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Vancouver WA Family Law Blog

Seattle Seahawks coach discusses domestic violence with team

Unfortunately, some professional athletes in Washington are more famous for their antics off the field than for their abilities on the field. NFL player Ray Rice recently became a household name after video surfaced of him knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator, while at a casino. The NFL has become known for domestic violence in recent years and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is looking to change that negative image.

Carroll spoke with his team on Sept. 10 about the shocking video, which was shown on TMZ just two days earlier. The coach then explained the severity of a domestic violence charge and offered to help the players should they find themselves in uncomfortable situations. The main goal of the meeting was to help players heighten their awareness of domestic violence, so they understand that abuse is never acceptable, no matter the circumstances.

How inheritances are treated in a divorce

Couples in Washington must split marital assets 50/50 in a divorce under the state's community property law. Even though this may seem fairly straightforward, there may be some confusion when it comes to inheritances. If the wife receives an inheritance while married, must she split it with her husband in the event of a divorce?

As a general rule, when a spouse receives an inheritance, it belongs to that person only. If it is kept separate from the money acquired during the marriage, then it is not subject to division in a divorce. However, if that inheritance money is put into a joint bank account, or used to pay bills or fix up the home, then it becomes marital property and must be split in a divorce.

Understanding the types of adoptions

When many Washington residents think of adoption, they likely picture a married couple, unable to have children, eagerly awaiting the arrival of a newborn baby from another country. While this may be a common scenario, it's definitely not the only type of adoption. Families come in all shapes and sizes and for those who want to expand their family or make a relationship legal, adoption offers many benefits.

Adoption isn't limited to married heterosexual couples. With same-sex marriage now legal in Washington, many couples are choosing adoption to expand their families. Men and women who are not married but want a child to call their own can also consider adoption. Stepparents can adopt their spouse's children from a previous relationship, too. This is often done if the other parent has died or no longer wants to be part of the child's life.

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.

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