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Vancouver WA Family Law Blog

Is paternity testing required to prove a child is not mine?

When a man and a woman are married and the woman becomes pregnant, it is assumed that the man is the child's father. If the couple marry before the child is born, the man is also assumed to be the baby's father. However, when the couple marries after the baby is born - or never marries at all - establishing paternity becomes a bit more complicated. If the man is fairly sure he is not the child's father, he can prove it through paternity testing.

It will be up to the child's mother to file a paternity action against the man she claims is her baby's father. The man will be required to appear in court and if he denies that he is the father, then he will have to undergo genetic testing. Genetic testing is 99 percent accurate, with results available in about two weeks.

SSDI: The truth behind media and political mischaracterizations

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is an integral part of the Social Security system that provides vital economic security to workers and their families. SSDI provides modest but essential coverage that American workers earn, and protects against the economic devastation that often accompanies life-changing disability. Unfortunately, recent media coverage (including recent opinion pieces in The Hill) has painted a highly inaccurate picture of this program, in an effort to encourage damaging changes that would hurt people with disabilities.

Professional athletes face high rates of divorce

Many Seattle residents may think being a famous athlete is all glamour, but it's not, especially if they are married. Fame, grueling travel schedules, groupies and a seemingly never-ending amount of money can all take their toll on a marriage. In fact, the divorce rate among professional athletes is as high as 80 percent - compare that figure to the national average of 50 percent.

When athletes travel without their spouses, they face high levels of temptation. They are constantly mobbed by adoring fans and when combined with inflated egos and a fat bank account, the end result, unfortunately, is often divorce. Divorce sometimes leads to huge payouts for the jilted spouses of the athletes. For example, the wives of NBA star Michael Jordan and golfer Tiger Woods each received more than $100 million in their divorce settlements.

A New Service from MBA&F: Unbundled/Pro-Se Legal Services

Traditionally, when facing a legal challenge, people faced a difficult choice to somehow find a way to obtain representation, or to go it alone. At the same time, the various volunteer programs are completely overwhelmed. There is simply no way that volunteer programs can meet the amount of need for services in this area of the law.

Washington domestic violence laws and orders for protection

Although many Washington residents were taught to respect others and refrain from hurting them in any way, sometimes abuse happens. Unfortunately, people sometimes abuse the ones they love - significant others, children and even parents. This is called domestic violence and it's a serious situation in Washington and throughout the nation. In 2012, 53 Washington residents died from domestic violence. Each year, many more are involved in altercations and suffer injuries at the hands of their loved ones. Learning more about Washington's laws and how orders for protection work can help individuals protect themselves from this unnecessary, traumatic harm.

When most people think of domestic violence, they think of the physical aspect: pushing, hitting or slapping. However, domestic violence may involve much more. It is defined as actions that control another person. So domestic violence can also be emotional in nature, in which a person threatens or instills fear in a loved one. Assets, too, can be used in domestic violence, such as bribing someone or taking away money. Additionally, domestic violence can be sexual in nature and might even involve rape.

Life insurance not commonly considered in domestic partnerships

Many Washington couples are skipping the "I do's" and deciding to live together as unmarried partners. While many may believe this to be a smart idea - no costly and emotional divorce to go through should the couple part ways after a few years - many couples overlook the potential financial issues they could face if one partner should die. Unfortunately, many are unprepared and would face dire straits because they haven't considered life insurance.

Many married couples have life insurance plans in place so that the surviving spouse is protected in the event of the other's death. Upon death, the spouse would receive the benefit amount, which could be hundreds of thousands of even millions of dollars, depending on the policy. This money is invaluable to those who have a mortgage, car loans, credit card debt and children to care for.

Study shows divorce not more common when wife is better educated

Washington couples have seen gender roles in relationships change over the years. Just a few decades ago, the men tended to be the dominant ones in the relationship. They earned more and were older, more educated, taller and stronger. A new study shows that in the past decade, an increased number of women have married men who are younger, earn less money and have less education. However, many women are still concerned about marrying men who have less education than they have. Will they be more likely to divorce?

Although this was once true, the study shows that American marriages are becoming less bound by traditional gender roles. Although most marriages still involve partners with equal education, when there is some difference in education level, it is usually because of the woman's college degree. It should come as a source of comfort that there is no evidence showing an increased divorce rate when the woman is better educated.

Family law issues rise as more unmarried mothers give birth

In the past, there was a social stigma attached to Washington women who got pregnant and had a baby outside of marriage. Now, it's becoming more common and even socially acceptable. According to the Census Bureau, fewer than 60 percent of first-born babies in the United States were born to a married couple. This is the lowest rate ever recorded, while the number of babies born to cohabiting parents - more than 20 percent - is on the rise. This can lead to family law conflicts down the road.

The statistics also show that Asian women over age 25 are most likely to be married when giving birth to their first child. Overall, most women are married when they give birth for the first time, but if the trend continues, married couples with children may soon be the minority.

Divorce pitfalls Washingtonians should be sure to avoid

Washington residents who have gone through, or are considering a divorce know that the ordeal can be filled with stress. There are many legal issues to contend with, but more commonly revolve around finances and children. While those obtaining a divorce may be more concerned with acquiring custody of their children, this issue can be revisited and modified in the future. Financial matters, on the other hand, are often finalized after an initial judgment, and are very difficult to modify after that point.

With this in mind, it is important that divorcing individuals know the common financial mistakes that are made during divorce. First, it is common for a parent, in particular a mother, to give up financial assets in exchange for child custody, or increased visitation. This can lead to negative financial implications in both the short- and long-term. Second, divorcing individuals tend to underestimate the amount of money they will need post-divorce. Failing to fully consider one's post-divorce financial situation could lead him or her to forego important assets that would provide the financial stability he or she needs to have a fresh start.

Washington soccer player arrested for domestic violence

A physical altercation at a recent family gathering in Kirkland, Washington, has led to the arrest of a popular female professional soccer player. Hope Solo, who plays for the National Women's Soccer League, was allegedly drunk at her sister's home when she started throwing punches at her nephew. She was arrested for domestic violence.

The 32-year-old goalkeeper for the Seattle Reign is currently out on bail. She pled not guilty to two counts of assault after physically abusing her 17-year-old nephew and sister. Solo and her nephew were having an argument that turned physical. When the boy's mother attempted to break up the altercation, she was punched in the face by Solo. The boy then tried to get Solo to leave by pointing a broken gun at her and hit her over the head with a broom.

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