Grandchildren are one of life’s most precious gifts, but family life can be messy. Your son or daughter may not be capable of parenting, or maybe something has happened, and they are no longer granting you access to your grandchild.
Washington State has long recognized that a grandparent relationship is generally in the best interests of the child. But what are your rights as a grandparent, and how can we help?
It can be heartbreaking to learn that one or both of your grandchild’s parents no longer wants you to have a relationship with them. If you have an ongoing and substantial relationship with your grandchild, you may be able to ask the court to step in and allow visits between you and the child.
The law has been evolving on the issue of grandparent visitation in Washington, with parents having strong constitutional rights to parent their children. The grandparent must show that denial of the visitation would result in harm to the child. One of our skilled family law attorneys can help you understand the legal system and navigate your options while working hard to reduce conflict.
If you believe your grandchild’s parents cannot appropriately tend to their needs, you can petition to be the guardian of a minor. You may be a well-qualified candidate for this role as you probably share culture, traditions, have a strong relationship with the child, and could provide a loving, stable home. But to pursue guardianship, you must be willing to swear to the court that the parents, and this could include your own child, is unable or unwilling to parent.
Such Assertions of Failure Might Include:
If you are considering guardianship of a minor, it is essential to retain a skilled, experienced attorney who can educate you on the laws and your rights. The laws are complex, and the process can be daunting, but if your family is your first priority, we will stand by your side and help you ensure their future success.
If your son or daughter has confided in you that they will be divorcing, it may be hard not to want to swoop in and “fix” it. After all, your job has been to make sure they are successful in the world.
One of the most important things you can do is listen. Any shock, dismay, or disappointment should be contained. Regardless of who leaves whom, you do not want to pick sides and paint the other person as a villain. Life happens, divorce happens, and if there are kids involved, you want to do everything you can to help minimize conflict between the parents and support a positive outcome that keeps the kid’s long-term success your primary objective.
Did we say listen? You may find yourself doing a lot of listening. Your child will likely go through a period of mourning and experience a number of emotional states before coming to acceptance. They may even take some of their emotions out on you because you have and always will be there. Try not to take it personally. If they need your support, offer whatever assistance you can.
You cannot fight this battle for them. Our best advice is to stay the course of the supportive parent who wants what is best for their child and family. They will heal, and you will have further strengthened your relationship.
The investment you make in comprehensive estate planning will allow you to secure your legacy through the distribution of your assets to your grandchildren. Our team of professional estate planning attorneys can help create and maintain an estate plan that gives you peace of mind.
Co-parenting over a long distance when you are a non-residential parent does not have to equate to sacrificing involvement in your children’s lives. But it likely does mean you will have to make tweaks in your communication and parenting style to accommodate the new living arrangement.
If you have a significant amount of money saved, you might be considering giving some of it away while you are still alive via what is known in estate planning jargon as a living inheritance. Depending on your desires, you can give your beneficiaries a portion of or all of the inheritance you intend to give them.
Estate planning is commonly associated with preparing for asset distribution and financial management in the event of the estate plan owner’s incapacitation or death. However, an estate plan can protect more than just people and what they have worked so hard during their lifetimes to build. A carefully crafted Washington state estate plan can also protect pets.
If you live in Washington State and have an estranged family member, are you worried about them contesting your will after you die? Well, don’t worry quite yet. There are a variety of criteria an individual must meet to contest a will in the state of Washington.
Depending on your situation, there might also be measures you can take as you revisit your existing estate plan or create a new one to cause them to think twice about doing so. Here is what you need to know about whether an estranged family member can contest a will in Washington state.
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