Common law property rules can apply not only to tangible assets, such as cars, real estate, and fine art, but also to intangible assets, such as patents and trademarks. In addition to the example of vehicles, above, other physical assets that could be divided based on common law property rules include real estate such as first and second homes, rental properties, land, and construction not used for day-to-day living, like docks and boat houses. Also on the list: valuables such as art, antiques, and collectibles. Physical assets like those are only one type of wealth, of course.
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Key Takeaways Common law property is a system that most states use to determine the ownership of property, particularly in cases of divorce. Under a common law property system, assets acquired by one member of a married couple are deemed to belong to that person, unless they were put in the names of both.
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Common law property contrasts with a community property system, which treats assets acquired during a marriage as belonging to both partners. Compare Investment Accounts.
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The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. In a recent case from December, Snider v. The Court further found that a substantial change in the circumstances of the party wishing to relocate does not constitute adequate cause for a major modification initiated by that parent. Rather, one must show that a substantial change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or the nonmoving party and that the modification is in the best interest of the child and is necessary to serve the best interests of the child.
Thus, if you have a parenting plan with equally split residential time and you want to relocate, you will have to have proper grounds for a major modification of the parenting plan.
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This is not an easy threshold to meet. If you would like to discuss a child relocation matter or other divorce, family law, personal injury, guardianship or other legal matter, please contact our office at When determining issues of maintenance and property division, a paramount concern is the parties' post-dissolution economic position.
However, permanent maintenance is not automatically appropriate following the dissolution of a long-term marriage, even when the party requesting maintenance has minimal work history. The paramount concern is the economic position in which the dissolution will leave both parties. If you would like to discuss a divorce, separation, paternity, or other family law matter or legal matter, please contact our office at This does not mean that they are for everyone.
Under the first prong, the agreement is determined to be valid if the agreement makes a fair and reasonable provision for the spouse who is not seeking enforcement.
If you would like to speak with us about a family law, divorce, guardianship, probate or other matter, please contact our office at In Washington State, Domestic Violence restraining orders are serious business and worthwhile to contest if you are the respondent in such a proceeding and you do not feel there is just cause for such an order to be issued against you.
In addition, if you already have one issued against you, you need to be careful about violating the terms of order even if the petitioner invites contact with them.
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Their consent to have contact with you is not a viable defense if you are charged with a crime. For instance, in State v. Dejarlais, a case from the Washington State Supreme Court, the defendant argued that, where a person protected by a protection order consents to the presence of the person restrained by the order, the jury should be instructed that the consent is a defense to the charge of violating that order. Furthermore, the court explained, allowing parties to consent to contact would essentially allow people to modify the order without going to court and having a hearing as required.
So, if an order is issued against you and the petitioner invites you over to reconcile or talk things out, you can be charged with a crime and be convicted even if they consented to contact with you. If you would like to contest or pursue a protection order or discuss another family law, personal injury or legal matter, please contact our office at Most people with a work history have accrued credits and paid for future social security benefits through FICA withholding as employees or through payment self-employment tax.
These benefits may be utilized in the future in the form of Social Security Disability or Retirement benefits. However, are these benefits divisible in a divorce case? What if one spouse worked a long time, paid into Social Security and the other spouse stayed home to take care of children for many years.
Then what? In a case called Marriage of Zahm, the Washington State Supreme Court determined that Social security benefits are the separate, indivisible property of the spouse who earned them and are not subject to division in a marital property distribution case. However, the court in Zahm also held that trial courts are not precluded from considering social security benefits in making a just and equitable property distribution.
In other words, if one party has accrued significant social security benefits during the marriage and the other party has not, the Court may consider this fact when arriving at a just and equitable division of property. A court may, if appropriate, award more property to a party after taking this into consideration.
If you would like to discuss a divorce, custody, support, visitation, guardianship or other family law or personal injury matter, please contact our office at This can include compensation for inconvenience. What determines the size of an award for pain, suffering, or inconvenience? For instance, an injured person can testify about their subjective symptoms of pain and suffering and the limitations of their physical movements.
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If the case is ultimately given to a jury, the jury can pretty much award whatever they think is justified, guided by ordinary experience. Washington law states that the determination of the amount of damages is primarily within the province of the jury under proper instructions. Most injury cases do not end up in a jury trial. Nonetheless, the fact that damages for pain and suffering could be completely up to a jury to decide can often give defendants some incentive to settle without the necessity of a trial.
If you would like to discuss an injury case with us, please call our office at