Protecting Rights and Safety
Relief Before Entry of a Decree
During the pendency of a dissolution proceeding, parties may try to harass one another, sell property or try other ways to obtain the upper hand. Generally, each party seeks to preserve the status quo for himself or herself as much as possible. To frustrate self-serving actions and to protect you from the indiscriminate actions of your spouse, we may ask the court to issue temporary orders which may include a temporary restraining order. We will discuss with you whether your case necessitates such a hearing. Generally, this procedure is done to protect your assets, to stop additional debt from accumulating, to provide financial support and/or to establish a residential schedule for the children.
It is not at all unusual to request the Court’s assistance with temporary relief. When we request such relief from the court it will include a temporary parenting plan, child support, spousal maintenance, control of the home, restraining orders (keeping all insurance in force, use of cars, etc.) and attorney fees. Temporary restraining orders may include restraints against transferring, encumbering, concealing or disposing of assets; molesting or disturbing the peace of the other party or the children; entering the residence of the other party; removing the children from the jurisdiction of the Court; and incurring any community debts.
Hopefully, the restraining order will preserve your property until the matter is settled or until trial. In addition, it will give you some protection against harassment or physical abuse, against the cancellation of insurance, against the removal of furniture and unauthorized withdrawal of money from bank accounts, etc.
If you are not working and your spouse is employed, maintenance may be awarded pending settlement or trial. Of course, child support will be awarded to the party having placement of any children.
Federal law mandates a uniform schedule of child support for all of Washington State. The existing schedule is more than a decade old and is the subject of a legislatively created working group which now is reviewing the child support schedule and will make recommendations to the legislature. At this time the schedule is based upon a specified percentage of the parents’ net monthly income and the percentage of net income increases for each additional child. The Administrator for the Court has issued schedules which are followed across the State. Other factors that may be considered, in addition to income and the number of children, include debt structure, living expenses, and any unusual financial circumstances, as well as children from other relationship which a parent may be under a court order to support.