What is the Uniform Parentage Act and Why Should You Care?

When you think of the words “mother” and “father,” what do you envision? Do you see your parents clapping together after you took your first steps? Do you see your dad tucking you into bed? Do you feel your mom’s kiss on the cheek as she leaves for work?

Much of what we believe or expect from parenthood depends on the historical view of the family. But with today’s technology, this traditional view of the nuclear family changes. Now women can get pregnant via in vitro fertilization without ever meeting their child’s father. Parents who can’t conceive on their own can hire a surrogate to carry their son or daughter during gestation.

When the genetic makeup of a child comes from someone other than his or her parents, who has legal parenting rights?

The Uniform Parentage Act of 2002 took all of the above factors into account to define each parent’s individual rights. It also explains the specific legal procedure for determining paternity and genetic testing.

We’ve created an outline of the most basic terms in this legislation, so read on to understand your obligations and legal rights as a parent.

Legal Maternity

Traditionally, the law considered the mother to be the woman who physically bore the child. Under the 2002 law, the legal definition of mother has expanded to include:

  • A woman designated as an adoptive mother by a judge.
  • A woman whose egg was fertilized.
  • A woman who entered into a gestational agreement.

In these extenuating circumstances, the woman who carried the child does not have maternity rights under the law. If any of the above categories apply to your situation, the law protects your rights as a mother. We’ll discuss those legal rights later on in this post.

Legal Paternity

Before parenting rights became a prominent legal issue, fathers who had a child but were not married to the child’s mother could not qualify for parenting rights. Instead, all decision making ability and legal responsibilities were delegated to the child’s mother.

Today, the Uniform Parentage Act protects the rights of fathers. A legal father can include any of the following:

  • Presumed father: the man who lived with the child during the first two years of life. A presumed father also includes the man who was married to the child’s mother when she gave birth whether or not the baby was his biological child.
  • Acknowledged father: the man who claimed paternity over the child.
  • Adjudicated father: the man designated as the adoptive or legal father by a judge, or a man determined to be the father by a gestational agreement.
  • Biological father: a man who gives his consent to assisted medical reproduction.

Regardless of the legal father’s relationship with the biological mother, once he proves his paternity, the law must protect his legal rights.

Determining Parentage

Parents who have already talked to the court about their adopted or non-biological children have legal documentation confirming their parentage. However, biological parents face a more extensive process to prove their paternity.

In the event of a civil dispute, the putative father, the assumed father involved in the suit, can establish paternity in one of two ways.

First, he can sign an affidavit assuming paternity. When he gives his consent, he agrees to perform all paternal responsibilities for the rest of his life. This agreement stays in effect as long as no other man claims to have paternal rights over the same child.

If the putative father wants to escape the responsibilities outlined by the affidavit, he must prove that he is not the biological father.

Second, he can undergo DNA testing. Using DNA from the mother, the presumed father, and the child, genetic testing can determine the probability that the presumed father is the child’s biological father. The court recognizes 95% probability and above as decisive evidence that the putative father is the biological father.

Though mothers have participated in DNA testing in some cases, the mother who carried the child is typically assumed to be the biological mother, unless egg donors or surrogates were involved.

Paternity Rights

Now that you understand the legal definitions of mother and father, we’ll explain the rights and obligations that the law expects of parents.

Each parent bears the responsibility to support the child, meaning that they provide for his or her needs. In the case of divorce or separation, the court may determine that a parent owes “spousal maintenance” or child support to provide for the child.

Both parents also have the right to visit or have custody of the child. Even if the father never married the child’s mother, he maintains his visitation or custody rights if he qualifies as the legal father.

The child also has a right to all insurance, social security, and inheritance from his or her parents, so determining legal paternity can benefit the child as well.


The Uniform Parenting Act seeks to protect the rights of both children and parents, even with the recent technological changes that alter our definitions of mother and father. If you feel that you qualify for paternity rights, contact a team of legal experts to establish your parentage and make a case for your legal rights.

6 Things to Consider When You Hire a Mergers and Acquisitions Advisor

Whether you own a small company or manage a mid-sized business, you need to have a vision for your company’s future. Even as you increase revenues and expand your client base, you need to keep in mind the possibilities for future interactions with other companies.

Mergers and acquisitions provide an opportunity for your company to increase its assets for development. When you acquire or merge with an existing business, you also gain new personnel and new skills to enhance your company’s performance. You reduce competition and share the costs of running a business as well.

How should you choose an advisor to handle a merger or acquisition? The right advisor shares your vision for expanding your business and has the potential to earn you the highest settlement. Your choice of legal counsel will depend on your business’s needs.

Read the following seven tips to help you find an advisor that’s well-suited for your specific business.

1. Experience

Along with a law degree and many years of experience, an advisor should also have a personal connection to your type of business. Your legal counsel will need to familiarize himself or herself with the finer details of accounting, finance, marketing, business valuation, real estate, contracting, and negotiating to understand your business’s unique needs.

2. Fit

In addition to the practical knowledge of your industry, your mergers and acquisitions advisor should have experience dealing with your business size and budget. Also, the mutual fit between your company and the law firm you select matters even more than your legal counsel’s reputation and experience.

Find an advisor that frequently supervises cases approximately the same size as your company. If your company values at $100 million, don’t choose a firm that averages $30 million in settlements.

Similarly, if you own a new startup, you might not want to hire a legal team accustomed to multi-billion dollar settlements. Larger firms won’t have time to dedicate to smaller deals if they depend on mega-mergers for their income.

3. Availability

When you work in mergers and acquisitions, timing is paramount. You want an advisor who can defend your interests while seeking a partner to help you achieve your goals. Only a narrow window exists when an expensive deal between two parties is mutually advantageous, so your advisor’s dedication to your case should influence your decision.

When you select your legal counsel, take care to ask about the other cases your team currently works on. If your advisor attempts to juggle multiple cases simultaneously, you could miss the chance of a lifetime for your company. Choose a legal team that can dedicate their available time and resources to your company-not just today, but in the long haul that lies ahead.

4. Reputation

Since your legal advisor will represent your company, you want to ensure your advisor has a reputation for integrity, honesty, and commitment. Contact a few of the firm’s most recent clients and ask them how they felt about the advisor’s strengths and weaknesses.

You should also research the firm you want to work with to make sure their reputation won’t taint your company in the marketplace. Most Better Business Bureaus and other professional organizations keep a record of customer complaints, so take advantage of these resources when you research an advisor’s history.

5. Location

Some M&A advisors claim that they can work with your company from a remote location. For prominent or established companies, this strategy may not pose a problem. But for startups or small businesses, you want to choose an advisor that can personally visit your company and assess your earning potential.

With the high stakes of mergers and acquisitions, you want an advisor who can spend adequate face-time with your business. A local firm has the flexibility to meet with your company personally. If a local company doesn’t offer the services or the scope you desire, talk to your advisor about visiting your business location on a regular basis.

6. Personality

Once you’ve chosen a firm, make sure your particular advisor is someone you can trust. Mergers and acquisitions create extremely stressful situations, often for months on end. Make sure that you can communicate openly and honestly with your advisor.

If your preferred firm’s best legal counsel seems to frustrate you or ignore your opinion, keep looking. You won’t want to spend hours on end with a person that you can’t respect. If you don’t like your advisor, other companies probably won’t want to negotiate with him or her either.

7. Cost

You want to consider how your advisor will receive compensation before you begin the process. Ask how payment will be distributed, whether your legal counsel will take commission on a portion of your settlement or if they also expect additional fees. You also want to find out if your advisor charges a standard rate for all M&A transactions or if they have scalable costs and fee reductions.


All of these factors should influence your decision to contract an advisor for your merger or acquisition viagra tarif. For more information about corporate law, schedule a consultation with your legal counsel.

Executing a Health Care Directive: Your Questions Answered

People today live longer than ever before. You may assume that you have many healthy years left in your life, but you don’t know how many years that will be. Now is the time to complete a health care directive. No matter your age, a health care directive ensures your family and doctors handle your medical treatment and end-of-life care the way you want.

Here, we’ll answer your questions about executing a health care directive in Washington state.

What Is a Health Care Directive?

A health care directive is a legally binding document that tells your loved ones and caretakers your preferences for medical care. This document will help them make important medical decisions, especially if you lose the ability to make them yourself.

In your directive, you can name a person or agent (known as the attorney-in-fact) to make medical decisions for you if you cannot achat viagra en france. This person could include your spouse or another trusted relative. You cannot name your doctor or other health care provider unless they are an immediate relative.

In your health care directive, you can include:

  • Instructions for end-of-life care, including whether you would prefer your life to be artificially prolonged. If you are in a permanent unconscious position and/or medical authorities have determined that continued care would only serve to prolong the dying process, you can elect to accept or refuse that care. You can also accept or refuse nutrition or hydration to prolong your life.
  • Whether you prefer to donate your organs or tissues after your death.
  • Any other instructions or preferences regarding your health care, including where you wish to receive treatment and whether you prefer not to receive certain treatments.

You and two witnesses should sign this document. Your witnesses cannot be related to you and cannot be entitled to any portion of your estate or interested in receiving your organs. You also can’t use your doctor, their employees, and any other employees at your healthcare facility as witnesses.

Make sure you give copies to your lawyer, your attorney-in-fact, and your doctor. Also, keep a copy in a safe place.

When Should I Complete One?

You can complete a health care directive as young as age 18. After age 18, you’re never too young or too old to complete one. No matter your age, an illness or injury could render you unconscious or incapable of making health care decisions. While you certainly hope this won’t be the case, it’s better to make your decisions now.

What Happens If I Don’t Complete One?

If you do not complete a health care directive, your closest relatives will make your health care decisions. While you may trust them to make the right decisions, it could also cause them a lot of stress if they do not know what you would prefer-and they may disagree with each other.

Not completing a health care directive may also increase the stress on your doctor. Without a health care directive, he or she will need to get a consensus from your family for your care. It’s much easier when he or she knows your preferences and who you prefer to make medical decisions for you.

What Happens in an Emergency?

In an emergency situation, doctors will not have time to consult your health care directive-they will make decisions to preserve your life. Once they preserve your life, your doctors can evaluate the health care directive and act accordingly.

If you have a serious health condition, you can fill out a separate form called the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST). Like a health care directive, this form lets physicians know the treatments you prefer or don’t prefer. The POLST form travels with you, whether you are at home, in the hospital, or in a care center. It is the first form doctors and nurses see in your clinical record.

What Happens If I’m Pregnant?

If you are pregnant, your doctors have the right to ignore your wishes in order to preserve the baby’s life.

Can I Change My Mind?

You can revoke your health care directive at any time by executing a revocation or destroying the documents.

If a lawyer helped you execute your health care directive, you should inform him or her of the change. He or she can help you revoke your health care directive and create a new one. Make sure you inform your family and doctors of the changes as well.

How Can a Lawyer Help?                                                      

A lawyer can provide the legal forms you need to complete a health care directive. He or she can also guide you in making legal decisions, such as choosing your attorney-in-fact. Your lawyer can also help you create a will and make other end-of-life decisions.

When you’re young, you don’t want to think about the end of your life. Yet, making these decisions now can give you and your family peace of mind. Reduce future stress on your family and doctors; create your health care directive now while you’re still healthy.

7 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce

p>Most parents want what’s best for their children. However, this desire may conflict with divorced parents’ difficult feelings-in particular, their feelings of anger and resentment toward each other.

It’s normal to experience such feelings after a divorce. But if you have shared or joint custody of your kids, proceed carefully with those feelings. Otherwise, you risk hurting your children further.

To create a positive co-parenting arrangement, follow the seven tips listed below.

1. Remember, It’s Not About You

Even if your divorce was fairly amicable, you may struggle over which ex-spouse spends more time with the children. If you have a tough time deciding on a fair schedule, talk to a lawyer who understands joint custody agreements.

Also, remember that you’re creating a new relationship with your ex. If you need to, approach your ex as a business partner. Speak with respect and don’t equate listening with approval. Converse about children’s needs only. View each partner as a co-parent whose primary task is helping kids feel safe and loved. Every other concern is secondary.

Once you recognize that your family’s needs are bigger than your own, you may find it easier to set aside your resentment.

2. Vent the Right Way

Even though divorce is hard on everyone, it’s most confusing for children. While you work through your feelings of anger and resentment, make a goal to vent only to adults, outside of children’s hearing.

You should also consider keeping a journal. Journal writing can act as a release for you, but it can also help you plan for your children’s future. And don’t forget to ask children what they’re feeling. Sit down with them, comfort their fears, and allow them to vent their frustrations. Help them see any benefits in their new schedule, and maybe you’ll begin to see some benefits as well.

3. Stick With Familiar Traditions When Possible

Try your best to find comforting rituals and traditions during this transition time. If one parent lives too far away to regularly attend all soccer games, enlist the help of a favorite uncle or friend to come along. Surround your children with familiar people and situations whenever possible.

For example, if you always have movie night on Fridays, stick with the routine. If some traditions are too painful to follow, ask your kids to help you come up with a new tradition that will comfort them while they adjust to new circumstances.

4. Don’t Bad-Mouth Your Ex-Spouse

When you feel angry or frustrated, your natural inclination might be to argue the issue-even in front of your kids. However, resist this temptation as much as possible. The less you say negative remarks about your ex-spouse, the better your children will feel.

After all, kids deserve a good relationship with both parents. Don’t sour your children’s views by complaining about your ex in their hearing.

Likewise, avoid relaying messages to your ex via your children. You have the ability to e-mail, text, or call your ex-spouse. Your kids should never have to act as arbitrators between parents.

5. Learn Effective Stress-Relief Strategies

Both kids and their parents can benefit from healthy outlets during a divorce. You might set up stress signals that others can react to by using a code word or physical gesture. Decide that if a situation gets too stressful or difficult, another person can say the code word or use the agreed gesture.

Once you realize that your stress is high, observe your breathing patterns. Remind yourself to breathe slowly and diaphragmatically. Watch your belly expand on inhalation and collapse during exhalation. Allow your muscles to soften.

Find friends who will listen attentively, and make them an emergency contact for stressful moments. Or, you might close your eyes and imagine a calm or soothing scene. You can also speak to a counselor if you have one.

Keep up your exercise routine during stressful times. Go for a brisk walk, or join a yoga class that teaches you how to accept your physical as well as emotional limits.

6. Choose Your Battles

No matter if you face a difficult conversation with your ex or a tantrum by your five-year-old, remember that not all battles are worth your energy. Decide ahead of time that one imperfect resolution doesn’t mean either parent is a bad parent. One childish outburst doesn’t mean your five-year-old is headed for long-term behavioral problems.

Be realistic, and cut others a little slack. Stress and arguments are hard on everyone, not just you. Let it go whenever you can.

7. Ask for Legal Help

Some challenges might be too difficult to resolve on your own. If you can’t resolve a scheduling agreement, or if you suspect your joint-custody agreement has disguised a lower child-support payment, talk to your lawyer.

Also, remember that not all situations merit joint custody. Your legal advocates can help you know your options if joint custody doesn’t work well for your children. Don’t be afraid to ask for legal help when you need it.


By following these common-sense tips after a divorce, you help the whole family adjust better to even the most challenging circumstances. Be patient, and you’ll find your new routine easier to follow over time.

10 Ways for Parents to Stay Connected With Kids After a Divorce

Divorce is a time of transition, disconnect, and insecurity. You and your former spouse must cope with feelings of pain, frustration, and rejection. And while you might think nobody can feel worse than you do right now, your children might actually feel worse.

Parents generally know and understand the reasons for divorce, no matter how painful they might be. Children, on the other hand, lack the same level of understanding. Whereas you might feel betrayed by your former spouse, your kids might feel betrayed, abandoned, and hurt by both you and your former spouse. As a result, it’s not uncommon for kids to isolate and distance themselves from their parents.

The good news is, a divorce from your spouse doesn’t have to mean a divorce from your kids. With some hard work, genuine interest, and persistent effort, you can regain your children’s trust. Use these tips to stay connected with your kids after your divorce is finalized viagra pfizer pas cher.

If You Live in the Same Area as Your Kids

If you live near your kids, consider yourself fortunate. Because you have a physical presence in their lives, you’ll probably have an easier time maintaining a connection with them.

If you’re at a loss as to how to get started, try a few of these ideas.

  1. Leave Notes

Leave a note in your child’s lunchbox or car to remind them how much you care. Things like cartoons, quotes, or a simple “I Love You” are easy ways to strengthen your relationship.

  1. Make Conversation

Talk to your children when they’re around. If you’re driving in the car, chat with them about their favorite songs. If you’re hanging out at home, ask them about their days at school. Some of the most meaningful connections stem from simple chats.

  1. Start a New Project

Changes abound with divorce, many of which kids see as negative. Make a positive change in your children’s lives by starting a new project. Whether it’s completing a complex puzzle or building a model airplane, you can talk and bond over the project.

  • Plan a Special Activity

What kinds of things do your children love to do? Have they been asking to go to a concert? A sporting event? A theme park? Whatever it is, you can plan a special activity with your children to show them you’re interested in their interests. Planning a special activity also gives you both something to look forward to, which helps to strengthen your bond.

  1. Establish a Routine

With all the changes that come with a divorce, a routine can go a long way in helping a child feel safe and secure. If your children live with you, establish bedtime routines where you can read and talk together. If you don’t live together, you can have some sort of reading or meal routine when you do spend time together.

If You Live a Long Distance from Your Kids

Whether you live 100 or 1,000 miles from your kids, you might have a harder time nurturing a relationship with them. Here are some of the best ways to connect with your kids from a long distance.

  1. Schedule Weekly Phone Calls

Consistency is key when it comes to connection, so you should make an effort to call your kids at least once every week. Schedule your calls on a Saturday or Sunday when you both have enough time to have meaningful conversations.

If you’re nervous about talking on the phone, write down questions and ideas throughout the week to ensure you have something to talk about.

  1. Take and Share Photos

Pictures are worth more than a thousand words-they’re worth countless connections and memories. When you’re with your kids, take photos together. When you’re apart, exchange photos via text message or social media to make the distance seem smaller.

  1. Send Snail Mail

Chances are your children don’t receive mail very often. As a result, a card or letter will make them feel extra special.

  • Order Them Takeout from Afar

One of the best ways to let your kids know you’re thinking about them is to surprise them. A simple, creative way to do so is to order them pizza or takeout from their favorite local restaurant. Pay for the food over the phone, and ask the deliveryman to tell your kids the food is from you.

  1. Plan Trips Together

Few things are more fun than a vacation. Whether your kids come to visit you or you all go somewhere new, taking trips together is a surefire way to build connection.

If Your Kids Don’t Respond Right Away

Don’t allow discouragement or frustration to take over if your kids don’t respond to your efforts right away. Remember, the divorce probably hurt them just as much as, and maybe even more than, it hurt you. As a result, your children might make you put in a lot of time and effort before they feel like they can trust you again.

In this situation, remember to stay positive and persistent. Your efforts will pay off in due time.

If you need additional tips on navigating the world of parenting after a divorce, talk to a family lawyer about parenting plans and co-parenting counseling.

Conscious Coupling: What It Means to Be Married or in a Committed Intimate Relationship

You have a beautiful home, a fulfilling career, and a partner you love very much. You enjoy your life as it is-and you’re not in any rush to make your romantic relationship legally binding. However, you worry about a time when things may not be so rosy. If you and your significant other break up, what will happen to the life you built together?

As you consider your future-and the term you want to define you and your companion-learn about the rights and responsibilities involved with a marriage or a committed intimate relationship.

What Is Marriage?

Marriage usually conjures images of white tulle dresses, tiered cakes, and guests tearing up over sentimental vows. But your marriage involves a lot more than walking down the aisle and signing a license.

Once you and your partner say “I do,” the two of you commit to each other-as well as 1,138 federal benefits, rights, and responsibilities. These rights for married couples include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Visitation rights in jail or during a medical emergency
  • Responsibility to make medical decisions unless otherwise specified in a will
  • Permission to make funeral arrangements for a deceased spouse
  • Joint tax filing
  • Inheritance of some property, even without a will
  • Ability to claim Social Security, Medicare, disability, veteran’s, and similar benefits in behalf of a spouse
  • Spousal privilege during court cases, meaning you do not have to testify against your spouse

Due to these privileges and responsibilities, ending a marriage is more complex than your average breakup. A divorce, or a “dissolution of marriage” as the state of Washington refers to it, does not require proof of any wrongdoing, but you will have to wait at least 90 days from the time you file a petition to the time the court enters a final order for dissolution.

However, you will protect certain rights and assets because you were married to your spouse peut on prendre du viagra sans ordonnance. The court will divide all property and debts between parties and determine whether you should receive spousal maintenance from your spouse. They will also define a “parenting plan,” which other states refer to as custody. The state decides who pays child support, who can claim dependent children on their taxes, and whether either party should be issued a restraining order.

What Is a Domestic Partnership?

Since June 2014, only couples with one member age 62 or older can file for a domestic partnership. The state of Washington converted all previous domestic partnerships into marriages. This option assists older couples who may run into issues with their Social Security benefits and pensions if they were to marry.

Domestic partnerships end in a manner similar to marriages: you will need to file a petition, and the court will authorize a fair division of property and debts.

What Is a Committed Intimate Relationship?

Several U.S. states still practice “common law marriage.” The court will grant certain marriage benefits, such as inheritance of property after one partner dies, if the couple has lived together for a significant (but undefined) amount of time and presents themselves as a married couple.

Washington does not recognize common law marriage. So what happens if you and your long-time partner split or if one of you passes away without that marriage license? The court may consider your coupling a “committed intimate relationship” if:

  • You live in the same home as a couple.
  • You have been together exclusively for a long period of time.
  • You have children together.
  • You create wills together, make significant purchases together, or keep joint accounts.
  • You enjoy the emotional benefits of a married couple, such as mutual support, companionship, and love.

It doesn’t matter if you and your significant other could get married. If the court confirms one or more of these factors and deems the situation a committed intimate relationship, the court could help you divide assets and liabilities.

The court will divide community property and debts, or property and debts acquired during the relationship. Aside from property obtained before or after the relationship, exceptions include property you inherited or received as a gift. You must seek an equitable division of property within three years of the end of the relationship.

Remember that a committed intimate relationship is different from a marriage. People in these relationships are not entitled to:

  • Spousal maintenance, or alimony
  • A share of the partner’s government benefits
  • A share or inheritance of separate property and debts
  • Reimbursement for attorney fees while enforcing rights as part of this relationship

Finally, the court can step in once again if you and your partner have children together who are under age 18. They may set up a parenting plan or order child support.

Talk with Your Partner and Decide What’s Right for Your Family

Families today come in all shapes and sizes. Though marriage does present a lot of benefits, don’t let anyone pressure you into taking on that title. Make the decision that’s best for you and your partner. If you have legal questions no matter the stage of your relationship, contact an attorney specializing in family law.