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Vancouver Washington Legal Blog

What factors do Washington courts use in setting child support?

When a couple with minor children seek a divorce in Washington state, one of their earliest questions concerns child support. Who will pay? How much? How frequently? The specific answers depend upon the financial circumstances of the divorcing couple.

One obvious question may be whether the couple can decide between themselves not to pay child support. Unfortunately for such couples, Washington law requires the court to issue an order providing for child support as part of a divorce, legal separation or parentage action. Thus, the court must order one of the parents to make payments of child support to the other parent. Even if the couple was not married before the child was born, the court must order one of the parents to pay child support.

What role does money really play in divorce?

It is not a secret that money stress is often at the top of any list of reasons for the demise of marriages. Many unhappy couples believe they could overcome their marital woes if they just had more money. You may be among those spouses who would agree with this.

However, it may interest you to know that it is not always the lack of money that causes the stress. In fact, a new survey shows that couples with substantial wealth may be more likely to divorce than those who eke out a living.

What is an ignition interlock device?

One of the devices that is commonly used by Washington courts to prevent persons with DUI convictions from operating a motor vehicle if they have been drinking is the ignition interlock. IIDs, as they are commonly called, determine the driver's blood alcohol content by taking a breath sample, much like a breathalyzer. If the driver's blood alcohol content exceeds 0.025 percent, the vehicle will not start because the IID interrupts the ignition circuit. If the driver attempts to disable the IID, the car will not start.

The convictions that require the installation of an IID are an alcohol or drug-related DUI and some convictions for reckless driving or negligent driving. The court may also order the installation of an IID if the circumstances of the case warrant such a sentence. An IID must be installed in every vehicle that is operated by the defendant. For a first DUI conviction, the IID must remain installed for at least one year, for a second offence, at least five years and for a third or subsequent offense, at least 10 years.

Determining spousal maintenance in a Washington divorce

Many divorcing couples in Washington wonder about many subjects, but most often, the subject of spousal maintenance or alimony generates the most anxiety. A former spouse who is ordered to pay alimony may worry about the effect of such payments on his or her financial stability. The spouse who receives alimony often feels that the award was insufficient. Understanding the legal rules that govern awards of maintenance can help both spouses accept the court's order.

Washington courts have broad discretion in determining whether a former spouse should make regular payments to the other spouse. The court must consider six factors:

  • The financial resources of the party who is seeking maintenance. Financial resources include the person's ability to meet his or her living costs independently. Any child support must be included in this evaluation.
  • The time necessary for the party seeking maintenance to complete enough education or training to find employment
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the couple during their marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age, physical and emotional condition and financial obligations of the party seeking maintenance
  • The ability of the party from whom maintenance is sought to meet his or her financial obligations while making maintenance payments to the other party.

Driver charged with DUII after collision causes fire, one death

Deputies from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office are investigation the circumstances of a two-car collision in Oregon City in which one driver was killed. The exact sequence of events that led to the collision were not released by police, but the criminal charges lodged against the surviving driver make it appear that drunk driving is believed to be the principal cause.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Old Bearvercreek Road and S. Henrici Road in Oregon City on Sept. 18. When police arrived at the scene, they found one car in flames. They administered CPR to one driver, but he died before EMTs reached the scene. The other driver was arrested and taken into custody. Police did not state whether he had suffered any injuries.

Clark County utility worker dies in three-vehicle crash

Employees in the Clark County Public Utilities were grief stricken by the death of a fellow employee in a three-vehicle traffic accident on Friday, Sept. 14. Police have not released any details about the accident, but the basic sequence of events is undisputed.

The Public Utilities worker, who was a water systems operator, was returning from a work site in Battle Ground at about 12:30 p.m. and was driving north on N.E. 82nd Avenue. A southbound SUV tried to pass a southbound pickup truck and pulled into the northbound lane to do so. The SUV collided with the county truck, and both vehicles struck the pickup truck. One of the vehicles was thrown off the road and into a fence. The driver of the SUV and the pickup truck suffered only minor injuries.

Do you want to prove that you are the better parent?

At the time of your child's birth, you likely already felt your protective instincts kick in. You knew that you would do your best to protect him or her from any unnecessary harm and from situations that could prove unhealthy. Now that you and your spouse are going through divorce, you may have specific feelings for how you want to handle child custody proceedings.

For whatever reason, you feel that working toward sole custody would best suit your circumstances. Maybe the other parent has abusive tendencies, substance abuse problems or other issues that make him or her an unfit parent in your eyes. However, while you may feel that the parent is unfit, you must still prove to the court that sole custody would work in the best interests of your child.

Taking the bankruptcy plunge: a lawyer can help

The decision to file a petition in federal Bankruptcy Court can be very troubling. People in Vancouver worry about the impact on their credit rating and, in some cases, on their social standing. Moreover, the process can be complex and confusing. Can anything be done to ameliorate the anxiety?

Yes. Retaining an experienced bankruptcy lawyer can make the bankruptcy process understandable and beneficial. The first step is choosing the most helpful type of proceeding. Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code is intended to lift the load of unaffordable debt for both individuals and corporations by collecting the debtor's assets, selling them and using the proceeds to pay current obligations. Any debts that cannot be paid are discharged and the debtor has no further liability. Unfortunately, Chapter 7 is not open to everyone. Individuals whose monthly income exceeds the specified limit for Washington must choose either Chapter 11 or Chapter 13.

What is a living will in Washington state?

Many residents of Vancouver have heard the term "living will" without fully understanding its meaning. With the many advances in medical treatment that allow physicians to extend the life of patients who are suffering from severely disabling or potentially fatal illnesses and injuries, the medical and legal communities have recognized the need for legally enforceable agreements that allow persons other than the patient to make certain medical and financial decisions. Such a document is known as a "living will" but, in fact, a living will is really two documents.

The first is called a "durable power of attorney for health care." This document allows a patient who is not able to make informed health care decisions to designate another person, such as a spouse or adult child, to make such decisions. The person receiving such authority is known as a health care agent. The agent will have the power to consent to care and treatment and to the withdrawal of care and treatment.

Sleep may have caused fatal motorcycle collision

The Washington State Patrol is currently looking for an explanation for a fatal collision between a pickup truck and two motorcycles. Having ruled out alcohol or drugs as a cause, the police are now investigating whether the driver of the pickup may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The accident occurred on Aug. 18 on State Route 4 when a Dodge Ram pickup driven by a 22-year-old resident of Longview apparently crossed the centerline and crashed into two motorcycles, each of which was carrying a passenger. The couple on the first motorcycle to be struck both died on impact. The driver and passenger of the second motorcycle suffered injuries. The female passenger was treated and released, but her husband remained hospitalized and was in serious condition.

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  • Oregon State Bar
  • OTLA | Oregon trial lawyers association | In the service of Justice
  • Washington State Association Justice
  • Clark County Bar Association
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