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Category: Family Law

What Factors Should I Consider When Hiring Attorneys in Portland?

How do you find the right attorney when you need legal advice or representation? Your first step might be to ask family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers for recommendations. First-hand experience with a law firm or attorney can provide valuable information about how they approach cases, treat clients, communicate, and more. 

You might also do a quick internet search to see what attorneys are in your area. It’s important to find a local law firm for a few reasons. Since laws vary from state to state and in different jurisdictions, a local firm will be the most familiar with the laws and local court system that might affect your case. Secondly, depending on the type and complexity of your case, you might need to consult with their team more than once, which will be easier with a local attorney. 

If you’re looking for attorneys in Portland, Oregon, for instance, the expert team at Warren Allen, LLP, has a wealth of experience representing clients across Washington and Oregon in a range of legal areas. Specialties include personal injury, family law, landlords’ rights, condominiums, estate planning and probate, and wildfire recovery.

Besides location, though, there are several other factors to consider when hiring attorneys in Portland or any other city. The following guide outlines some things to think about in your search.

Area of Expertise

First and foremost, you want an attorney familiar with your type of case. When attorneys specialize in a particular area of law, they are better equipped to provide sound legal advice and represent you in court should that become necessary. Familiarity with your type of case ensures the attorney can:

  • Develop effective legal strategies. They stay updated on changes in the related laws and are familiar with relevant case precedents and rulings, so they know what approach works best, what type of evidence is needed, etc.
  • Capitalize on established relationships. They will likely have established relationships with judges, other attorneys, and experts in the area who can help with your case. For example, in personal injury cases, you need an expert to establish negligence, gather evidence, and assess damages.
  • Work efficiently and confidently. Because these attorneys have already spent a lot of time working with similar cases, they won’t need extra research time, which will be more cost-effective for you. Knowing what paperwork is needed and which steps you need to take can also significantly reduce the risk of missing important deadlines or leaving out pertinent information.

Level of Experience and Reputation

Of course, you would like an experienced attorney with a high success rate, but how can you check? The first step is to contact your state’s bar association or use their online search function to verify the attorney’s credentials. Their online entry should also indicate whether they have faced any disciplinary actions or if there have been complaints filed against them. State bar associations should also have information about the attorney’s track record of cases.

You can also ask the attorney for references or case studies from some of their previous clients. These references can help you gauge client satisfaction and success rate. Read any reviews or testimonials you can find online. Do they have a good reputation?

Professionalism

Another important factor to consider is the level of professionalism of the attorney and the law firm. You want to feel confident that you and your case are in capable hands. When a law office, the attorney, or their team is disorganized, chaotic, or perpetually late, they will likely handle your case the same way. 

Communication

Maintaining professionalism in communication covers a few different areas. When you call or email, do they answer quickly, or do you have to follow up on communication attempts to get a response? Do they listen to you and answer your questions, or are they dismissive? Are they clear in their communication, or do they use many legal terms you might need help understanding? Do they seem genuinely interested in your welfare and your case?

Another thing that communication might clarify is whether or not the attorney has the time and resources to dedicate to your case and focus on your needs. Even if their communication is professional, delays in responses indicate that your attorney is very busy with a heavy workload and may be unable to give your case the necessary attention for success.

Presentation

If your attorney might eventually represent you in court, you want them to have a professional appearance and presentation, which will inspire confidence. You can begin to gauge their level of professionalism by looking at their website and office. Do they have typos on their website? Is the office messy or dirty? Are they dressed appropriately for a business atmosphere? 

Although these issues might be minor, they can give you a better sense overall of how seriously the attorney takes their job and, in turn, how much effort they will put toward your case.

Fee Structure

Some attorneys charge by the hour. Others work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you are only required to pay them if you win the case. Some charge flat fees for specific services. Discuss fees upfront and make sure you have a clear understanding of the billing structure. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any law firm that: 

  • Makes you feel uncomfortable asking questions about the fee structure
  • Cannot provide you with specific information about fees and costs
  • Guarantees you will win your case or will receive a certain amount of financial compensation

Compatibility

Even for a relatively simple case, you will work closely with your attorney and need to trust them. Feeling compatible and comfortable with your attorney is especially important if your case is sensitive (as in many family law or personal injury cases) or complicated. Trust your gut. Considering the above tips, you are in the best position to know whether the attorney you’re consulting with is the right fit for you.

Many reputable law firms offer free initial consultations for potential clients. These consultations are both to make sure you have a strong case and also to allow you to get a feel for the attorney. Take advantage of this service to ask questions and assess your comfort level.

Experienced Attorneys in Portland

Finding the right attorney might take some time. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple candidates before making a final decision. Ultimately, it’s worth the effort to make sure you have the right team on your side. If you are looking for experienced, professional, caring attorneys in Portland and the Pacific Northwest, contact the team at Warren Allen LLP. We would love to discuss your case with you.

Alimony, Child Support, and More: Family Law Terms Explained

As the name suggests, family law deals with familial relationships and related legal issues that may arise, such as annulment and divorce, child custody, adoption, guardianship, paternity, and more. Because these issues involve family members, there is often a lot of emotion involved, and cases can be complicated and sensitive. 

Seeking out an attorney familiar with the area of family law can be helpful as you navigate the family court system. Many law firms have attorneys who specialize in family law who can provide sound advice and legal representation when you need it. 

If you are looking for a family law attorney in Portland, OR, for instance, the law firm of Warren Allen LLP has experienced attorneys who have handled many cases involving prenuptial agreements, separations, divorces, establishing paternity, settling child custody issues, and other related issues. 

To better understand the issues covered by family law, the following guide provides brief definitions and descriptions of some of the most common family law terms.

Legal Issues Related to Marriage

At its best, marriage is a lifetime partnership between two people who love and support each other. It is also a legal contract with shared rights and responsibilities. Below are some legal issues relating to marriage or the dissolution of one:

Prenuptial Agreement

Sometimes referred to as a “prenup,” a prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that a couple agrees to before marriage. Prenuptial agreements usually outline the couple’s wishes for the distribution of assets, debts, and alimony or spousal support should the marriage end in divorce, separation, or the death of one of the spouses.

Annulment

Although most people think about divorce (see below) as the only way to legally end a marriage, under certain circumstances, a court may grant an annulment. An annulment is a legal declaration that a marriage contract is void, meaning the marriage never existed legally. Grounds for an annulment are situations that would challenge the validity of the marriage (e.g., fraud, bigamy, lack of mental capacity, legal age issues, undue influence, impotence, and more.).

Separation

Some married couples choose to live apart but remain legally married for financial, religious, or other reasons. This type of arrangement is known as legal separation. While separation sometimes ends in divorce, that is not always the case. In most cases, couples sign a separation agreement that formally outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse, especially if there are child custody (see below) or visitation issues.

Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, some family relationships involve abuse or violence within a domestic setting. Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse but also encompasses emotional and psychological abuse. Partners who are dating, spouses, children, and elders can all experience domestic violence and might require legal intervention such as getting a protective order or pursuing criminal charges.

Divorce 

When a couple chooses to terminate their marriage contract legally, it is known as divorce. Divorce legally dissolves the marital relationship, and the involved parties must agree on several issues, such as the division of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, and child custody. 

Mediation

Although many divorces are amicable, if a couple has difficulty reaching a mutually acceptable agreement, involving a neutral third party known as a mediator can be helpful. The mediator can facilitate communication and can negotiate solutions to resolve disputes. Mediation can be especially beneficial in contentious or complicated divorces.

Alimony or Spousal Support

When one spouse earns less than the other, the higher-earning spouse may be required to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse to help them maintain their standard of living after a divorce. This financial assistance, known as alimony or spousal support, may be permanent or just until the lower-earning spouse can support themselves financially.

Legal Issues Related to Children

When children are involved in family law cases, the child’s best interests should always be considered. The following legal issues might arise in cases of separation or divorce (see above) for spouses who share children:

Child Custody

In the eyes of the law, child custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of each parent to care for their child. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with, and courts grant either joint or sole physical custody. If one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent usually has visitation rights. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make important decisions about the child’s healthcare, education, religious upbringing, and more. Joint legal custody requires both parents to be involved in the decision-making.

Child Support 

As with spousal support (see above), child support is the legal obligation of one party to contribute financially to the needs of another. In this case, one parent makes court-ordered payments to cover costs related to basic needs like housing, food, education, healthcare, clothes, school supplies, etc.

Guardianship

Sometimes, a court may grant legal authority to someone to care for another person (often a minor) who cannot care for themselves. Known as a guardian, the individual then bears the legal responsibility to make decisions on that person’s behalf and provide them with care.

Guardianship is sometimes necessary to help aging parents or adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. When it comes to children specifically, guardianship of a minor might be granted to someone if the minor’s parents have abandoned them or died or when the minor’s parents are not capable of providing adequate care. 

Family Law Attorneys in Portland

The descriptions above provide a general overview of common family law terms. Laws can vary by state and jurisdiction, so getting legal advice from a local attorney well-versed in your area’s family court system is essential. If you’re looking for a family law attorney in Portland, OR, or the surrounding areas of the Pacific Northwest, Warren Allen LLP offers top-quality legal services to clients in Portland, Southwest Washington, and all across Oregon and Washington. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Navigating Legalities of Child Custody in Family Law

Protecting the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of a child is the most important part of establishing child custody. For Pacific Northwest family law, several complex factors can contribute to the custody decision. Our experienced attorneys at Warren Allen can help navigate the legal requirements for a child custody agreement. 

Below is a helpful guide on the types of child custody arrangements, the factors that affect custody decisions, and how an attorney can help you determine the right action plan.

Types of Child Custody

There are two types of custody arrangements established in Oregon law. The first is called joint custody, which can be a confusing term. Joint custody simply means that both parents share equal responsibility for the decisions made for a child, even when the child lives primarily with one parent. 

Joint custody might look like a child lives with one parent during the school year and the other during summer. It might also mean that a child lives with a parent one week and the other during the opposite week. Some agreements might have the child with one parent during the week, and the other on weekends and holidays. For the courts to grant a joint custody arrangement, both parties need to agree on the arrangement’s terms. 

The second is called sole custody. This means that one parent will be the designated primary parent and make all the decisions regarding the care of the child. Sole custody can happen when parents don’t agree to a joint custody plan or the court determines it is better for a child to remain with one parent. 

Both parents will almost always have the right to access the child’s school, medical, dental, police, and counseling records and authorize emergency medical care if necessary. However, certain factors affect the court’s decision on what type of child custody is awarded and if there are any restrictions on the parents.

Factors that Affect Child Custody 

The primary factor that affects most child custody scenarios is the parents themselves. If parents are already agreeable to an arrangement, this eases the process immensely. If that is not an option, the court will consider several factors to develop a custody agreement. 

The judge will use the information presented to determine what is in the best interest of the child. They will consider things like who the primary caregiver has been. If the child needs physical and mental accommodations, that is another consideration. The court will also consider the child’s preference of which parent they want to live with. The strength of family relationships with other family members is also another consideration. 

The fitness of each parent and their ability to offer a safe and stable home is considered. Whether or not each parent has taken an interest in the child or children, their attitude towards the child and maintaining a relationship is another factor. Whether each parent is encouraging and facilitating a close relationship with the other parent can affect the outcome of a custody agreement.

The court will also consider if there has been abuse by the parent to either the child or the other parent. The court also considers any evidence of a history of substance abuse, crime, or violence. The court will also look at a parent’s lifestyle, marital status, income, or social environment and consider if adequate child care is in place when the parent is at work. 

If any of these is determined to be harmful to the child, they can be factors in determining custody. The court may order supervised visits and potentially give sole custody to one of the parents if it feels it’s in the child’s best interest. 

How An Attorney Can Find the Right Plan

It’s essential to have a Pacific Northwest family law attorney to help you navigate the legal complexities the court requires while coming up with a plan that works for you and your child. Even if both parties agree, it’s important to have an experienced attorney look for potential issues that may come up. When the parties don’t agree, you’ll need an attorney to ensure your rights and your child’s rights aren’t violated. 

The courts require a parenting plan to be a part of the process for determining child custody. The parenting plan helps parents determine the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child or children. It will also outline the time each parent will spend with their child, known as “parenting time.” 

Parenting time is also used to determine any child support. The plan outlines who makes decisions, the weekly schedule, vacation and holiday schedules, how parents will exchange their children from one home to the other, and will clearly delineate other decisions and obligations both parents agree to. 

Having an attorney oversee this process can help ensure you’re not missing vital information the court will require or mistakingly agreeing to something you didn’t have to agree to. 

Unfortunately, there are too many instances where this situation is tense and strenuous. Having an attorney will help you know your rights, file for temporary parenting plans if necessary, and help ensure that you are not breaking any laws. If the situation is unsafe for you or your child, knowing what protections are available to you and how to access them is important. A good family law attorney is there to help you gather the information that the court will need, navigate these difficult situations, and develop the right action plan. Navigating a child custody agreement can be one of the most challenging and emotional times for parents and children. Our experienced family law attorneys at Warren Allen are here to help and guide you with our extensive knowledge and solid experience. Schedule a consultation with us today to help you navigate the best outcome for you and your child.

Property Division Under Oregon Divorce Laws: What to Expect

Going through a separation and divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can have. Financial security, distribution of assets, and even alimony and child support considerations can be huge stressors, along with the emotional toll that divorce causes. There are many aspects to Oregon divorce laws, and reliable, knowledgeable, and skilled divorce attorneys are necessary to help navigate them.

Our experts here at Warren Allen LLP field many questions about property division and how it works. While there is no way to determine what judicial order might encompass, there are ways to gather and provide as much information as possible to help your divorce be less stressful. Here is a short guide on property division under Oregon divorce laws and what to expect:

Equitable Distribution

Oregon is considered an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means the court will consider several factors in dividing up marital assets and what they believe to be marital assets to divide them up equitably. In some ways, this is an attempt to have a fairer distribution versus community property, where everything is divided 50/50.

The types of property that the court considers are real property and personal property. Real property is any land, buildings, homes, and condominiums. Mobile homes on rented land are not regarded as real property.

Personal property can include cars, jewelry, furniture, pension plans, retirement accounts, bank accounts, investment accounts, airline miles, cash on hand, and businesses. Any art collections, valuable collections, even life insurance policies, expected inheritances, and annuities are to be documented in what is submitted to the court.

Types of Documentation Needed

This is where part of the nuances of equitable distribution comes into play. While it may seem like Oregon divorce laws are attempting to be more fair in the distribution, proper documentation and evaluation are needed in order to do that. Providing the correct documentation of assets and liabilities is critical.

Real property requires an appraisal. Any businesses will also need an appraisal. Some personal property like vehicles, jewels, art, and collections will also need some form of assessment. Also crucial for documentation is the dates when either party in the marriage acquired these items. In some instances, assets and liabilities may not be subject to splitting under equitable distribution.

All mortgages, loans, credit cards, pending college tuition payments, student loan debts, and even pending lawsuits should be documented in what is given to the court. Even outstanding debt on businesses, tax debt, and future tax debt need to be considered.

While the court does not require documentation other than what they request, if there is a dispute on any of the value of any items, it’s better to have documentation available to support it. Consider gathering deeds, titles, bank and credit card statements, and other relevant information. If there were a prenuptial agreement, a copy would most assuredly be relevant in this case.

Filings to Submit to the Court

The court requires a submission of all of the assets, real and personal properties in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities form. This is where things get very specific, and distinctions are to be made. The courts want respondents to file this jointly and come to a decision on how and what is divided, but sometimes, that is not possible. If that is the case, each party needs to file this statement.

Regarding retirement accounts, the courts require filing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This is a complex document with the specific language needed by the financial and pension institutions in order to distribute. Incorrectly filing this out will be costly regarding time and money and is critical to the next step in the divorce process. The QDRO will instruct the retirement account holders on how these accounts will be split up and enable them to create two separate accounts based on that information.

Considerations Under Equitable Distribution

Most people don’t realize that these filings are to be agreed upon before submitting, if possible. Distributions must not be equal to be considered fair and equitable. This is where documentation and evaluation come into play.

Consider assets acquired before the marriage, like a house. Factors like how long the marriage lasted, how much the other spouse contributed to maintaining or renovating, and if they contributed towards the mortgage all become relevant to the distribution of this asset. If the house increases in value during the marriage, it can also affect how this asset is considered under distribution.

The same goes for debt. If a spouse had secretly run up credit cards for a gambling addiction and the other spouse was unaware, this might be considered differently. Still, if a spouse gets into debt after the separation, that might also be factored in. If there is business debt and even future expenses like tuition are all factors that weigh into equitable distribution.

There are a lot of factors that the courts consider when doing property division, and it can be complex. The court will look at many factors, including the age and health of the spouses, how much financial contributions each spouse made, and the earning power of each spouse. Child support, alimony, and current lifestyle are all considerations. The court considers non-financial contributions to the marriage, like a spouse made into the marriage for the other spouse to be successful in their career.

Property and asset division will usually come up in any divorce. While parties are expected to come up with an agreement, sometimes that isn’t possible without professional help. You can find expert advice from our team at the Warren Allen LLP website. Our experience has helped Portland area residents for decades, and you can count on our excellence in helping you navigate this difficult time in your life.

What Does Pacific Northwest Family Law Include?

Family law encompasses a complex web of legal issues that can arise within familial relationships. It is a crucial branch of law that provides a framework for resolving conflicts and establishing rights and responsibilities among family members.

In the Pacific Northwest, which includes states like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, family law addresses various matters affecting individuals and families. This article delves into the realm of Pacific Northwest family law, highlighting the key legal services that fall under its purview.

Pacific Northwest Family Law

Family law in the Pacific Northwest is a multifaceted area of legal practice that revolves around domestic relationships, marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, and more. Its primary focus is safeguarding individuals’ well-being and rights within the context of family dynamics.

Marriage and Divorce

One of the cornerstone aspects of family law involves marriage and divorce. Attorneys specializing in Pacific Northwest family law assist couples in navigating the legal intricacies of marriage, including prenuptial agreements, property division, and spousal support. When marriages break down, family law attorneys guide individuals through the divorce process, helping them reach equitable settlements while addressing matters such as child custody, visitation, and child support. These cases involve the dissolution of a marital union, dividing assets and liabilities, establishing child custody arrangements, and determining alimony or spousal support.

In the Pacific Northwest, divorces are subject to specific state laws that outline the procedures and requirements for ending a marriage. Attorneys specializing in family law in this region help clients navigate the often emotional and intricate divorce process while ensuring their rights and interests are protected.

Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and legally complex, forming a significant portion of Pacific Northwest family law cases. Whether arising from divorce, separation, or disputes between unmarried parents, these cases center on determining the child’s best interests. Family law attorneys work tirelessly to secure custody arrangements that promote the child’s welfare, advocating for joint or sole custody based on the circumstances.

They also aid in establishing child support orders to ensure financial stability for the child’s upbringing. Visitation arrangements, or parenting plans, are essential components of child custody cases. These arrangements outline when and how non-custodial parents can spend time with their children. Family law professionals work closely with clients to develop custody and visitation arrangements that prioritize the child’s best interests while considering the family’s unique circumstances.

Child and Spousal Support

Child support and spousal support (often referred to as alimony) are financial obligations that may arise after a divorce or separation. Pacific Northwest family law establishes guidelines for calculating these payments, ensuring that they are fair and in line with the financial needs of the recipients and the means of the payers. These calculations take into account factors such as income, employment status, and the needs of the dependents.

Attorneys specializing in family law will assist clients in negotiating and enforcing support orders, guaranteeing that financial responsibilities are met.

Adoption and Guardianship

Adoption and guardianship proceedings are another significant facet of Pacific Northwest family law. Prospective parents looking to adopt must navigate a legal process that varies depending on the adoption type, whether agency-based, private, international, or step-parent adoption. Family law attorneys help clients understand the requirements, rights, and responsibilities of adopting a child, ensuring the process is completed smoothly and ethically.

Guardianship cases involve individuals who take legal responsibility for minors who are not their biological children. These cases often arise when parents are unable to care for their children due to various reasons, and family law professionals aid in establishing legal guardianship arrangements that protect the child’s well-being.

Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

Protection against domestic violence is a critical aspect of Pacific Northwest family law. Attorneys specializing in this area work with victims to safeguard their physical and emotional well-being. Victims of domestic violence can seek protection through restraining orders or protection orders that legally prevent their abusers from contacting or approaching them.

These orders can include provisions related to child custody and visitation and can provide essential relief and a sense of security for individuals facing abusive situations. Family law attorneys assist victims in obtaining the necessary legal protection and help them navigate the legal system to ensure their safety.

Property Division and Alimony

In cases of divorce or separation, the division of marital property and the determination of alimony (spousal support) are integral components of Pacific Northwest family law. Attorneys guide their clients through the equitable distribution of assets, ensuring that both parties’ financial rights are upheld.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods play a vital role in Pacific Northwest family law cases. These processes offer an opportunity for parties to negotiate and settle disputes outside of court, reducing stress, time, and costs. Family law attorneys skilled in mediation facilitate productive conversations between parties, aiming to reach mutually agreeable resolutions in matters such as child custody, support, and property division.

Paternity and Parentage

Establishing paternity or parentage is another essential aspect of Pacific Northwest family law. Attorneys assist clients in cases where the biological parentage of a child is in question, helping determine parental rights and responsibilities, including child custody and support obligations.

Pacific Northwest family law encompasses a wide array of legal services aimed at preserving the welfare and rights of individuals within familial relationships. Whether dealing with marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, domestic violence, property division, or other matters, family law attorneys in the region play a crucial role in guiding their clients through complex legal processes. With an emphasis on mediation, alternative dispute resolution, and the child’s best interests, Warren Allen LLP offers Pacific Northwest family law that strives to create a framework that ensures fairness and stability for families during times of harmony and discord.

How Do I Get Compensation for a Dog Bite

You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has sustained injuries from a dog bite. Though an animal attack can be a traumatic experience, having people supporting you through the process can ease unnecessary stress. Working with an experienced dog bite lawyer means they can take the lead so you can focus on healing.

It also ensures you follow all the necessary steps in a timely manner, so you don’t lose out on the compensation you may be owed. Read on to learn what these steps are so you can get your medical bills covered, along with other losses:

Seek Medical Treatment

After a dog attack, there are two critical steps to take: seek medical treatment and representation. With every emergency, make sure to put your health and safety first. Once you are safely removed from the threat, have your injuries assessed by a healthcare professional. Don’t delay visiting urgent care or the emergency room or calling 911 if necessary.

Left untreated, dog bites can lead to severe or even fatal infections. It’s crucial you seek medical attention so a professional can determine the severity of the bite, as well as treat symptoms while preventing infection.

Other serious symptoms may include uncontrollable bleeding, swelling, oozing from the wound, fever, pain, and possible nerve or bone damage from a deep wound. Aside from infection and nerve or bone damage, you may be at risk of tetanus, rabies, or sepsis. Make sure you get proper care for the dog bite immediately to avoid further harm.

Document Everything

In order to seek restitution, make sure to document all details and keep copies of any relevant paperwork. Record the particulars of what happened, when, and where it happened. Include as many details as you can remember. This will help your case in proving the dog owner was liable for your injuries. Not all states have the same laws in regard to dog bites, so it’s important to document everything to help determine liability.

Keep records of all losses directly related to the dog attack. These losses can include economic losses, non-economic losses, and punitive damages. If you also suffered any property damage, medical bills, or lost wages, record these details and gather documents as evidence.

Remember, not all losses are economic. You can seek compensation if you have experienced any pain and suffering or emotional distress. Punitive damages may be rewarded if the dog owner is found to exhibit willful or malicious behavior. Keep a journal of your experiences, including photos and written accounts. A comprehensive record will be your ally alongside an experienced attorney.

Collect Evidence

In conjunction with your written account of the events, gather as much evidence corroborating these details. If there were any witnesses to the incident, collect their names and contact information. Take photos and videos from the scene of the attack. Include photos or videos of the dog as well as the location of the attack. Document your injury and any torn clothing. If there is any physical evidence at the scene, such as torn clothing or blood, take photos and keep the clothing.

Are there prior animal control reports or videos displaying aggression from the dog? Is there testimony that the dog was roaming loose? Is the fence broken, showing the dog could have escaped? Record all pertinent details.

In addition to evidence from the scene, keep copies of all medical bills and records as well as bank account statements and pay stubs for any lost wages. These documents will aid you in your case when determining how much compensation you may be entitled to.

Notify Authorities

It will help your claim, as well as help prevent future attacks if you notify Animal Control. Reporting the attack will also create an official report that can be used as evidence in your case. A simple internet search will lead you to the correct division and number for Animal Control. Or, if you are unsure, call the police.

Partner With an Attorney

As mentioned earlier, another critical step in getting help after a dog bite is hiring an attorney. The right dog bite lawyer will be well-versed in dog bite laws for your state and experienced in personal injury cases similar to yours. Their knowledge and skill will be your strongest ally when seeking fair compensation. They will know the actual value of your claim and represent your interests so you don’t settle for less than what your claim is worth. They will negotiate accordingly and help you avoid quick settlements or insurance companies trying to minimize how much you receive.

A skilled attorney will guide you through the entire process, making sure you know what to file and when so you don’t miss deadlines or necessary paperwork. They can also talk to the adjuster on your behalf and help you with your statement. An attorney will give you peace of mind as they expertly navigate your claim and help you compile a comprehensive case. They are also knowledgeable in local dog bite laws, which factor into the value of your claim. Does your state have a one-bite rule? What are their laws for contributory or comparative negligence? Did the dog bite your child, and is the owner trying to blame them for trespassing or aggravation? These laws can be complex and intimidating. Let your dog bite lawyer take the lead with expert knowledge and solid legal advice.

The Bottom Line

Shop around for an experienced personal injury lawyer familiar with local dog bite laws. Keep written records and supporting evidence of the injury, treatment, and any relevant loss.

When you are ready to file a claim, contact the expert team at Warren Allen LLP. Our firm is ready to advise and represent you so you can receive fair compensation and the best resolution possible. Contact us today, and we’ll help you go through your options.

What to Bring the First Time You Meet With Your Portland Divorce Attorney

If you’re considering getting a divorce, one of the first steps you should take is to meet with a Portland divorce attorney. This legal process can get messy, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. These attorneys, who practice family law, will provide an expert hand to guide you along this challenging path.

Read on below for a breakdown of the essential documents you should bring to your first meeting with a Portland divorce attorney:

Tax Returns

Your tax documents are beneficial in proving your income and financial situation, as well as your spouse’s. Be sure to bring at least the previous year’s tax returns, but bring two years of tax returns if possible.

Showing these documents will give your attorney a good idea of your finances. These documents will come into play if you and your spouse need to figure out payments like alimony and child support. And don’t forget to include W2s or 1099s.

Proof of Income

In addition to tax returns, bring other documents that showcase your income and your spouse’s. It will be helpful to your attorney to have the last three pay stubs for you and your spouse. Tax returns are crucial for demonstrating your income and finances, but pay stubs provide a more thorough breakdown, such as hours worked, rate of pay, and any bonuses or overtime.

Bank Accounts

Protecting your finances is one of the reasons you should meet with an attorney before officially filing for divorce. In many cases, it is also why you should consult with legal services before breaking the news to your spouse.

If you have assets you want to protect and are worried your spouse will try to hide them and any accounts; it’ll help to provide your attorney with the documented proof before taking any action.

Debts

You’ll need to bring documentation on all debts, including credit card debts and different kinds of loans, from car to student loans. Again, giving your attorney a complete picture of your financial situation as soon as possible is imperative. An experienced divorce attorney will also help you determine which debts are shared and which are solely yours or your spouse’s.

Types of Agreements

Not everyone has a prenuptial agreement, but if you signed one before getting married, it will surely come into play as you divorce. Show the contract and documents to an attorney, so they can determine what is and is not enforceable.

It’s a brilliant idea to consult an attorney before asking your spouse for a divorce. If you’ve been separated for some time or separation was already in the works, let your attorney know. If you have a separation agreement, bring those documents to your meeting. If you don’t have one, your attorney can help draft this agreement.

Mortgages or Deeds

Property division will usually come up in divorces. If you own property, bring the documents with information about any mortgages, deeds, titles, etc. Include any statements of monthly payments.

Investments and Retirement Accounts

Letting your attorney know about these accounts ahead of time helps to best divide them. If not divided properly, you may be subject to tax penalties. This can include IRAs, 401ks, or 403bs.

Medical Records

Do you or your spouse have any medical conditions that may influence a divorce case’s outcome? Are there medical conditions, mental health concerns, or debilitating illnesses that would affect one’s ability to parent? If so, bring along documents showcasing this in addition to the financial records. You will want to give a complete picture of your marriage and any details that could come into play and impact a settlement.

Significant Messages and Exchanges

If any records of specific interactions may help your case, including emails, text messages, and social media interactions, be sure to bring them. Bring along documentation of these if there’s any information enclosed that you think would be important.

While these are sometimes included because of inflammatory statements, they are also helpful in providing a snapshot of how you and your spouse communicate. Also, be upfront about any text message conversation or other interaction where you came off poorly. Trying to hide those won’t do you any favors. If you provide the information to your attorney ahead of time, they can help you figure out how to handle it. If not, you could be caught off-guard when your spouse brings this up.

Criminal Records

A criminal record is a very serious factor that your attorney should be aware of as soon as possible. Criminal records are important if your spouse has been abusive, if you ever had to file a restraining order against them, or if your spouse has been arrested or charged for something else.

A criminal record is one factor that can be incredibly important for determining child custody.

Additional Documentation

If you have any calendars or journals that have important information on them, bring those in as well. They may not be official documents, but they can provide proof to back up your side.

Any Important Inquires

Another important thing to remember is to use this meeting to ask any questions. Remember, these meetings are protected by the attorney-client privilege. Divorce is a personal process, but don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have.

It is probably wise to look through a series of frequently asked questions before the meeting, so that you’ve covered the basics. Divorce attorneys are experts in this field, but more than likely, you haven’t had to go through this legal process before. So, it’s understandable that you won’t know everything by your first meeting. Don’t hesitate to continue asking questions to your attorney after this first meeting as well.

You can find more information on our Portland divorce attorneys by visiting our firm’s website at Warren Allen LLP. We’ve provided excellent legal services to the area for decades, and our experience and expertise will help your case find the most favorable outcome possible.

Are Family Law Attorneys Just for Divorces?

When you’re looking to hire an attorney in Portland, it’s important to know what the different fields of law cover. If you’ve never needed a family law attorney before, you may be thinking that family law lawyers only handle divorces. While divorces are a large segment of this field of law, it’s far from the only thing they help clients with.

Why Might I Need a Family Law Attorney in Portland?

When it comes to major life changes, it helps to consult with an expert. For major shifts such as getting divorced, separating, or requesting a change in custody of a child, a family law attorney would be the expert to consult with.

The family law field covers legal disputes between two parties, usually family members, spouses, former spouses, domestic partners, or parents and children. Family law attorneys will help you navigate and resolve the issues involving that kind of relationship. They also understand the sensitivities involved because of personal matters.

Another thing to keep in mind is that laws, rules, required actions, and regulations vary for each state. Thankfully, experienced attorneys are experts in the guidelines of the states where they practice.

Aside from divorce, Portland family law attorney services include legal advice, support, and representation on nonmarital cohabitation, conservatorships, and family law-related appeals. Read on to find some more examples:

Prenuptial Agreements

As the name implies, this is a legal service conducted before a marriage is made legal. It often includes things like how property will be divided in case of a divorce. Family law attorneys can also help with postnuptial agreements.

Child Custody and Visitation Rights

Whether or not you were ever married, custody and visitation are an important part of a separation if you share children. This area entails creating guidelines for co-parenting, such as figuring out parenting plans and time schedules.

There are different kinds of custody:

  • Physical, or the amount of time spent with each parent.
  • Legal means the parents have a say in matters such as schooling, healthcare, and general lifestyle.
  • Sole custody means only one parent has primary physical and legal custody of the child, although the other parent may be allowed visitation.
  • Joint custody means it is split between both parents. This is not necessarily a 50/50 split. Decisions like the exact amount of time spent residing with a parent will vary depending on several factors.

Some parents can agree to an arrangement that satisfies them both, but some custody and visitation discussions can be very contentious. This is one of the very sensitive and emotional issues that family law attorneys are equipped to handle. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will decide based on the children’s best interests.

Child Support

Attorneys can help come up with a child support agreement based on custody, income, and client’s wishes. Each state has its own child support guidelines, which a family law attorney will be familiar with. Attorneys are also used if a parent is not supplying the child support they were ordered to by the court.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity can be an important aspect of deciding child custody and support. It’s another delicate and emotional legal matter where family law attorneys will provide immeasurable help.

Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony or spousal support is a financial arrangement post-divorce. Typically, if one party makes significantly more than the other, they will pay a certain amount per month to their former spouse. It enables the spouse to continue living a similar lifestyle.

This is an agreement that can be temporary or permanent. The exact parameters of alimony will depend on the individuals and the state where they reside. For instance, certain jurisdictions have time limits.

Family law attorneys also handle palimony, which is a similar financial arrangement, only between two separated parties who were not legally married.

Marital Property

Division of property and/or assets may already be laid out in a prenuptial agreement, or the former spouses could come up with an arrangement that satisfies them both amid the divorce. In that case, it’s still wise to have an attorney to consult, as they’ll make sure everything is up to snuff.

There’s also a possibility that the division of property will be contentious. In some cases, this can be worked out and resolved with each party and their attorney. But if that still doesn’t settle things, the decision may be turned over to a judge and a court.

Some determining factors include income, length of marriage, the amount of property, and the spouses’ respective ages. The division of property can also vary by state. In some areas, a court will most likely determine that marital or community property should be divided up 50/50.

Legal Separation

Some choose a legal separation over a divorce. Since it is also a legal arrangement, it helps to have an attorney in your corner.

Adoption and Foster Care

Family law attorneys can act in facilitating a private adoption. Adoption can include a stepparent legally adopting their stepchild, and may require one or both biological parents to abdicate their status as parents.

Guardianship

Guardianship refers to being legally able to make decisions on behalf of another individual. It is often used for children and can be a step toward adoption. It can also be used when an adult is unable to take care of themselves. When guardianship is granted, the adult or child is then referred to as a protected person.

Emancipation

In family law, emancipation refers to a minor requesting to be released from the custody and control of a parent or guardian. Once granted, the minor will typically be enabled to make legal decisions for themselves instead.

Domestic Abuse

Family law attorneys take these accusations very seriously and will help with obtaining orders of protection.

For the best family law attorneys in Portland, look no further than our team at Warren Allen LLP. We have provided top-of-the-line legal services to the Pacific Northwest area for over fifty years now. For more information on our Portland family law attorneys, visit our website.

5 Tips for Hiring Personal Injury Lawyers in Portland Oregon

Having to deal with a personal injury is stressful at the very least. If you have a personal injury case, such as a slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, or a car accident, you’ll have much better peace of mind hiring a professional to handle it for you.

You might balk at hiring a personal injury lawyer if your car was totaled but you appeared to have suffered no injuries, and you might think that the insurance company will help you through the claims process. However, liability might be unclear in the accident or incident, in which case the task falls to you to prove your innocence. You’ll need to have evidence to support your claim, and you may have no idea how to do this.

A personal injury lawyer will handle that evidence, but also handle a myriad of other tasks, such as negotiating with the insurance company to perhaps get you a bigger compensation package and handling your court case if it goes to trial.

So hiring an attorney to handle your case is the most beneficial path to take. There are a lot of personal lawyers in Portland, Oregon, so how do you decide who to go with?

Here are five tips to keep in mind when hiring a personal injury lawyer:

1. Experience

The first thing you want to know about any lawyer you’re hiring is what kind of experience they have. Many lawyers will handle many different kinds of personal injury cases, but none of them will have handled every single kind. The umbrella of personal injury can be very wide. For example, medical malpractice cases can subdivide into traumatic brain injuries, misdiagnosis, and surgical errors. Make sure to ask whether they’ve handled cases like yours before, how many, and whether they won those cases.

When asking about experience in personal injury cases, also ask what kind of experience they have in a courtroom setting. Most civil cases don’t go to trial, so if your case is one that does, you want to be sure you have someone who knows their way around a courtroom.

2. Expectations

When asking about the procedure for personal injury cases, make sure you understand what is expected of you as well. Your lawyer may not want you to speak with other witnesses, and if you do, you could end up jeopardizing the work your lawyer and their team will be doing on your behalf. If your lawyer gives you homework, such as filling out forms, taking pictures, or otherwise documenting your injury, make sure you do it!

Some questions you can ask your lawyer include: what do you need from me in order to be sure my case is as strong as possible? Is there anything I should do or avoid in order to win my claim?

Asking about how long the process should take will also help manage your expectations. It’s probably known that your personal injury case won’t be solved overnight. In fact, the average personal injury claim can take from six months to two years. There are many variables that factor into the timeline, including how long your treatment takes.

3. Money

Be certain of any fees your lawyer is going to charge you and what you can expect as far as the outcome. You may not receive a precise answer here. Lawyers may hesitate to give you a specific number because they may not want to create unrealistic expectations. Even if they won’t know the outcome at the start of the process, they should still be able to tell you whether you have a chance of winning your case and maybe a rough prediction of your compensation.

When you’re interviewing lawyers, keep track of their answers to this question and see if they’re all in the same general ballpark. If one of them promises you a significantly higher amount, take it with a grain of salt, unless they have a particularly persuasive piece of evidence that pertains to your case.

4. Team Effort

Oftentimes, you may meet with one lawyer, but they may have a team they work with to handle their personal injury claims. This might include a junior partner, another attorney, or a paralegal (or some combination of these three). While you may prefer having one lawyer handle all aspects of your case, a setup like this is fairly common.

The other team members will help gather the basic information and then your lawyer will handle the parts that require their specialist training. The team will let you know who your point of contact will be if you have any other questions or if you need to turn in paperwork. Make sure you understand who is going to handle the settlement, compensation negotiations, or the court case, so you know who to ask which questions.

One other question you can ask here is how often you can expect updates, and how you will receive those updates (whether it’s an email, a phone call, or an in-person meeting).

5. Priorities

No matter where you live, the legal system is definitely overburdened, so you can expect any lawyer to handle more than one case at a time. You might worry that if your lawyer is handling more than one case, your case won’t get the attention to detail it deserves. There is something of a deadline for you – once you’ve suffered the accident, you have two years to file the suit.

As mentioned above, a personal injury lawyer will probably tell you that it’s best to take some time to heal or recover from the event. This is partially so that you know how much compensation to ask for when settling with the insurance company. So since you have a deadline, make sure to get someone who has the ability to work on more than one case at a time. Ask how many cases the lawyer is handling at a time, and ask how big their team is if that number is larger than you expected.

Finding representation with a personal injury lawyer shouldn’t be a convoluted process! The team at Warren Allen will help you find compensation for your personal injury with grace and the highest degree of professionalism. Contact us today.

5 Tips for Determining Custody and Parent Time

When determining custody and parent time, it’s important to consider the best interest of the child. Above all, the well-being of a child is the priority and will be considered when reaching custody agreements and visitation rights. It is meant to protect the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of a child, placing them in the care of a parent or guardian who can provide the best possible environment and upbringing.

Not only should their best interests be your top priority, but it is also a standard used by judges if a custody agreement cannot be reached. A Pacific Northwest family lawyer can help you look at the actions typically considered most beneficial to a child. Read on to learn how to determine custody arrangement and scheduling for parent time, and how it benefits each child so they can receive the best possible upbringing.

1. Develop a Parenting Plan Proposal

“Parenting time” is simply a written agreement on how much time each parent spends with the child, as well as how decisions are to be made for their welfare and education. It is also referred to as a “custody and visitation agreement” or a “time-share” plan. When determining parenting time, it’s important to honestly assess if each parent is fit to provide for the child’s welfare. If so, then a fair schedule accommodating both parents is preferred. The exception is if one parent is unfit and there is good cause to deny visitation. Otherwise, judges look more favorably on parenting time that does not deny visitation or make it difficult for the other parent.

If you can negotiate with the other parent, you can create a proposal that has a balanced and fair plan for time with each parent. Take care to create a plan that is not drastically different from their current schedule, making the transition easier. Remember, as a child ages, the plan will have to change to accommodate their changing needs. If a child is hesitant in spending time with one parent, create a schedule that eases them into spending more time with them.

Include basics such as healthy diet, medical care, proper rest, provisions for holidays, as well as who is in charge of transporting them to activities. It should also include which decisions can be made individually and which need to be made in agreement between both parents. Online resources can help guide you through the process.

2. Track Parenting Time and Related Expenses

Once you have a schedule, keep track of how much time you spend with your child. The court tends to favor the parent who spends the most time with the child. However, if you are proven to be fit and the other parent is blocking your visitation, this documentation can be used as proof of unfair limitations.

Make sure to also keep track of all expenses with receipts of childcare, school supplies, doctor visits, clothing, and other related expenses. This can better illustrate how you contribute to the well-being and care of your child.

3. Create a Safe Space

Creating a stable home for your child is essential to their best interest and well-being. A safe home where your child is comfortable and can thrive helps ensure their physical, mental, and emotional needs are being met. A stable home makes it easier for a child to receive proper rest and creates an environment where they can focus on social and educational development. A safe space also allows your child to speak truthfully about how they are coping with a divorce or separation, without repercussions.

When creating a stable environment, take care to have reliable childcare while at work or during other engagements. This can influence a judge’s decision when determining custody or visitation.

4. Understand the Best Interests of the Child

Each state has a different checklist for figuring the best interest of the child. Contact a Pacific Northwest family law attorney to learn how your state determines the best interests of the child.

Does the judge consider the child’s preference? Does the court disregard socioeconomic background or gender? Can the court task a guardian ad litem to conduct an investigation to figure out the best parenting arrangement?

Though each state varies, some common factors in figuring the best interest of the child include:

  • Parental fitness
  • The parent-child relationship
  • Age of the child
  • Who has been the primary caretaker
  • The mental and physical health needs of the child
  • A parent’s history of crime, violence, substance abuse
  • Any suspected child neglect, abandonment, or abuse
  • Provision of stability for the child

You can also demonstrate you have their best interest in mind by knowing what they like and dislike, as well as their personal interests. Do you know their favorite food, activities, who their friends are, what they struggle with? How well do you know your child can determine custody and visitation rights?

5. Be Willing to Co-Parent

If both parents are fit, then your child benefits most from having both parents in their life. In this scenario, it’s best to co-parent. It will benefit your child and reflect favorably with the judge when determining custody and parenting time.

If the other parent is not fit or they are keeping you from seeing your child, it’s important to document these instances and provide as much supporting evidence as possible. If the other parent is unfit and a danger to your child, you need strong evidence supporting this claim. Do not make false accusations. If you are fit but are being denied visitation, keep a written record detailing the times they denied or limited your visitation.

When it comes to custody and parenting time, it may be in both your and your child’s best interest to partner with a family law attorney, seeking counsel and representation.

Let our attorneys at Warren Allen LLP help you. Our experienced family law lawyers handle each case personally and have extensive knowledge in all legal situations related to domestic relations. Contact us today and learn how we can help your unique needs with solid legal advice and representation.

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