Family Law/Divorce

Non-Traditional Approaches to Family Law

While the attorneys at Yakima Law are both trial tested litigators, they recognize that most cases do not require the extensive costs of heated litigation. Many people today just want to start the next chapter of their lives without the drama, spectacle, and cost of trying to ‘destroy’ the other person. With that in mind, we offer flat fee representation for parties already know what they want their divorce to look like, they just need help creating the legal documents to achieve it. 

How we can help:

Dissolution / Divorce

A divorce is one of the hardest issues you can face in life. Separating one family into two separate homes is stressful on the parties and highly disruptive to any children. Our goal is to help guide you through the law in Washington to make this process less daunting and confusing.

No two families are alike, and so every parenting plan requires tailoring to your family’s needs. Everyone with a child needs a well thought out parenting plan. A parenting plan creates a schedule to cut down on the uncertainty of who will have the child and when. It also creates important requirements regarding when a parent can relocate with the child. Once a parenting plan is entered, it can only be modified by agreement or a substantial change in circumstances, so it’s important to get it right. The court is tasked with considering factors like the relative strength, nature and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent as well as what will be least disruptive to the current status quo. Proving this takes careful drafting and a keen eye to present the best evidence to prove your case. We can help establish fathers as the parent of their child as well as craft a parenting plan that can set up meaningful time for both parents. There is never a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter form that can encapsulate all the things that make your child and family unique. So our legal teams take the time to get to know you and how best to address your issues.

In Washington State, from the time you say “I do” until the time you say “I don’t” a couple is creating a community estate of assets and debts that will need to be divided. We can help properly establish and separate what is community property from separate property, then to make sure it’s proper value is distributed equitably.

Washington’s statutes outline the critera for setting maintenance in order to assist spouses who need to get back on their feet. Sadly there are no set formulas for how to calculate it. This is why it’s so important to have a knowledgable attorney to help argue the factors in your favor.

In Yakima and Kittitas counties, parties can often feel like their case is going no where because trials are not automatically set. While trials are usually unnecessary, having a ‘goal line’ can help focus parties on coming to a final agreement. We can help by setting settlement conferences and ultimately a trial to set an end when you know your case will be done.

Child support is a right of the child and the Court is keenly aware of its duty to make sure that a child is provided for. The Court sets child support based on an economic table after assessing the combined net income of the parties. We can help gather and present evidence to demonstrate your true income, as well as arguing any deviation for supporting other children, excessive debts, or where parties have close to a 50-50 schedule.

We will prepare all the documents to your specifications and get you through the process delay or unnecessary litigation. We offer a $2,000 flat fee dissolution for those without children and $3,000 for those who also need a parenting plan and child support order. We also can help through the collaborative process and mediation where the parties sit down with a neutral third party to discuss their situtation and work together to find solutions that work for them.

Perfect for those cases that don’t fit neatly into uncontested divorce or collaborative divorce. Washington State requires all cases that don’t involve domestic violence to try and settle their matter through mediation. Mediation is a non-binding dispute resolution process where a neutral mediator will work with both sides to talk through their issues, try to find solutions to them, and even sometimes providing a sounding board for your legal claims. As this is a voluntary, confidential process, it is designed to allow parties to talk through their issues to find a resolution.

Connect with us today so we can help you make this transition as smooth as possible.

Collaborative Divorce:

Everyone has heard horror stories of spouses fighting savagely over every penny or every second of visitation, leaving their families smoldering and themselves burried in legal fees with little to show for it. Collaborative law is a relatively new process in family law, Washington State adopted the Uniform Collaborative Law Act in 2013.

The collaborative process takes the fighting out of the equation and lets the parties work together to author the next chapter of their lives. Each party has an attorney to guide you through the process with both attorneys agreeing they will not litigate the matter. That way both sides can negotiate in a confidential environment without the fear that the other sides will run down to the courthouse. You can think of collaborative law as mediation without a mediator.

It is a voluntary process that allows families to color outside the lines of the law and create a solution that fits their family.

Only a consultation can truly answer this question. But generally, any case (not just divorces) where the parties can communicate reasonably well and there is trust that both sides are committed to working together to solve their matter can benefit from the collaborative process.

The parties sit down together with their attorneys and come up with the goals that they hope to accomplish, like “making sure our child goes to college” or “make sure both parties are ready for retirement”. With these goals in mind, we can then discuss how to create a resolution that is focused on achieving these goals!

There are some types of cases that are not appropriate for collaborative resolution:

  • When Domestic Violence is involved.
  • When parties have acted in a way that destroys the trust that they will work fairly through the process (ie. hiding funds or other assets).

Collaborative attorneys help facilitate a settlement of your case. A trained attorney knows how to deescalate tentions and keep. Both sides have an attorney so each side knows that they are sharing equally in the decision making process. The attorneys make sure that everything is resolved and the required legal documents are properly prepared. The attorneys can also help connect people with financial experts, counselors, and coaches who can assist everyone to make sure they are coming to a fair resolution that works for both sides.

You can get more information from Collaborative Professionals of Washington which is a non-profit association of independent professionals in the field of law, mental health, and finance. King County Collaborative Law also has a great deal of good information regarding the process.

Connect with Yakima Law today to discuss how we can help you through the collaborative process.

Other Domestic Relations Matters:

Sometimes people take on a role greater than they were born to. Whether its a step-parent who fills the shoes of someone who walked out on their family or a grandparent who has saved their child from an unhealthy environment, we can help make sure that your family is protected legally. The process for adoption and non-parental custody are tricky, even for attorneys, so it’s important to make sure your representation has experience in this area. Yakima Law has been handling family law matters for years helping clients achieve stability and recognize their role in a child’s life.

When the State steps in to take a child away from their parents it can be heart breaking process where you feel marginalized without a voice. After the initial Shelter-Care hearing, the process is long but we can help make sure the Department offers you the services they are required to and for your voice to be heard in court so that no one loses track of the ultimate goal: returning the child to their parents. We can provide zealous representation to make sure that you are not just another statistic of the system.

Sadly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced domestic violence in some form by an intimate partner as reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. With years of experience Yakima Law knows the toll that DV can take on everyone in the family, the fear of not being able to speak out or escape. We also know how best to address these issues, obtain protection orders, and structure parenting plans to make sure we break the cycle of violence. We will stand with you throughout the entire process to make sure your voice is heard.