Seattle Divorce Lawyers Blog

How Do I Get Divorced If I Don’t Know Where My Spouse Is?


How do I divorce my spouse if they are MIA?

Collaborative divorce, mediation, do-it-yourself divorce, and high conflict divorce can all be complicated and stressful. But what if you want a divorce and you have no idea where your spouse is living? Is a divorce possible if you can’t find your wife?

Fortunately there are options for those seeking to divorce an unlocatable spouse. To divorce your unlocatable spouse in Washington State, you will first need to initiate a case with the courts. Once the case has been filed, you will need to do due diligence in attempting to locate your spouse. This may mean hiring a private investigator or documenting evidence that establishes your good faith attempt to contact your spouse.

When sufficient evidence has been collected and the spouse has still not been located,  you will be able to return to the court and file a “Motion to Serve by Publication”.  A Motion to Serve by Publication must be approved by the courts for the service to be valid.

Once the Motion to Serve by Publication has been granted, public notice of the case will need to be published in an acceptable outlet—local newspapers often have a section dedicated to legal notices.

After the service has been published, and still received no response, the divorce can be moved forward by filing a “Motion for Default.” A Motion for Default in Washington State often means that the filing party will be granted everything they have requested in the original divorce petition.

Working with an attorney can be invaluable if you are trying to divorce your spouse, but are unable to find them. An experienced family law attorney will ensure the case is handled thoroughly, accurately, and efficiently.

For more information about divorcing your unlocatable spouse, watch the video below. If you have questions about Motions for Default or Service by Publication, please give us a call. Our managing attorney, Ken Alan, is always happy to provide answers over the phone at no charge.

flag photo credit: Mike Gonzales CC BY-SA 3.0


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Child Support in Arrears in Washington

child-support-arrearsIf you owe more than $2,500 in back child support, you are ineligible to receive a US passport. This requirement can cause a tricky predicament for fathers that are required to travel internationally for their jobs.

During a recent appearance on Life Coach with Danny Bonaduce, a caller from Olympia wondered if he needed to pay all back child support before he could obtain a passport for work. His job requires international travel and he needed advice about what his options might be.

Rick informed the caller that the first step is to contact the Support Enforcement and explain that his income and future ability to pay the child support is dependent on having a passport.  Additionally, having a statement or declaration from his employer that outlines the necessity of a passport as a requirement of his job would be helpful.

Rick goes on to explain that the support enforcement office may ask to have the caller sign a waiver of the statute of limitations.  Signing a waiver of the statute of limitations allows the support enforcement office to continue to collect back child support indefinitely.

Check out the video below to hear all of Rick’s advice. If you have questions about back child support or any other family law issue, please give us a call. Our managing attorney, Ken Alan,  is always happy to answer your questions at no charge and no obligation.

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March Madness: Goldberg Jone Bracket Challenge


Who’s on Fire? Who is going to razzle-dazzle this tournament and take home the NCAA National Championship Trophy? With the Journey to the Tourney reaching its end, it is time to start predicting the teams that will duel it out to the end. However, the competition is not limited to the court—Goldberg Jones will be holding its annual Bracket Challenge.

Think your bracket has the best spread? Then take the Group ID: 21981 and fill out the bracket at Prove that your intuition and knowledge for the game and stats will prosper.  You can begin filling it out starting March 17th and ending March 21st. The dominating bracket will win a $250 Amazon Gift Card; that’s just money in your pocket.

Similar to last year, the Bracket Challenge is a winner-takes-all event. So start crafting your bracket ASAP to ensure total domination. To keep up with the action; make sure to follow our Twitter and give us a “like” on Facebook. It will be absolute madness and there is no reason to miss out.

Be part of the action and join us in the most exhilarating tournament that keeps your eyes locked on the TV and internet statistics. Get your gear on, check the stats, craft your bracket, save your seat and let the tourney unfold.

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Child Support Accountability


Anyone who writes a monthly check to cover a recurring payment  expects  to know where their money is going and if it is being used as intended. But what about child support payments?

Child support is a tool to ensure the child(ren) are entitled to a similar financial security and lifestyle as they had previous to a divorce. These numbers are drawn up by splitting the income in half as if in one household, from there the support is calculated equitably.

Maintaining “a similar lifestyle” after divorce can be difficult. When a household is divided by the dissolution of a marriage, the separate households must continue to provide for the child(ren). While the collective income of both households is a key factor in calculating support, the expenses of both homes are not taken into account.  The result is two households trying to function on the same income as the single household that existed during the marriage.

Is showing accountability of the payments a requirement in the child support settlement?

It is important to mention that the money paid for child support can be spent as the custodial parent sees fit. This means, in most cases, the custodial parent is not required to provide an accounting of how they spend the support money from the noncustodial parent.

Only rarely, on specific occasions, will the child support recipient be required to provide detailed reports on how support payments were allocated to cover specific expenses. These exceptions are made (very seldom) for: child care expenses, unreimbursed medical costs, extracurricular activities, and for children with special needs.

Keeping Track

It is imperative that all support payments are documented and made through the appropriate channels. Too often men try to be accommodating and make arrangements that are not outlined in the support order. Without proper documentation and acknowledgement by the court, these “side deals” can quickly turn out to be a sticky situation where dad is required to pay back support due to there being no record of the payments he had been making on time.

If you find yourself in this type of dilemma or are in the midst of a separation or custody case it important to understand all your rights as they pertain to your unique situation.  Knowing your rights will help ensure you are paying, or receiving, the appropriate amount—and your child(ren)’s well-being is paramount.


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8 Ways to Help With the Holiday Blues During a Divorce

divorce during the holidays

credit: russavia


Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years— the holidays are expected to be filled with the utmost merriment. However, when dealing with a divorce or separation, some families are unable to share in the festivities. Traditions and gatherings become so common within families that when change occurs, it is difficult for not only the parents, but the children as well to adapt.

Even with the challenges that divorce and change can bring, there are ways to get through the holiday blues.

  1. Do not feel discouraged, your child needs you to keep the positive light in the house while still being real about the situation. There is no need to pretend that everything is just fine, it is okay to be honest about it all, but reassure them that it will all be okay in the end and to still smile because there is still love filling the home.
  1.  Plan accordingly with the other parent if they want a day for Christmas. If there are children involved you want to be sure they see both sides. Children begin to feel forgotten or to blame if they do not see the other parents. Try to get all other holiday shopping, family visits and legal meetings all on a schedule that works best for you and the child. It is not easy to juggle all the holiday madness. Plan ahead, but also leave some meditation and relaxation for yourself. It is easy to get caught up in the madness so always set aside some time for yourself.
  1. Continue to be social even if it is with family. Family and friends are there for the support you need, you cannot do this alone. Get out and enjoy some part of the holidays. Spending time with friends can clear your head and provide a good distraction. If questions arise in these group meetings and you do not want to discuss them then just simply state to them that that is not a topic you wish to discuss at that time.
  1. Let your traditions evolve. There is no reason to abandon your favorite parts of the holidays because your circumstances have changed. Finding new a creative ways to carry on holiday traditions can build new meanings and memories.
  1. Stay active. Physical activity has been shown to boost energy levels and moods.  It can also be a great tool for managing stress, and during the holidays it can counteract the extra calories from eggnog, cookies, and the inevitable big meals.
  1. Giving back to others can remind your children that this is still the time of giving thanks by also giving back to your community. Whether it is just donating towards a food drive, or lending a helping hand at the homeless shelter. Contributing and bringing meaning of the holidays to others can help heal some of the raw emotions that come with divorce.
  1. Showing respect towards your ex during this time will help things  operate more smoothly for you and the children. Anger, frustration, and denial are all feelings that are common during this time, but it is wise to keep a positive relationship for the children.
  1.  In the end, be honest that things are not the same as they were, but that does not mean things cannot get better. There is so much to live for and so many more days in our lives that we cannot let these days bring us down and shape our whole being. Keeping the positivity and hope that they are still family and there is still love will help the children cope with what is to come and possibly be more accepting.

There are new tales to be told and new ventures to seek so do not get caught up in the holiday blues. They will pass with time, but stay together and be there for one another. Do not let anger or frustrations come out and bring negativity to the household, merriment should still fill the air because there is still each other to be thankful for.


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