Washington State Family Law Lawyers Serving Clients’ Legal Needs
Sometimes families can be complicated, and their legal needs can be just as complex. Whether you are experiencing a difficult time, like the break-up of a relationship or a child custody disagreement, or you are joyfully welcoming a child into your family through an adoption, our experienced family lawyers can help you with all of your legal needs. At Pacific Northwest Family Law we pride ourselves on delivering tailored legal services to meet your goals. We listen carefully to the details of your unique situation so we can help you reach your desired outcome. Contact us today to see how we can help you: (360) 926-9112 .
What Is Family Law?
Family law is a branch of law that deals with legal matters involving relationships. Many people think of divorce-related matters, such as child custody, child support, and alimony when they hear “family law,” but it encompasses much more than that. Any legal issues which could affect a family unit may be covered under family law. A family unit may be parents with children, married couples, individuals or couples looking to adopt, people in non-traditional relationships, individuals who have or are expecting a child together, extended family such as grandparents or step-relatives, and more. Family relationships can be varied and complex, and so are family law matters. Family lawyers seek to meet the needs of their clients in a compassionate, capable manner, utilizing all the legal remedies which are available, including mediation, negotiation, and court proceedings when needed.
What Are Some Common Family Law Issues?
Family law covers a wide range of legal matters and a good family law attorney will be up to date in their knowledge of the state’s laws governing marriage, divorce, child custody, and more, so they can provide you with the best legal assistance possible for your unique situation. Some areas where a skilled family law lawyer may be able to help include:
- Assisting individuals in filing for divorce, including divorces involving businesses or other significant assets.
- Drafting agreements and documents for divorce-related legal issues, such as child support, alimony, and child custody issues, and overseeing negotiations on these topics.
- Getting victims of domestic violence safely out of abusive relationships and providing them with ongoing assistance to protect themselves by issuing restraining orders and other protection orders which are available under state law.
- Guiding divorced, separated, or unmarried parents through creating or modifying parenting plans.
- Helping individuals in non-traditional relationships end their domestic partnerships and divide joint property.
- Providing non-divorce options, such as legal separation and mediation, for people experiencing difficulties in their relationship.
- Determining paternity through DNA testing for the purposes of child support or a father’s visitation rights.
- Crafting prenuptial agreements for people planning to marry.
- Providing help navigating the law for individuals and families looking to adopt.
What Should You Look for in a Family Law Attorney?
Family law encompasses many aspects from several branches of law, so a good family law attorney must possess a wide variety of legal skills. Your family law attorney should listen carefully to the details of your case to understand your legal needs, and they should promptly return your phone calls if you have further questions for them. While legal prowess and litigation experience are very important, people skills are also crucial for a family law attorney. Legal issues involving families are deeply personal and can quickly become volatile, so a lawyer must possess the ability to calmly handle emotionally challenging situations in a constructive way to reach an outcome that is beneficial to their client’s needs. Of course, there may be situations where negotiations do not go as planned and litigation becomes necessary. In these instances, your attorney should be prepared to work diligently on your behalf to obtain a fair and just conclusion to your case.
What Is the Process for Hiring an Attorney?
Choosing the right experienced family law attorney to handle your case can have a major impact on the outcome. It is crucial that they are familiar with handling cases similar to yours. Once you have done your research and chosen an attorney that seems like a good fit, you should schedule an initial meeting. The initial meeting allows you to explain your situation to the lawyer, who will then give you their opinion on your case. During this meeting you can ask questions to learn more about your lawyer. There is no obligation for you to hire an attorney, even if you have discussed details of your case with them. All conversations within the attorney-client relationship are confidential and will not be shared with anyone else. If you choose to hire the attorney, they will schedule a subsequent meeting to make a customized plan and will inform you of any actions you need to take.
How Should You Prepare to Meet With Your Attorney?
When you initially meet with your lawyer, you should be prepared to outline your case and provide any documentation that may help them understand the situation. It is helpful to come to the meeting clearly knowing what your legal issue is and the main outcomes you want. It is good to be clear on which aspects of the situation are negotiable for you and which are not. When you first meet with a family law attorney, you should ask some questions to find out more about them, such as:
- How many years have you been practicing family law in Washington?
- What legal experience do you have with cases like mine?
- How do you communicate with clients? What are your typical response times for emails and phone calls?
- What strategies do you employ for a case such as mine?
- What role will I play in the case and what will you need from me (documentation, forms, presence at meetings, etc.)?
- What is your hourly rate and what is your retainer fee?
Can I Afford a Family Law Attorney?
We understand that hiring an attorney can seem expensive, but it may cost less than you think and it is an investment in the future of your entire family Without the help of a skilled attorney, you may find yourself not receiving a proper amount of child support or losing your share of marital assets that you have worked hard for. The non-economic stakes can be even higher. When it comes to child custody cases, it is impossible to place a dollar amount on time with your children or grandchildren. A family lawyer will fight to protect you and your family, so you can continue with your lives. If you are concerned about your ability to pay for an attorney, discuss this at your initial consultation. There may be assistance programs available for legal representation in your area, or the law firm may be willing to work with you on a payment program.
Q: I’m considering a divorce, but we do not have children, should I still consult a lawyer?
A: A lawyer can assist you with navigating any major life changes, including a divorce. They have current knowledge about all the laws governing divorce, the division of marital property, and spousal support. Your spouse may choose to file a response to your divorce petition to request changes and you may need legal assistance and mediation to reach an agreement. It is wise to consult a lawyer to know your rights and responsibilities when filing for a divorce, in order to make the legal process as smooth as possible.
Q: Is a grandparent eligible for visitation rights?
A: In Washington, a grandparent can petition for visitation rights if a breakdown of the nuclear family unit has occurred, such as in cases of divorce, parental separation, death of one or both parents, children being placed into foster care, or other situations. The court will consider several factors when deciding whether grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interests, including the child’s relationship with the grandparent and any reasons why either parent has objected to their visitation.
Q: How is child support determined?
A: In Washington, there is a statewide basic formula which takes into account the number of children, their ages, and the parents’ incomes. This formula gives a base amount for monthly child support which is meant to cover basic, recurring expenses like housing, clothing, and food. Things like health care costs, daycare costs, and extra-curricular activities are calculated separately.
What Practice Areas Does Our Law Firm Serve?
At Pacific Northwest Family Law our skilled family law attorneys can help you with a wide variety of legal issues, including:
- Adoptions: No matter what kind of adoption you are seeking, we can provide help and guidance navigating the many laws governing bringing a child into your family.
- Child Custody: Any legal dispute involving children can be difficult. Our child custody attorneys will help you create a custody plan that serves the best interests of your children.
- Child Support: A child has the right to be supported by both of their parents. We can help calculate the basic monthly amount allowed under state law, and figure out if any amounts above this are required for health care, daycare, or other specific expenses.
- Divorce: A dissolution of a relationship can be challenging, both emotionally and financially. We can walk you through the legal process and negotiate your divorce agreement.
- Domestic Violence: No one should have to live in fear of their partner or family. Our attorneys can connect you with resources for victims of domestic violence, help you secure your finances, and set up orders of protection so you can get out of your toxic situation.
- Fathers’ Rights: A father deserves to be part of their child’s life. Our law firm can help you in custody, visitation, and other family law matters.
- Grandparents’ Rights: We can assist you to petition the courts for your visitation rights or help you gain custody of your grandchildren if their parents have been deemed unfit.
- Modifications: As your life changes and your children grow, your custody, parenting time, and child support needs may change. We have experience mediating these modifications and petitioning the courts for updates when necessary.
- Paternity: If you need to prove paternity for child support or father’s visitation rights, we can guide you through the process.
Why Is Hiring a Family Lawyer Important?
Most people do not have the wide range of legal knowledge necessary to navigate family law issues alone. There are state specific laws, documentation which must be properly filled out, timelines to meet, and you may be required to argue your case in court. Family law attorneys can handle these issues on your behalf, so you can focus on your family during this difficult time.
What Can a Family Law Firm Do for You?
Our lawyers at Pacific Northwest Family Law have the experience, knowledge, and mediation skills necessary to help you reach a positive outcome in your family law case. We know every case is unique, so we work closely with you to fully understand your situation and needs, so we can provide you with aggressive legal representation.
Why Choose Us?
Pacific Northwest Family Law is committed to protecting our clients’ best interests. We want to take the stress out of navigating the complex legal system, so you can focus on moving forward with your life. If you need legal assistance with any family law issue, contact us today at (360) 926-9112 to schedule a case evaluation. Our offices in Spokane, WA are located a 3 minute drive from Riverfront Park, 4 minutes from Edwidge Woldson Park, and 7 miles from Spokane International Airport (GEG).