Relevant Articles

Relevant Articles

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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