure, regardless of formal abandonment....
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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Immigration Law and Family Law for Washington on
Q: If a permanent resident of the United States moves to their country of origin permanently and divorces their US citizen

…spouse, are they entitled to maintenance from the affidavit of support that their spouse signed? I read the affidavit is no longer enforceable if the permanent resident leaves the USA. But what if they don’t formally abandon their residency? Can they still sue their spouse and demand monthly... View More

Roland Godfrey Ottley
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answered on Dec 9, 2023

A permanent resident married to a US citizen must notify USCIS when moving out permanently.

If they don't plan to return, formal abandonment through Form I-407 is necessary.

The I-864 affidavit becomes invalid upon permanent departure, regardless of formal abandonment....
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1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Washington on
Q: My ex just got remarried. Now she thinks she can get full custody of our daughter and have a family. Is that true?
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 13, 2023

In Washington state, your ex's remarriage alone is not typically a sufficient reason to alter custody arrangements. Child custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child, not the marital status of the parents. If there is an existing custody agreement or court order, it remains... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Civil Rights and Juvenile Law for Washington on
Q: If I am 17 and I live with my sister, and neither of my parents have a permanent residence, can I choose where I live?
James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 12, 2023

In Washington State, if you are 17 and living with your sister because neither of your parents have a permanent residence, your ability to choose where you live may depend on several factors. Generally, until you turn 18, your parents or legal guardians have the authority to decide where you live.... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Washington on
Q: Lawyer won't respond to questions I asked takes a really long time to communicate like not until Court day okay or not?

So he States that my constitutional right to Due Process was violated and that the judge was extremely biased against me and he put in a motion to dismiss and suppress all evidence so it seems like he's doing a good job my lawyers before him lied to me about everything the part where he said... View More

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Nov 5, 2023

If your attorney is not responding promptly and you feel this is impacting your right to a fair legal process, it's important to address the issue directly. Effective communication is a critical component of legal representation, and your attorney should keep you informed and involved in your... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Contracts for Washington on
Q: my brother sold my parents house and promised me an amount of money from the sale and I have it on text and doesn’t

Give me anything can I do anything

T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Sep 4, 2023

If you have evidence in the form of text messages or written communication where your brother promised you a specific amount from the sale of your parents' house, you may have a basis for pursuing legal action to enforce that agreement. Depending on the circumstances, you might explore options... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Washington on
Q: How can I get a temporary order to stop the mother of my son from taking him from me and moving across the state?
T. Augustus Claus
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answered on Aug 18, 2023

If you're concerned about the mother of your son taking him across the state and want to prevent this, you can take legal action in Washington. You might consider filing for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to temporarily prevent her from relocating with the child.

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Military Law for Washington on
Q: How far from base can you live? My ex is stationed at JBLM WA and "moved" to Michigan.

Is this legal for him to be active duty and live across the country?

LTC (Ret) Sean F. Mangan
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answered on Aug 17, 2023

Several things govern where a service member may reside. Local policies will dictate how far from the installation an individual can be. These "local pass" rules effectively set a distance limit that service members must stay within and must seek approval (a "mileage pass") if... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Military Law for Washington on
Q: How far from base can you live? My ex is stationed at JBLM WA and "moved" to Michigan.

Is this legal for him to be active duty and live across the country?

James L. Arrasmith
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answered on Sep 11, 2023

Whether or not an active-duty service member can live a considerable distance away from their assigned base can depend on various factors including the specific orders they are under, their job responsibilities, and their command's policies. Generally, service members are expected to live... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Military Law and Family Law for Washington on
Q: I been married for 19yrs and have been a Military stay at home mom and my husband is decided he doesn’t want me anymore

He has been in the military for for almost 19yrs and I have been by his side all these years and he says he only has to pay child support and I get nothing from him. I need help!

LTC (Ret) Sean F. Mangan
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answered on Jul 21, 2023

You are absolutely entitled to more than just child support. Your military spouse is likely going to receive a military pension, which is a considered to visible property, and you will be entitled to a portion of that property in the divorce process as you would any other piece of property such as... View More

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