Special Circumstances

Here for you through any situation

Relationships are complicated. As you consider your future, there may be many special circumstances or emergencies that can be part of the divorce process. If you are scared or feeling defeated right now, know that you can do this. You can take the steps necessary to build a better tomorrow for your family, and our team can help.




There are many emergency situations in family law. If you are in imminent danger, please contact the proper authorities. Emergency situations can be related to domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health, parental kidnapping, incarceration, missing persons, high conflict co-parenting, citizenship when considering divorce, or other complex matters. Our family law attorneys will provide the education and support you need to help move forward.

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Your heart is racing; you have just discovered your spouse has been unfaithful. You are mad or beside yourself wondering what to do. You will experience a range of emotions in the coming days and weeks. Don’t make any rash decisions or take retaliatory action. You may want to seek the support of a licensed counselor to help you heal; if you’d like, we can provide a recommendation. 


If you decide that ending your marriage is in your best interest and that of your family, one of our skilled family law attorneys can help you identify your goals and develop a strategy to help you thrive post-divorce.

Special Circumstances


Financial Implications

Your ex may be actively underemployed or choosing to remain unemployed, thinking it will reduce any spousal or child support obligation they may incur in the divorce. Or maybe they are trying to hide assets in an attempt to reduce assets classified as community property. In some cases, you or your soon-to-be-ex may even be considering bankruptcy before or after divorce. Regardless of the financial complication, our attorneys have a team of consultants with whom they collaborate regularly who can accurately assess your situation and design a strategy to help you accomplish your goals.



If a service member was living in Washington when they were married, and the petitioner still lives in the state or is stationed here as a member of the armed forces, they may seek a divorce in Washington. It is crucial to have a legal representative familiar with the different retirement structures and regulations of parties who have been in the armed forces because these divorce cases often have specific rules unique to them.

There may also be implications for what the armed forces would potentially do in the event of divorce. Specifically, there could be obligations from a commanding officer that a court wouldn’t order but would nonetheless apply to a military spouse. Paying child support is one example. Discussing potential outcomes with an experienced military divorce lawyer from our firm could be beneficial.

How Can a Military Spouse’s Residency Impact a Divorce?

If at least one of the spouses lives in Washington, and both parties lived here while they were married, the court can move forward with their divorce. When children are involved in a military divorce with one parent stationed in another state, the court must determine their home state jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). In other words, the presiding judge must identify which state is responsible for establishing a parenting plan upon divorce.

Washington could be identified as the child’s home state if they lived with a Washington-based parent for at least six months, or no other jurisdiction exists. However, if the family has moved every four months, for example, and there is not a clear-cut state of residence, then Washington may be the best option if they are currently residing there. Parents who have questions about home state jurisdiction should speak with an attorney because this issue can become increasingly complicated and confusing.

Serving Divorce Papers When a Spouse Has Been Deployed or is on Active Duty

A military spouse can sign an acceptance of service. In that case, that spouse does not need to have divorce papers served to them. Additionally, the petitioning party could send the documents to their spouse in hardcopy or via email. The spouse could then sign a form saying that they received them.

There are many protections in place that make it difficult to serve papers to military spouses serving overseas. For this reason, it is vital to consult an attorney who is familiar with military divorces in Washington State about your options.


Calculating Child Support in a Military Divorce

The court uses both parties’ income to calculate an appropriate amount for child support. However, that income is determined based on how the military spouse’s attorney completes the form. Consequently, it is often the subject of dispute between lawyers.

There are often many arguments on how much parties earn, how much they pay in taxes, and the bottom line for that income determination. Having an attorney who has worked with military spouses can be especially beneficial because they would understand how to read a military paycheck. Our legal team is familiar with all the required financial documents and can draft them correctly on a military spouse’s behalf.


Civilian Spouses’ Rights in Seattle Military Divorces

If you are a civilian spouse, you can potentially receive military pensions and benefits in your divorce. It is best to have a military divorce lawyer by your side to help improve your understanding of your rights and what assets are divisible. Reach out to our skilled legal team to schedule an introductory call.


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There may be many good reasons to relocate with your child. A lucrative job opportunity, fostering relationships with extended family in another state, or a unique educational experience. What do you do, however, if your child’s other parent objects to your move?

In 2000, Washington State adopted a law limiting a primary custodial parent’s right to relocate with their child out of the school district without the other parent’s consent or court order. On the other hand, if your ex relocated with your kids without permission, you may obtain a court order requiring them to return or even request full custody.

Whether you want to move with your child or need help contesting your ex’s proposed move, consult with an experienced Seattle relocation lawyer to determine your options.

Will Your Child Be Attending the Same School?

If your child will be attending the same school after the move, or there is no custody or visitation order in effect, the relocating parent may move without the other’s consent. However, the custodial parent must still provide visitation opportunities to the other. Failure to do so may subject the custodial parent to paying the other’s legal fees, giving makeup visits for the missed time, and even incarceration in some circumstances.

Changing School Districts or Moving Out of Washington State

If you have primary custody rights over your child and wish to change school districts or relocate to another state, you are required to provide written notice to your co-parent 60 days in advance of your intended move. If the move makes it impractical for the other parent to see the child regularly, a proposed parenting plan must be offered.

Once submitted to the court, the other parent has 30 days to object to that plan. If there is no objection, you may move with your child under the new parenting plan. One of our relocation attorneys can help you draft a child-sharing arrangement to present to a local court or submit an objection to your ex’s proposed parenting plan.

How Does the Court Decide Relocation if Parents Cannot Agree?

If you and your ex cannot agree on the terms of a relocation, the court will schedule a hearing to consider the facts of the situation. In Washington, a judge must allow the relocation unless the objecting parent can prove that the harm caused by this move will outweigh the benefits.

A local court must consider certain factors when assessing the pros and cons of a parent’s proposed move, including but not limited to:

  • The strength and nature of the child’s relationships with either parent, any siblings, and other close relatives
  • The potential consequences of disrupting contact with either parent
  • The reason(s) for the request to relocate or objection to it
  • The child’s age and developmental needs
  • The quality of life available to the child and the relocating parent at the new location
  • The availability of alternative arrangements to promote the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent

If a move is permitted, the judge will want to see a plan allowing as much time with both parents as possible. Ultimately, they must make a decision in the child’s best interests. Our dedicated legal team can help gather and present evidence supporting your position to prove to the court that you have your child’s best interests at heart.


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