All posts by Héctor E. Quiroga

What is Separate Property and What is Community Property in Spokane?

The issue of labeling for categorizing property, into either community property or separate property, often arises in divorces in Spokane County. This categorization of property can make a substantial difference on how the court will allocate assets and liabilities to the parties who are seeking a final dissolution or a legal separation from their spouse.
The law in Washington states that all property acquired prior to the marriage, and its rents, issues, and profits, is considered separate property. In addition, property that is acquired during my marriage from gifts, inheritance and its rents, issues, and profits will be considered separate property. The issue with this is that often the parties will commingle community property with separate property. Then would be unable to tell which property or asset is completely 100% separate at the time of the divorce. Community property in Spokane is categorized the same way.
If they are able to show that the character of the property never changed (i.e. a bank account that was never touched), then the asset will continue to be separate property. This often causes issues because typically parties will take their savings and invest into a community investment, and thus most likely commingling the funds and rendering the entire investment a community asset.
One defense to commingling is the direct tracing theory. As noted above, if a party can show, with bank statements, testimony, checks, and or other writings, that the funds were never mixed, that party may be able to keep the asset or the value of the asset from distribution.
To make matters worse, in a Spokane County and the entire state Washington, a Superior Court judge has the ability to the label property (community or separate property) and then distribute the assets in a just and equitable manner. Community property in Spokane thus must be categorized by a Superior Court judge, then divided as the judge deems fair and equitable.

Read more

Why You Shouldn’t Fight Over Custody

Sometimes, a word is just a word.
In Washington State, divorcing couples often end up fighting over the word “custody,” in particular the phrase “designated custodial parent.” In fact, though, for most people, it’s a non-issue — hardly worth even a second thought, let alone a court battle.
Custody, per se, doesn’t really exist in Washington. Here, negotiated parenting plans establish how the child or children’s time will be divided, as well as who will make decisions regarding the children’s education and religion, and other pertinent issues. But when writing that plan, the parents have to decide which of them will be designated as the child’s official “custodial parent.” Too often, this rather meaningless term becomes an unnecessary point of contention.

Read more

Bankruptcy: Lose Your Debt, Not Your Car

Filing bankruptcy in Washington State doesn’t mean you have to lose your shirt — or even your car or house, for that matter.
When you file, you are asking the courts to declare your debts discharged, which means that you no longer owe them. Technically, however, a debt cannot be discharged that is secured by a good. If you’re making payments on a car or house, under the law you would have to return them to the creditor if your filing is accepted.
Recognizing that a car and a house can be necessary to living, however, the law allows an exception. If your creditors agree, your attorney can file a reaffirmation agreement stating that, although you want to discharge other debts, you wish to continue making your car payment or mortgage payment.

Read more

Total Loss in Spokane – Consumers Beware of This Process

When will an insurance company declare your vehicle a total loss in a Spokane Washington.
Is your vehicle a total loss in Spokane or you are going through this process nearby? Every county has the same requirements for the entire state (in this case, Washington). However, every county, including Spokane county, have differing practical ways to approach the total process.
You know the story, you’re driving on I-90 when a careless driver forgets that the snow and ice will make the roads slippery and that slowing down is the prudent thing to do. He loses control and collides with your vehicle. I could never really understand why we forget that driving in the snow is dangerous. It seems that the first snow of every year takes its toll when it comes to vehicle collisions. They are sure busy during this time.

Read more
Fiance Petitions

Fiance and Spousal Petitions in Spokane County

Fiance and spousal petitions in Spokane County are not as easy to acquire as they once were. We do have a local USCIS office downtown at the Federal Courthouse, where the required interviews for this type of petition can be held. However, as the saying goes, love can be complicated. That’s especially true when it involves marriage between a U.S. citizen and a non-citizen.
If you meet someone who isn’t an American citizen and you want to marry them, you’ll need to think carefully before you act. If you’re a foreign citizen hoping to marry and live in the U.S., you should exercise caution, as well. In either case, a good lawyer is invaluable for navigating fairly tricky terrain.
To bring a foreign-born fiance or spouse to the U.S. to live, the American citizen will need to file a fiance and spousal petitions in Spokane with the federal government (a visa petition will be sent to adequately request – a fiance visa for those who have not married yet, and a spousal visa for those that have already marry). But a “yes” answer isn’t automatic. The person wishing to come to America will have to meet certain criteria:
You must have met each other at least once. This may seem like a no-brainer. The fact is, marriages made strictly for the sake of immigration do occur, as do “mail-order” spouses. To try to prevent them, the feds require evidence that you and your would-be spouse have met in person.
A few photos of the two of you together is often all the evidence you will need. If you don’t have one, however, you’ll need something else: an airline ticket may suffice, or emails between the two of you talking about meeting may be sufficient. An attorney can help you find evidence that the government will accept. You must both be eligible to marry.

Read more

Motions for Revision in Spokane County

Motions for revision in Spokane County are more common than I personally thought, especially in family cases. A motion to revise a Commissioner’s ruling is often viewed as an appeal of a temporary orders hearing or as an objection to the Commissioner’s reasoning to reach the conclusion that he/she reached. However, most revisions are denied as the parties (or their attorneys) fail to follow both, a legal approach (abide by required court rules), and a practical approach to what is going to be presented to the court.
It is, of course, crucial for a practitioner or a party representing themselves to carefully review Spokane County court rules before making the motion to revise the ruling. However; a party may also want to consider a more practical approach to the revision, both in terms of cost, evidence presented, and the overall objection of the revision.
If a party makes a motion to revise, but he or she does not prevail (it is denied), the court may grant attorney’s fees to the other side for having to defend the motion (if they are represented by a lawyer).

Read more

Mediating Divorce Cases in Spokane May Be the Solution

Mediating divorce cases in Spokane County are required where there are children involved. Divorce is almost never easy — but why make it harder than it has to be? Mediation is often a better solution.
Is it time to call a mediator?
Dividing property and deciding how best to parent your kids can, in themselves, seem overwhelming. Add volatile emotions to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for stress, mess, and a whopping legal bill.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
When you and your partner can’t even agree to disagree, it’s time to call in a mediator. Or is it?

Read more

Parenting Plan Modifications in Spokane County

Parenting plan modifications in Spokane courts happen daily. You know, Life happens, and not always in the way we envision. Any changes will have to be significant, though, for a Spokane County judge to amend your parenting plan.
A parenting plan is supposed to provide stability for divorcing parents and their children. So it’s easy to see why courts are reluctant to tinker with them once they’re adopted. You’ll have to jump through some legal hoops: file a petition for modification, hope the court commissioner agrees that a change is needed, write a new parenting plan, and, possibly, appear in court to argue your case.
To get a change in your plan, you’ll need to provide evidence of a “substantial change” in situation or circumstance since the original plan’s approval.

Read more

Non-Contested Divorces in Spokane: a Good Solution to an Expensive Problem

Non-contested divorces in Spokane are common. It is important to remember that just because you both agree, it doesn’t mean your divorce will be a snap.
In Washington State, every divorce is automatically “no-fault.”
An amicable divorce will almost occur faster and at a lower cost than one in which the parties fight over dividing assets or a parenting plan for children. A non-contested divorce in Washington State can take 90 days — the minimum time required by law — as opposed to six months or even a year (and in more complicated ones even more) when the parties are in dispute.
Getting a non-contested divorces in Spokane also tends to lower the price tag for divorcing couples. Mediators, arbitrators, repeated filings and protracted court battles can bring the cost of divorce up to $10,000 or even $15,000 per party. When spouses reach agreement among themselves, however, the price can be as low as $2,500 — total (sometimes less depending on the parties assets, liabilities, retirements, and other factors).

Read more

Writing a Parenting Plan in Spokane Washington

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when children are involved. At this time, more than ever, they need stability. That’s why a parenting plan is the very best thing you can do for them, and for yourselves — whether you are separating, divorcing, or merely ending a relationship.
Required by law in Washington for divorcing couples with children, parenting plans protect everyone in a family during a time often rife with conflict.
Arguments over the children’s visitation won’t need to occur, because the parents have already agreed, in writing, to a schedule specifying which days the children spend with each of them.

Read more