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Tacoma Area Law Blog

Feds admit that they illegally pursued medical marijuana patients

It's rough enough being chronically ill -- but when federal prosecutors are determined to scapegoat you for the use of medical marijuana, life can become a legal nightmare.

That nightmare has finally ended for the remaining members of the Washington residents known as "the Kettle Falls Five." While the final three defendants -- a mother, her son and his wife -- are finally vindicated, the ending didn't come soon enough for the family's father. He died of cancer before seeing the case resolved. The final member involved in the case, a family friend, gave up back in 2015 and took a plea deal that gave him 16 months in jail.

What unmarried fathers should know about seeking custody

A majority of single parent households across the country are headed by women. While there a number of reasons for this, it does not diminish the fact that countless fathers desperately want to be in their children’s lives and seek custody and parenting time as a result. However, many fathers feel as if they are treated as second-class citizens for seeking equal parenting time, especially if they have been intentionally shunned from their children’s lives by vindictive mothers.

Whatever the case may be, it is unfortunate that some fathers give up on the process; frustrated by the pace upon which decisions are made and how much they have to prove. With that said, this post will provide some helpful tips for unmarried dads seeking custody and parenting time. 

What are the basics of a divorce in Washington?

Every state has its own rules when it comes to divorce -- so it's important to understand the rules of the state you live in before you initiate proceedings. That can affect everything from how much it costs to file to how long you have to wait to finalize your divorce.

Here are some of the basics you need to know about getting divorced in Washington:

  1. You can file your petition for divorce as soon as you establish your residency -- which means being able to show proof that you're living there, such as a lease or a mortgage and a Washington driver's license. If you are a member of the armed forces, you merely have to show that you are stationed for the time being in the state. That makes Washington a fairly "easy to divorce" state, since some states require residents to live there a year before they can file.
  2. You do have a 90-day wait before your divorce can be finalized, even if you are filing an uncontested divorce (where you and your spouse agree on all the issues). This gives both parties time to reconsider and time to evaluate additional legal options if they want.
  3. A domestic partnership obtained in a state that recognized those prior to the legalization of same-sex marriages is handled the same way a divorce is handled.
  4. You have to be able to provide the last known residence of your spouse to the court, so that he or she can be properly notified of the pending divorce.
  5. Where a divorce takes place often depends on who files first. If you and your spouse have separated and are now at quite a distance from each other, it may be to your advantage to file the divorce paperwork first.
  6. You do not need to prove a set of grounds for the divorce, such as abandonment, cruelty or abuse. It is enough to state that the relationship has suffered an irretrievable breakdown. This is an advantage over having to prove fault because there is no defense to a divorce request made under a no-fault provision.

How do you respond to the parental abduction of a child?

Parental abduction is another way of saying that a parent has kidnapped his or her own child. It usually happens when there is a bitter custody dispute between parents or the court has placed the child with relatives for some reason.

If you suddenly realize that a child in your custody has gone missing, the parent hasn't returned from a scheduled visitation (and isn't returning your calls or otherwise offering an explanation that's reasonable) or you are witness to a parental abduction, take the following steps:

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