Family Law & Divorce
Family law issues can be particularly contentious, so it is important to hire an attorney that is compassionate to understand your needs but also be results driven. We are dedicated to protecting your family, your assets, and your future. Our firm guides our clients through their life-changing events and are their trusted advisors. Our clients appreciate our law firm's dedication to creative and cooperative methods of dispute resolution. We have a strong track record of utilizing mediation and are experienced in collaborative law in order to come to solutions outside of the courtroom setting. If a solution cannot be worked out outside of court, we are always prepared to get the results that you deserve through litigation, as all of our attorneys are highly experienced trial lawyers.
Divorce ProceedingsWe have represented clients in all aspects of divorce proceedings, including negotiation, mediation and litigation phases. Typical issues that may arise in a divorce case include property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. Negotiating parenting plans and property division agreements can be an intense process. Depending on your needs, we may bring in experts from different disciplines including finance, accounting, and tax planning to develop a strong, effective case. We are well equipped to handle your divorce matter whether it is straight forward or complex, amicable or contested.
Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Plans)The court will make a ruling on which parents will have legal custody of the parties' child or children and how much parenting time each parent will have with the child or children. Every divorced family must have a specific parenting plan to rely on in case disagreements arise. If you and your child’s other parent disagree in the future, the court will order you to follow the plan as written. The document that addresses the custody for your children is called a Custody Order or Parenting Plan. These orders address issues such as a schedule of residential time with each parent, allocation of decision-making responsibility and provisions for future dispute resolution. The parent with sole legal child custody will have the power to make all of the major life decisions for the child or children. This is why it especially important to have an experienced child custody lawyer or family law attorney to explain and protect your child custody rights.
Spousal Support (Alimony)Spousal support or alimony is likely an issue whenever there is a significant difference in personal income between the two spouses. Spousal support is designed to provide the lower-income spouse with money for living expenses regardless of gender. The court often considers how much child support is being paid and how much property each party will have after the divorce. It’s often said that maintenance is awarded when there is a “need” and “an ability to pay.” Courts make determinations regarding spousal support after considering many factors such as the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, as well as the age, health, earning capacity and job histories of both individuals. Courts have a wide amount of discretion when it comes to maintenance as it is just one tool available to a court to make an overall fair and equitable financial decision for the parties. Despite the uncertainty, an experienced attorney who regularly practices family law can advise a client of what the range of reasonable expectations are for the likelihood, amount, and duration of spousal maintenance.
Division of Marital AssetsAny divorce involves the division of property and debts. Washington is a community property state, meaning that, generally speaking, all income earned and property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is community property. Property owned only by one spouse is classified as separate property. This encompasses all property acquired prior to marriage, property received as personal gifts or inheritance during marriage, and property awarded by recovery for an injury to the individual. The character of property is just one of many factors the court is to consider. According to the Washington State code, the division of assets must be “just and equitable”. The code lists four factors for courts to consider when deciding how to divide the assets, including the nature and extent of the community property, the nature and extent of the separate property, the duration of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of the property is to become effective. The nature of community property law in Washington is quite complex and a knowledgeable family law attorney can assist you in classifying your property.
Other Family Law MattersOur firm can also assist people in the following areas of family law:
- Prenuptial, Post-nuptial, and Cohabitation Agreements
- Enforcement of Parenting Plans
- Restraining Orders and Protection Orders
- Minor Guardianships (previously Third Party Custody Petitions)