Can Washington State Make you Pay for Child that is not Yours? Rick Jones on the Danny Bonaduce Show
We have partnered up the Danny Bonaduce Show and KZOK 102.5 to put Rick Jones on the radio. He will be on for a special Valentine's Day and Divorce for Men episode of lifecoach. Tune in tomorrow at 7:30 am to catch the broadcast.
In the meantime, if you missed the audio from the first show, it is posted below. Rick Jones talks about Divorce for Men, child custody in Seattle, and paternity.
He leads off with the first question:
Can the Washington State make you pay for a child that is not yours?
Goldberg Jones is proud to have added another attorney to our Washington office. Natalie Rasmussen is a competitive, strategic litigator who understands that a person going through a divorce or other family law situation needs a dedicated advocate on their side. She has successfully negotiated settlements in numerous domestic relations cases and has extensive experience both in Seattle family law and civil litigation.
"I emphasize strategy and planning in my practice and do not employ a one-size-fits-all ideology to family law," says Natalie. She prides herself on having a well-reasoned and intelligent approach to her cases.
"Behind Natalie's friendly, outgoing demeanor is an attorney who hates to lose," remarks managing attorney, Ken Alan. "She is always extremely well prepared, whether she is negotiating with another attorney, or arguing her case in court."
Natalie graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Law Trustee's Scholarship. She is member of the Washington State Bar and admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Natalie was an NCAA Division I track and cross-country athlete at the University of Tulsa where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Aside from her daily runs, she also enjoys hiking, skiing, boating and generally spending time outdoors.
I ran across this story on Twitter today titled "One mother’s heroic decision." The story follows a court proceeding in a custody dispute. There are five children that are given the choice of who they would like to be with. The father's suggestion is that the children should be split up between the two parents. The heroic mother offers to let the father have all the children. In a wise Solomon twist, the Court decides to grant custody to the mother.
Here follows an excerpt from the story in pertinent part:
A short court recess came the mother explained to the children how things were looking. She told them the judge was considering the father’s request to split the children up. The father suggested the boys could come live with him and the girls would live with their mother. The mother was distraught over this suggestion and did not want the children split up. [...]
With the court recess now over, the mother of these five children went back into the courtroom and spoke to the judge. She said, “If you are going to split the children up, then just give them all to their father. Do not split them up, for their own good” The judge then awarded them all to the mother…
My initial reaction to this story is that is a total fabrication, or at least a convenient massaging of the facts to get across a bible principle. Either way, I asked the author on twitter about the story. His response is that it is the story of his mother in New Jersey many years ago. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
However, this would never happen today - at least not in Washington.
There are two ways that the court decides custody. It either signs off on the a parenting plan, or it comes up with its own version a parenting plan when the parties are forced to litigate it in front of the judge.
In the latter example, you would have one parent asking for split custody and the other asking for primary custody. While the court could propose the split, the responsibilities of the court are heavily weighted towards the best interest of the child. In that case, the court is going to simplify the issue and decide to give primary custody to one parent.
In the former example, where you have agreeing parties, there is still a high burden to show that this plan is in the best interest of the child. The court would likely appoint a guardian ad litum to review the situation and make a recommendation in the best interest of the child. Indeed, I have seen the court appoint at GAL in cases where the parents do not want to split up siblings, but just provide equal custody between the parents.
I think the likely truth behind this story is that splitting the siblings was never really an option. Instead, the court found that the father, who the author suggests had some aggressive tendencies, would not be the best choice for primary custody.
Either way, the moral of the story is to get a custody lawyer. The best thing the father could have done in this situation was seek legal advice. Instead of coming to court with the idea of splitting up the siblings, he could have come to court with an effective parenting plan that would likely have giving him visitation rights.
Before you get that far into a divorce proceeding, please, give us a call and we'll answer your questions for free.
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