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Rhea J. Rolfe

Rhea Rolfe’s Answers

22 total


  • Do I have any leverage in a family court if my ex is withholding his address from me? 50/50 custody.

    Rhea’s Answer

    In my view, a parent has the right to know where his or her children are residing with the other parent. Review your parenting plan, as there is usually a provision for the parties to advise each other of a new address. In the case of a 50/50 plan, many courts interpret the Relocation Act as requiring both parties to give notice if they relocate. Did your ex move after the dissolution? If so, the Relocation Act should apply to him, and he should have given notice before relocating. If he failed to give notice, he is in contempt. Be careful, though, if you initiated the confrontation with the girlfriend, as he may see this as a reason to modify your parenting plan. It would be a good idea to talk to a lawyer to discuss all the circumstances.

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  • How to file a child abduction form?

    Rhea’s Answer

    Much depends on where you were living when she abducted the child. Many factors are involved. If the abduction was within the US, then the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act applies. If she removed the child from another country, and that was where you were living, then the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction might apply. The Hague Convention is a specialized area of law, and applies different standards than the UCCJEA. You may also contact the US State Department Children's Division, or the Central Authority of your country, who may help you file an Application for Return of Child under the Convention. If your country is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, the Convention will not apply, and you must resort to whatever child custody laws apply where you are. I strongly suggest you contact a family law attorney who is familiar with these issues.

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  • How to terminate parental rights on grounds of abandonment

    Rhea’s Answer

    I have similar cases in the last couple of years. As the prior posters stated, this man would have to bring a paternity action in order to be established the father of the child, and he may be too late for that. In my cases, the fathers were on the children's birth certificates, had paid some small amounts of support, and also had seen their children in their younger years. Still, I had no problem convincing the judges that the fathers in the other cases had abandoned their children, and their rights were terminated. One man appealed and lost. In other words, termination can be accomplished, but it is a tricky subject, and you should have an attorney.

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  • Is it possible to get back child support for my 15 yr old son if I am just filing my case?

    Rhea’s Answer

    Normally, child support is prospective only (in other words, from the date you file forward). The Division of Child Support will not assess any retrospective support. On the other hand, in a dissolution (divorce) process, the courts have a great deal of discretion and may be able to give you additional property (if there is any) make up for some of the support you didn't receive, based on equities.

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  • I'm attempting to modify my child support.

    Rhea’s Answer

    Make sure that you are talking about the Family Law Orientation, which is for people representing themselves, and not the "What About the Kids" seminar, for people with children. Check your certificate. If you have taken either seminar within the last five years, chances are the court won't make you take it again. Assuming you are modifying support under the same case number, the certificate should be on file. You may need to file a sworn declaration saying you had attended it previously, reviewed the materials, and asking to be excused from taking it again.

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  • Can a parent claim Custodial Parent to DSHS while sharing joint custody?

    Rhea’s Answer

    Some courts and DCS really pay attention to the designation of "custodian" in a parenting plan, although they are not really supposed to do that. If you don't have a parenting plan, you need to object to the notice from the Division of Child Support--I assume you got one or this wouldn't be an issue at all. Additionally, the Superior Court can overrule whatever DCS has assessed for support, but you would need to bring a motion before the court. If you don't have a case already, you need to file one. Consult an attorney in your area to make sure that at the very least, you get a residential credit for your time with the child.

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  • What is likelihood of me having to pay attorney fees of my ex wife in case regarding custody?

    Rhea’s Answer

    Attorney's fees depend on a lot of factors. Since this is her motion/petition, the only thing the court could look at is whether or not she "needs" fees and you have the "ability to pay". Having said that, in this situation, it is her own fault that the lease is expiring, and she certainly should have known that more than 60 days in advance of the move. So it's not an emergency. Her decision to hire an attorney is also her own decision. Did you file a proposed parenting plan in response to her notice of relocation? If not, you need to do that. Your parenting plan should take into consideration any time you might lose under her new proposal, to make up those dates. Mediation is required. You should consult an attorney to determine your rights in this circumstances. Anyone can request attorney's fees. That doesn't mean the court will order them.

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  • How is child support broken down when a payor has multiple kids with different mothers?

    Rhea’s Answer

    It depends on who is enforcing the various orders. To whom is the back support for the 21-year-old? owed? If not to the state, but only to the mother, she might compromise the back debt. If the Division of Child Support is calculating support, they will normally give a deviation based on other children the father is required to support, unless that results in a lack of resources in the recipient's home. Is your boyfriend the "legal" father of your child (is he on the birth certificate)?You should consult with an attorney to determine what support she should be paid, and make sure it is based on a 2-child family, with the back support being separate.

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  • What do I need to file next if my ex fails to file his objection to my relocation letter/forms?

    Rhea’s Answer

    If he doesn't respond within 30 days, and you filed a proposed parenting plan, your plan becomes the new parenting plan by default. You can get an order to this effect , and then take a certified copy of that new parenting plan and register it in the new location, so it can be enforced. If you didn't submit a new proposed parenting plan, then you need to do that, so that the old parenting plan isn't still in force. A "local" parenting plan will not work for long distance. If you don't file a new parenting plan, then the old one is still in force, even if you relocate. You might want to consult an attorney as to details on how this is done.

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  • Can I file a modify parenting plan in King County (where I currently live) even tho my divorce was finalized in Pierce County?

    Rhea’s Answer

    You should file for modification of the parenting plan in the county where the children live. If that is not Pierce County, then you need to attach a certified copy of the original parenting plan. The forms for modification are mostly self-explanatory, but you might save yourself some time and headache by consulting an attorney as to whether or not you have grounds for the modification, as the courts are supposed to keep the original parenting plan unless there has been a substantial change in circumstances in the circumstances of the child or the other party. You say that "at that time" you moved to King County--Did the original parenting plan contemplate a long-distanced visitation schedule? There is also a difference between a major modification and a minor modification. In a minor modification, you are not asking to change the residence where the child has resided primarily, and it is not as difficult to modify if, for example, you are trying to accommodate your work schedule. Again, it would be a good idea to consult an attorney to determine the extent of the modification and whether or not you would "qualify" under the statutes.

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