Pet custody was recently in the local news in a story by Seattle Times reporter Erik Lacitis: Kona and Mr. Bear. In that Clark County case, the divorce court had originally given the wife visitation rights to two dogs that were primarily living with the husband. The Court of Appeals ruled, however, that as dogs are property, there is no allowance in the law for visitation rights. Therefore it is now up to the ex-husband to decide whether to allow the ex-wife any further contact with the dogs.

Apparently a few states (Alaska, Illinois and California) have passed laws allowing for joint ownership of animals in divorce, but not Washington State. The case may be appealed to the Washington Supreme Court, but I would not give good odds of the result changing there.

What does this mean for you? It means that if you are getting divorced and have

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Whether a couple is divorced or still together, issues can arise that are difficult to resolve. These can be short or long term issues, and they might be about finances, parenting, or any number of other things. A short term financial issue could be around the purchase of a new car, while a long term financial issue could have more to do with working out different attitudes about spending in general.

Let’s say for instance that a couple is having trouble agreeing on where to go on their next vacation. We’ll call our couple Mickey and Minnie. Minnie is an outdoors sort, and would really like to go hiking and camping in Colorado. Mickey just wants to relax, and to him that means days on the beach in Hawaii doing absolutely nothing.

Tip 1 -Approach the issue as a joint problem to be jointly solved.

Problems arise quickly when each

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When it comes to establishing a post-divorce parenting plan, there really is no “normal” or standard arrangement for custody and visitation. Parenting plans and visitation agreements should be drafted in the best interests of the child with the goal of reaching an arrangement where the child has a balanced relationship with both parents. That said, some people live in circumstances that are unusual when compared to most other people. As a result, they often face unique challenges that require special consideration when it comes to custody and visitation.

These situations often require expert guidance in order to reach a solution that is satisfactory for both parents and the child. Unfortunately, many parents assume that a “standard” custody arrangement will work well enough, only to discover its limitations soon after. Whether you are anticipating a divorce or need to modify an existing visitation schedule, the important thing to remember

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A collaborative divorce is one that is more of a negotiation than other divorce proceedings. Since the former spouses are working together to resolve the marriable amicably, several professionals are often needed to assist with the decision-making process. This post outlines the roles of the individuals who are often called in to assist.


Each spouse will need to have their own attorney, who should be specifically trained in Collaborative Divorce. In fact, all of the professionals involved in the process should have Collaborative training. The role of the attorneys is primarily to support their clients through the Collaborative process, answer legal questions, offer advice on possible legal implications of proposed decisions, and to prepare the legal documents needed to complete the divorce. Often but not always the spouses come into the Collaborative process through the attorneys, who then help them assemble the full team.

Financial Specialist

The Financial Specialist

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Under certain circumstances grandparents and other relatives can seek custody or visitation rights, but should tread carefully before doing so as there is also great potential for making things worse and ending up with even less contact with the children than before.

The standards for custody and visitation are different, but in neither case are the relatives on equal footing with the parents. Under Washington law relatives are not entitled to custody or visitation without unusual circumstances.


How Can a Grandparent or Relative File for Custody or Visitation in Washington?

To file for custody, the grandparent or other family member must show either that the child is not living with a parent (for instance, the child has been living with the relative seeking custody), or that neither parent is a fit parent. Fitness is not an easy standard to overcome, there is a presumption that a parent is fit unless

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