Family law cases are complex, fact-specific, and can cause a lot of pain, turmoil, and stress for you and your children. Whether you're seeking a divorce, or you need assistance with issues such as custody disputes, domestic violence, neglect, and child abuse, we are here to help you.
Hazel & Schwab routinely handles child custody cases and can help to determine the best custody arrangement for you and your children. Whether you are modifying a current plan, do not have a plan, or are navigating child-custody issues as a part of your divorce, we are able to guide you through the terrain. Child custody refers to the legal arrangement determining where and with whom a child will live after the parents' separation or divorce. It involves making decisions about physical custody (where the child resides) and legal custody (who makes important decisions on behalf of the child). The fundamental basis for all child custody decisions must be the best interests of the children. It is imperative to consider the following factors when determining what is in a child’s best interest: The wishes of the parents. The wishes of the child. The relationships the child has with parents, siblings and anyone else who significantly affects the child’s best interests. How the child has adjusted to home, school, and community. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved. The presence of physical abuse, or chemical dependency, if any. Continuity and stability of care. The developmental needs of the child. Whether a parent has failed to financially support the child or pay birth-related costs when the parent is able to pay.
At Hazel & Schwab, we are experts in assessing, guiding, and eliciting the best possible results in cases involving child support. Generally, child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to contribute to the cost of upbringing of the children. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time. If the child resides an equal amount of time with each parent, the parent with the lower income may still be entitled to child support. Child support is financial assistance paid by one parent to the other for the benefit of their child. It helps cover essential expenses like education, healthcare, and daily living costs, ensuring the child's needs are met even after the parents' separation. The amount of child support to be paid is set according to a formula prescribed by the Washington State Child Support Guidelines. The amount of support ordered is dependent on the some of these factors: each party’s net disposable income; the approximate time the high earner has physical custody of the children; the number of other children supported; costs of child care; health care expenses; and whether there are extraordinary expenses associated with the children. Travel expenses and costs relating to education and other special needs may also be considered.
Contempt of court occurs when someone willfully disobeys a court order. In family law cases, it can result from failure to follow child support, custody, or visitation orders, leading to potential penalties or sanctions. It is important to secure the knowledge and legal experience of a reputable attorney to prove contempt or defend yourself if charged with contempt of an order. At Hazel & Schwab, we are committed to protecting our clients’ rights and promoting their interests, whenever possible.
Dissolution of Marriage
Dissolution of Marriage is the legal process that terminates a marriage. It involves resolving issues like property division, spousal support, child custody, and support. An experienced attorney can guide you through this complex process and protect your rights. Unfortunately, many couples will face the challenge of a divorce and its emotional, physical, and financial effects. While divorce can be a painful and difficult process, it can also be needlessly complicated and worsened by certain aspects of the legal process. This can be especially devastating when there are children involved. It is important at the outset to consider the type of divorce experience you and your spouse desire, and to choose an attorney whose goals and methods match yours. At Hazel & Schwab, we synthesize our competence, creativity, and compassion in handling divorce cases. Throughout the divorce proceedings, we will listen attentively to your needs. We will assess all of the assets and debt of the marriage and work closely with you to secure a proper financial outcome. We are particularly mindful of the needs of children during and after divorce, and will strongly advocate for parenting arrangements that represent the children’s best interests.
Guardianship by Non-Parent
Guardianship by a non-parent typically occurs when a child's parents are unable to care for them adequately. It grants a responsible adult legal authority to make decisions and provide care for the child. Family circumstances can change, and sometimes a child is unable to be cared for in the manner that he or she deserves. It may be necessary to remove the child from a situation that could promote lasting physical or psychological harm. We are equipped to guide family members through the process of establishing new legal guardianship status, and we are deeply committed to helping families ensure an optimally healthy home environment for the children involved in such cases. Hazel & Schwab are the leading experts on the new Minor Guardianship Laws in Washington State. Cases of this nature are our passion, and our firm is paving the way for the Yakima Valley by developing procedures and expanding guidelines for the Yakima Valley Superior Court. We are proud to be your local specialists on these matters.
Legal separation is an alternative to divorce, where spouses live apart but remain legally married. It addresses similar issues as divorce, such as property division, custody, and support. Unfortunately, many couples will face the challenge of separation and its emotional, physical, and financial effects. While separation can be a difficult process, it can also be needlessly complicated and worsened by certain aspects of the legal process. This can be especially difficult when there are children involved. It is important at the outset to consider the type of legal separation you and your spouse desire, and to choose an attorney whose goals and methods match yours. At Hazel & Schwab, we synthesize our competence, creativity, and compassion in handling legal separation cases. Throughout the proceedings, we will listen attentively to your needs. We are particularly mindful of the needs of children during and after a separation, and will strongly advocate for parenting arrangements that represent the children’s best interests.
Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party helps divorcing or separating couples reach agreements on various issues outside of court. It promotes communication and cooperation to find mutually satisfactory solutions. At times, divorce and other family law matters can be resolved without the expense, time, and stress of lengthy courtroom proceedings. Involving a professional mediator who encourages productive communication between disputing parties, mediation takes a collaborative approach to a disagreement. This allows disputing parties to retain more control over proceedings – and their outcome. The process allows the parties themselves the opportunity to reach mutually acceptable agreements that are in their best interests. Like most family law matters, you should not begin mediation without seeking professional counsel. At Hazel & Schwab, we believe in taking a fresh approach to our clients’ divorce, custody, and other family law cases. We work closely with our clients to protect their best interests and pursue the best possible outcome in their individual cases.
Modification involves seeking changes to existing court orders concerning child custody, support, or spousal support due to significant changes in circumstances for one or both parties. When life circumstances change unexpectedly, court orders may need to be rethought or modified. According to Washington law, any court order regarding child custody and parenting time, child support, and spousal support is subject to modification due to a substantial, unanticipated change in circumstance. Hazel & Schwab have assisted clients with all aspects of the family law modification process. If your previous court order no longer fits your needs or has placed your child in danger, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm. We pride ourselves on helping families through difficult transitions.
A parenting plan is a detailed agreement that outlines custody and visitation arrangements, parental responsibilities, and decision-making authority after a divorce or separation. At Hazel & Schwab we are deeply invested in promoting the best possible outcomes for children, and work closely and with clients to establish parenting plans that will meet the needs of all family members.
Property division entails the fair and equitable distribution of marital assets and debts between spouses during divorce proceedings. Washington is a community property state. Washington law requires that the court's division of your property be "just and equitable" (RCW 26.09. 080) between the parties upon the dissolution of a marriage. However, equitable does not mean equal, or 50/50. Instead, it usually means fair under the circumstances. Several factors are relevant, including the length of the marriage, skills and relative abilities of the parties, needs and opportunities to acquire future assets, and whether the property was gifted, inherited, or premarital. Having Hazel & Schwab accurately present your assets and protect your interests can make all the difference as you go through your divorce. When you work with our team at Hazel & Schwab, we will take care to protect your property so you can face a more stable future.
A protection order or restraining order is a legal order designed to protect individuals from harassment, threats, or violence. In family law cases, it can be issued to safeguard spouses or children from abusive situations. A restraining order can order temporary child custody and parenting time as well. Hazel & Schwab is experienced in helping clients file and litigate restraining orders and protective orders. If you have found yourself in a situation where you need to obtain or challenge a restraining order or protective order of any kind, we can help you through this difficult time.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, involves financial payments from one spouse to the other after divorce to assist with financial stability or to maintain a standard of living. Our team is skilled at advocating for your alimony needs or helping you and your former partner negotiate a mutually satisfying alimony agreement. There are several factors to consider in determining an appropriate amount and duration for spousal support. Circumstances in which alimony may be appropriate include the following: one spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his/her reasonable needs, and is unable to be self-supporting through appropriate employment; or, one party is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances require that he or she should not be required to seek employment outside the home.