About Our Firm

Christopher Lyons

Christopher Lyons received a B.A. with departmental honors, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, at the University of California, San Diego. He received his J.D. at Seattle University Law School.

Mr. Lyons has litigated in Superior courts in Washington State as well as the Washington State Court of Appeals, Federal District Court. He has also served as a pro tem judge and court commissioner.

Mr. Lyons is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs and an attorney claimant representative to handle veterans’ disability compensation claims.

He is a member of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association and the National Organization of Veterans Advocates. He is also a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives. He has done work for the Veterans Pro Bono Consortium.

Deborah Truitt

A native of Washington D.C., Deborah Truitt received a B.A. with general and departmental honors, Phi Kappa Phi, at the University of Maryland, College Park. She relocated as a single mother to attend law school in Washington State in 1993, and received her J.D. at Seattle University Law School in 1996.

She was selected by Supreme Court Justice Charles Johnson to receive a CALI Award in State Constitutional Law as a result of her work in his seminar.

Ms. Truitt has extensive experience in the areas of family law, personal injury, criminal law and juvenile law. She has served as a guardian ad litem in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Jefferson counties for children in custody, dependency and injury cases.

Ms. Truitt was on the founding board of the Volunteer Lawyers Program of Island County. She is also a court approved mediator for Island County.

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Relevant Articles

By Truitt and Lyons, Attorneys 03 Dec, 2017

Washington is a community property state. This means that the husband and wife generally own as a couple all property and funds acquired during the marriage. This means that everything is divided in half in a divorce, right? Not necessarily. The court does not need to split everything in half, but rather is supposed to divide the property and liabilities “as shall appear just and equitable” after considering various factors, which include the duration of the marriage and the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property becomes effective. In addition, the nature and extent of both community and separate property is to be considered. The courts in this state have indicated that a “just and equitable” property division is not necessarily an equal property division.

If you would like to talk to us about property division issues or some other legal matter, please contact our office at 360-675-9310.

By Truitt and Lyons, Attorneys 29 Oct, 2017

What is an “acknowledgement of paternity” form?

In Washington State, state law provides that, “upon the birth of a child to an unmarried woman, the attending physician, midwife, or his or her agent shall…provide an opportunity for the child’s mother and natural father to complete an acknowledgement of paternity.” This is a specific form (sometimes called a “paternity affidavit”) prescribed by the state registrar of vital statistics that must be signed by both the mother and the father under penalty of perjury. If this document has been executed, then a certificate of birth will be issued including the father’s name and date of birth. If no alleged father is named on a birth certificate of a child born to an unwed mother, then the phrase “None Named” will be placed on the birth certificate in the father’s category. What is the significance of an affidavit of paternity? A valid acknowledgment of paternity filed with the state registrar of vital statistics is equivalent to an adjudication of parentage of a child and confers upon the acknowledged father all of the rights and duties of a parent. What happens if an unwed mother or father does not sign an acknowledgement of paternity? Paternity can be established by a court case (a “paternity” case, also known as a “parentage” case) brought by either the mother or the father.  Such a case may or may not require genetic testing.

If you would like to discuss a paternity / parentage case or other family law matter, please contact our office.

By Truitt and Lyons, Attorneys 12 Sep, 2017

In Washington State, a domestic relations case (such as a petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation) is commenced by either filing or serving a summons and petition. The summons and petition must be served on the other party by someone other than a party to the case who is qualified to do so. If they are not performing the service for a fee, they only need to be over the age of eighteen and competent to sign a sworn declaration of service. If the petitioner has not yet filed the case, the respondent can serve a written demand that the filing fee be paid to the clerk and the case filed within 14 days of the demand. Normally, the case will already be filed when served or shortly thereafter. Washington State uses official forms that have been approved by the court system for domestic relations matters. If the Respondent is personally served in the State of Washington, they have 20 days to respond. This means they need to file a response to the petition on the proper form with the clerk of the court handling the case. If the respondent is served out of state, different rules apply to the manner of service and the number of days to respond.

If you would like to speak with us about commencing or finishing a family law matter, please call us at 360-675-9310.

By Truitt and Lyons, Attorneys 06 Sep, 2017

What is a guardian ad litem (GAL) in a child custody or visitation matter? In Washington, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of a minor child when the court believes the appointment is necessary to protect the best interest of the child. The guardian ad litem does not represent the interests of either parent and instead acts as the “eyes and ears” of the court in order to report information to the court. A GAL is often appointed when there are contested positions or facts to be investigated. The guardian ad litem’s opinions are not binding on the Court. Counties in Washington State have registries for approved guardians ad litem. Some guardians ad litem are mental health professionals and others may be attorneys or other qualified people who have been trained. It may be advantageous to a party to have a guardian ad litem appointed in their case to bring things to light that may support their position.

If you would like to speak with our office about a custody or visitation matter, call us at 360-675-9310.

By Truitt and Lyons, Attorneys 31 Aug, 2017

In Washington State, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage may be filed in the Superior Court of the county where the petitioner resides. Prior to filing, there are no requirements such as length of residence in Washington State or the county. “Residence” is defined as meaning “domicile.” This means that one has to be physically present with the intent to make it your home. However, if all parties agree, the case can be filed in any county.

If you would like to discuss this kind of case or another legal matter with us, please give us a call.


By Truitt and Lyons, Attorneys 15 Aug, 2017

A stepparent adoption is the most common type of adoption. Obviously, there are many reasons why a step-parent may want to adopt a child. In a stepparent adoption, the stepparent essentially steps into the legal shoes of the biological mother or father and becomes fully responsible for his or her spouse’s child. After the adoption is completed, the relinquishing parent no longer has any rights or responsibilities for the child, including visitation or future child support payments. In Washington State, past-due child support is not extinguished by an adoption.

Adoptions are governed by state law. In addition, in Washington State, the practice varies somewhat from county to county. The procedure is easiest when the natural parent is willing to voluntarily consent to the adoption. A post-placement report must be procured by the petitioning step-parent. The post-placement report is a basic study to ensure that the adoption is in the child’s best interest. The placement report provider must be approved by the court. If the natural parent does not consent to adoption, it is still possible to proceed with the adoption depending on the circumstances.

If you would like to discuss a possible adoption case or another legal matter with us, please call us at 360-675-9310.

By Richard 10 Mar, 2017
Many people think or hope that, due to the fact they have waited so long to get a hearing in front of a judge, they are finally going to be granted benefits after the hearing.    However, a significant number of cases are denied after a hearing.    Even very good and well-documented cases may not initially succeed at the hearing level.    Your case may be assigned to a judge who simply grants relatively few claims.    Or, the judge (who does not know you personally) may decide that you are not credible for any variety of reasons.    Opinions from psychologists or doctors that support your claim may be rejected.    However, this does not mean these bases for rejecting your claim cannot be reversed on appeal.    Fortunately, the hearing in front of an administrative law judge is not the end of the line.    If you do not win your hearing, you may appeal to the Appeals Council.    If you do not succeed there, you can file a case in Federal District Court in the district you live in.   

The Social Security Administration recognizes that judges make mistakes and thus has created all of these layers of appeal.    It is essential to have a lawyer involved due to the complexities of appeals.    The Appeals Council and Federal District Court appeals involve writing legal briefs that challenge the administrative law judge’s decision.    The key to success in most cases is to keep appealing adverse decisions until benefits are granted.   
If you find this post helpful and you would like to discuss your Social Security Disability case at no charge, please contact our office.
By Richard 10 Mar, 2017
What is “no fault” divorce?    “No fault divorce” means that people can file for divorce without having to show wrongdoing by the other party (such as adultery, desertion, cruelty, etc.).    California was the first state to institute “no fault” divorce laws in 1970.    Washington State adopted “no fault” divorce legislation in 1973.    Presently, all states have adopted “no fault” divorce laws.    Only some states still retain the option of “fault divorce.”    The bottom line is the Washington State is a strictly “no fault” state.    Some people are not aware of this, either because of their experience in another state, family history of divorce a long time ago, etc.    Some people can be disappointed in the no-fault divorce process because they feel that they were wronged by the other party and want their mistreatment to be aired in a legal forum.    However, in a “no fault” divorce system, the intent is to avoid mixing morality with law.    Instead, the focus is on dissolving the marriage at the request of the petitioner.   

The Court will have the task of splitting property equitably, awarding maintenance and child support if necessary, deciding on a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the children, etc.    Although alleged misdeeds of either spouse may be raised in court documents, they are usually not relevant to the ultimate outcome, with a few exceptions.    Obviously, certain behaviors may be relevant in a custody battle or to prove that a party has genuinely wasted assets. 

If you would like to speak with an attorney at our office about a divorce or other family law matter, please contact us.
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