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5 Tips for Finding the Best Family Law Attorney in Portland

When you experience a distressing situation in your family that needs potential legal intervention, looking for a family lawyer is the best way to proceed. However, choosing a family law attorney can be stressful. In the absence of adequate due diligence, you may end up with one who cannot give you the desired results.

So how do you go about choosing one? To make the process easier for you, here are Warren Allen’s five tips for finding the best Portland family law attorney without any hassle.

1. Always Go with an Expert

Family law is complex, as the interpretation of the law can change with every new case. Your attorney should be able to identify the core issues right away and provide tailored advice. They should also know the various practices and legal procedures followed by family law courts in the region.

The best way to narrow down your options to the most qualified experts is by browsing through attorney profiles available online to assess the experience of each lawyer, their educational qualifications, and the types of cases they have dealt with. You can prepare an initial shortlist and start a deep dive to assess each of the profiles in-depth.

You can start reading the blog posts and articles published by such lawyers to know more about their work. There may be a lot of general practitioners in the market, but your goal should be to find someone who specializes in family law.

You can look up their social media handles to see the type of posts they have. You can assess your lawyer by asking questions. For example, if you’re approaching a Portland family law attorney for a divorce case, ask them about the recent cases they have dealt with and the outcomes. You can also ask if they’re willing to take on difficult matters for representation. Moreover, an expert attorney will keep track of recent developments in the field of family law. So the more questions you ask, the better it will be to assess their expertise. While this may sound like a lot of work, it can give you a clear sense of whether you want to work with a particular attorney.

2. Make Sure Your Lawyer Is Easily Accessible

Your Portland family law attorney should be someone you can contact easily and receive quick responses. With many family matters, things can go from bad to worse very quickly. Having an attorney who is prompt with turnarounds can go a long way in helping you navigate through complex legal issues.

Your attorney must be able to simplify legal jargon and explain it to you in layperson’s terms. If your lawyer is bombarding you with too much jargon or doesn’t make you feel at ease about your issues, it’s probably a huge red flag. After all, family law involves a lot of complex emotions, and that’s why your lawyer must make you feel comfortable.

In addition to that, also take into consideration the location of the attorney’s office. If it is too far away from where you live, it can be immensely stressful to keep traveling for in-person meetings. Having a local attorney who is closer to home also means you can schedule more face-to-face appointments to discuss the challenges you face.

3. Know What You Want

Too many begin on a wild goose chase to hunt down a Portland family law attorney without knowing what they expect as an outcome. Plus, unsolicited advice from family and friends can make it even more overwhelming for a person to have clarity about the end goal.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s time to take a step back and think. Write down the problem that you’re facing and the outcomes you’re expecting. You should also spend time thinking about the best alternative to your hoped-for outcome.

Doing this will help you find a lawyer who’s more suited to your needs. For instance, if you’re engaged in a custody battle but you don’t want things to get too heated up in the court, choosing an attorney who’s known to be too aggressive in the court may not be ideal, even though such a lawyer may have many years of expertise under their belt.

4. Be Clear About the Costs

Hiring a family law attorney doesn’t come cheap. To avoid any last-minute surprises, it’s best to iron out costs and fees right in the beginning. Usually, attorneys like to charge a retainer fee and then work by the hour, but you may have the option to work out alternative arrangements. Also, make sure to ask about any out-of-pocket or overhead costs (such as travel expenses, postage charges, filing charges with the court, etc.) that you may need to bear as the client.

Asking for discounted rates is also a common practice in the industry. Don’t hesitate to have a conversation if you think you may not be able to work with the fees quoted by your attorney.

5. Ask People Around You

Word-of-mouth references are a great seal of approval for an attorney. You can always ask your friends and family members to pass on references of lawyers they have worked with. Moreover, if you’ve worked with other attorneys, such as a personal injury attorney for another matter, you can also ask them for referrals.

However, be mindful that when it comes to legal problems, there is no one-size-fits-all approach you can take. Ensure that the lawyer you choose is the right fit for you.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you get through challenging legal issues and give you the results you deserve. If you’re looking for a Portland family law attorney, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team of experienced family law lawyers at Warren Allen is here to help you overcome any challenging situation in the field of family law.

 

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How Do I File for Divorce?

Divorce processes can vary from case to case, depending on the parties involved. Though some can be long and complicated, others can be fairly straightforward. Understanding the process of how to file for divorce can help prevent unnecessary delays and complications. Before you begin the process, be prepared by learning the basics of what steps you will need to take.

Residency Requirements

Before you get started, you must first determine residency and where to file. Most states require that you or your spouse have resided in the state in which you’re planning to file for at least six months. Some states also require three-month residency within the county where you’re filing. The residency requirements can differ from state to state so make sure you do a search of your state’s specific conditions.

Reason for Divorce

All fifty states are no-fault divorce states, though some states still provide the option to allege fault if desired. “No fault” means that only one spouse needs to file a petition, and they may do so without filing a fault-based complaint. The filing spouse may claim “irreconcilable differences” and can have the marriage or domestic partnership dissolved, regardless if their spouse consents or not.

Some states require a separation period before you can file for divorce. States such as Oregon and California don’t require such a period of separation. As each state has different requirements, it’s best to look up these specifications.

Filling Out Forms

Now that you have determined the requirements for filing, the first step is preparing the necessary documents. Often, domestic relations law provides two types of dissolution. The simplest procedure is summary dissolution, which is an uncontested divorce. The other is complex dissolution, which means the divorce is contested.

If your marriage or domestic partnership has limited issues, you may be able to file for a summary divorce. Some of the requirements include:

  • Being married for 10 years or less
  • Neither spouse is pregnant
  • No minor children involved
  • No real estate owned
  • No more than $15,000 in debt
  • Personal property values less than $30,000
  • Petitioner waives the right to alimony and temporary orders

If you don’t meet these requirements, you’ll have to file for a complex dissolution. Depending on which dissolution you choose, each requires specific forms. If you and your spouse have biological or adopted minor children, additional forms will be required.

Regardless of which procedure you use, your documents must include a petition for divorce and a summons. The petition for dissolution will outline for both the judge and your spouse what you’re asking for in the divorce. The summons is a document notifying your spouse that they need to appear in court. It also includes instructions prohibiting moving out of state with joint children and written consent required for obtaining passports for the children.

Reviewing All Forms

It’s imperative your forms are reviewed for accuracy. Though the court may have resources to help you review these forms, you may want to consider working with a family law attorney. If your forms are not in order and any of the information is inaccurate or incomplete, this can affect the outcome of the divorce.

Making sure that you have all the necessary forms to successfully file for divorce can be difficult without help. Each case has its particular needs. Do you require alimony? Division of property? Child custody? A do-it-yourself approach may affect the outcome in an undesired way. If you need legal advice and representation, contact our expert team at Warren Allen LLP. Our experienced family law lawyers are able to help with your unique situation and needs.

Filing Forms

Once your documents have been thoroughly reviewed, it’s time to file them in the appropriate county. Turn in the petition for dissolution with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office in the county where you or your spouse resides.

When doing so, you must also pay any fees associated with filing for divorce. If you cannot afford the fees, it’s possible to ask the judge to waive or defer the fees. However, you’ll have to fill out court papers documenting a low income.

Serving the Forms

Unless you’re filing for divorce with your spouse as co-petitioners, the law requires you to inform your spouse of the intended divorce. This is done by serving your spouse with copies of the divorce petition as well as all other paperwork filed with the court. This can be done by mail or by personal service.

Personal service doesn’t mean that you can personally hand the papers to your spouse. They must be served by another adult over the age of 18. Once the papers have been received, your spouse signs a “Proof of Service” or “Acceptance of Service” form (depending on the state). If your spouse refuses to sign, you can hire a private process server or pay a fee for the county sheriff to deliver them in-person.
If your spouse is difficult to locate, you can obtain an order signed by a judge that allows you to publish or post a notice that you have filed for divorce. This may include posting in the courthouse or publishing in a newspaper.

Finalizing the Divorce

After your spouse has been served, there are various options they can take. Your spouse can default, which means they do nothing, or they can file a response agreeing or disagreeing with the terms of the divorce. They have 30 days to file a response with the court.

If your divorce is uncontested, you can write up an agreement outlining the terms and fill out final forms to be submitted to the court.

If you cannot reach an agreement on the terms or your spouse contests the divorce and a compromise through mediation cannot be reached, you must ask the court for a divorce judgment. A trial date will be set and, ultimately, a judge will determine the terms of the divorce.

Having an understanding of how to file for divorce will help, but ultimately, a knowledgeable family law lawyer on your side will better ensure a smoother dissolution and potentially help you achieve your specific needs.

 

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What Services Are Offered By Family Law Firms in Portland?

Family legal issues are some of the most sensitive topics to discuss, as they are deeply personal and often extremely important. When you can’t come to an agreement within your family about legal matters, it’s often best to enlist the help of a family law firm. Family law firms in Portland, Oregon, can help guide you through those difficult times and help you to come to an agreement that’s in the best interests of you and your family.

Family law firms deal with a variety of issues that can arise within families, including divorces, child custody agreements, adoptions, and much more. With the help of family law firms such as Warren Allen LLP, you can feel at ease knowing that knowledgeable professionals are on your side. If you’re having legal issues within your family, you may be able to benefit from hiring a lawyer from a family law firm. Here are a few of the services offered by family law firms.

Prenuptial Agreements

If you’re considering getting married and want to come up with a way to protect your assets in case of divorce, a prenuptial agreement may be a good choice for you. A prenuptial agreement is a contract that two people sign prior to becoming a married couple. What the contract states will be unique to each couple, but it’s generally a signed contract that explains how their assets will be divided if they get divorced. This could cover topics like property ownership, spousal support, and financial assets.

When the couple signs this agreement, they will have a much easier process of divorce should they ever choose to end their marriage. One of the biggest conflicts that divorced couples have is agreeing on how they will split up the things that they own jointly, but with a prenuptial agreement, those decisions are already made.

When you want to create a prenuptial agreement, you’ll need the help of a family law firm. Family law firms in Portland, Oregon, will consult both parties on which things should be covered in their agreement. They will also be the ones drawing up the agreement and taking care of legalities.

Divorce

Not many people consider the fact that they may get divorced, which often leaves them unprepared when divorce becomes an option. People divorce for a variety of reasons, but most stem from having two people with different ideas for how they want the rest of their lives to go. When it gets to this point, it can be hard for those same two people to come to a mutual understanding about the things that matter most. This time can be intense for all parties involved, which often leads them to need a family law firm to act as a mediator.

A divorce lawyer at a family law firm in Portland can help you to figure out what happens next after you decide to get divorced. Having this third party can make conversations less confrontational and provide needed support in a time of stress and intense emotions. A family lawyer can also help couples come to an understanding before ever having to go to court. With an experienced law firm like Warren Allen LLP on your side, you can ensure that you get what’s fair after your divorce.

Child Custody Agreements

In divorces or separations where the couple has children, figuring out who gets what time with the children can be difficult. With both parties typically very emotionally attached, it can be impossible to come to a fair agreement without the help of a third party. These situations are also more likely to become confrontational. When you enlist the help of a family law firm, a lawyer will help you to fight for the time you want with your child and create a more professional environment to come to that conclusion.

Coming to agreements about child custody can cause enormous tension within families. This is especially relevant in cases where an agreement was attempted outside of the court and one party is failing to uphold that agreement. The benefit of going through a family law firm and drafting a legal agreement is that the law is on your side in the case that someone breaks that agreement. In your contract, there will be specific repercussions for not adhering to the rules of the contract. This helps to hold each party accountable. When dealing with child custody issues, going through a family law firm can be the easiest way to a solution.

Adoption

If you’re interested in expanding your family through adoption, a family lawyer can assist you in navigating the legal requirements. Adoption isn’t as easy as just wanting to bring a child into your home. You have to prove that you’re fit and sometimes be chosen by a birth mother.

Aside from having a lawyer to help you adopt successfully, they can also help you to understand your rights after the child is in your care. Some people run into situations where the birthmother rescinds her offer, there are undisclosed health issues, or a stillbirth occurs. Having a lawyer draw up documents that detail how these situations will be handled beforehand can protect you should any complications arise.

Paternity

If you need to prove the paternity of a child, a family law firm could be of assistance to you. Mothers often choose this route to legally determine the paternity of their child when the father is absent. This allows the mother to file for child support payments from their child’s father by showing proof that the child biologically belongs to them, despite their current role in the child’s life. The mother has a right to these payments, and hiring a lawyer will assist her in obtaining them.

Mothers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from hiring a family law firm to determine paternity. Fathers who are seeking custody of a child can use a family law firm to help them legally establish paternity and go after full or partial custody of that child. Having a family lawyer on your side can help you to understand your rights and speed up the process of obtaining custody.

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