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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.

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.

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.

5 Tips for Finding a Qualified Family Law Attorney in Portland Oregon

If you’re getting married, going through a divorce, or in the midst of a custody battle, you know how important it is to have a good family law attorney by your side. You want to find someone who will protect your assets and fight for your interests. But where do you begin?

Warren Allen LLP is experienced in all types of family law matters, and we have some great tips for finding a qualified family law attorney in the Portland, Oregon, area.

1. Ask for Referrals

The best place to start is with your own personal network. If you know anyone who has hired a family law attorney in Portland, Oregon, recently, ask them about their experience. Were they satisfied with their representation? Did they receive a favorable outcome? If so, ask questions about whether they settled the matter out of court or if litigation was involved. What was it about the attorney that made them particularly effective at handling this particular family law matter?

If the person was unsatisfied with their representation, find out why. Getting information about which attorneys to avoid is just as helpful as getting a recommendation for who to hire. If you don’t personally know anyone who has retained a family law attorney in the Portland, Oregon, area, there are other ways to find a reputable attorney.

2. Check Professional Associations

Another option for locating a family law attorney is to check professional membership associations. For instance, the American Bar Association (ABA) has a lawyer referral directory. You can also search your local and state bar associations to find a family law attorney near you. For instance, the Oregon State Bar has both a lawyer referral service and a searchable membership directory.

If you decide to choose an outside lawyer referral and information service, make sure it has the ABA logo. The use of the logo ensures the service meets ABA public service standards.

Whether using your own personal network, checking professional membership organizations, or paying for a lawyer referral service, be sure to properly vet the attorneys you are considering by doing your due diligence in researching their backgrounds and credentials.

Choosing a family law attorney is an important decision. Never make a decision to hire a family law attorney solely based on a recommendation or referral. Instead, gather as much information as you can before making a final decision.

3. Conduct an Internet Search

You can uncover a lot of information about an attorney through a simple internet search; think of it as doing a background check for free. When you’ve narrowed your search for a family law attorney down to a select few, do some internet sleuthing and see what you can find out about each. At a minimum, most lawyers will have a website bio that outlines their background and experience.

You may also be able to find online reviews that will tell you whether the attorney has a favorable track record with former clients. You should also check both their personal and professional social media profiles. LinkedIn, for instance, may provide a breakdown of their employment history and professional accolades. Other social media platforms could give you a glimpse at how they conduct themselves in their personal lives as well.

4. Verify Track Record

Be sure to verify an attorney’s track record beyond a simple Internet search. If you’re using the Oregon Bar Association lawyer referral service (LRS), you can be confident LRS attorneys “are in good standing with the bar, have no current disciplinary proceedings pending, carry malpractice insurance” and agree to abide by customer service standards.

On the other hand, if you find an attorney through another means, you may need to do your own research. If you’re based in Oregon, you can obtain information regarding a state bar member’s current status, past complaints, and history of disciplinary action by calling 503-620-0222, ext. 394. If you’re based outside of Oregon, check your own state bar association to confirm whether the attorney you are considering is in good standing.

5. Schedule a Consultation

Once you’ve narrowed your search, the best thing you can do is schedule an in-person consultation. Some attorneys charge for a consult, while others do not. Contact the firm to see if there is a charge and if so, inquire about the cost.

If there is a fee for an in-person consultation and you’re trying to save money, ask if there is a fee for a phone consult. Whenever possible, you should try to meet in person with any family law attorney you’re considering. At your consultation, ask them about their background and experience, whether they specialize in your particular family law matter, how many similar cases they’ve worked in the past, and for an overview of your options.

Be as detailed and specific as possible with your questions. Take notes. Get a sense of the attorney’s communication skills and whether you feel you could foster a strong attorney-client relationship with them. The impression you get when meeting an attorney face-to-face can go a long way in helping you decide if they’re the right one for you.

If you’re looking for a family law attorney in Portland, Oregon, area, add Warren Allen LLP to your list. We have experienced attorneys skilled in an array of family law matters, from prenuptial agreements to separations and paternity issues. Whether a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership, we handle each case personally and with the utmost integrity.

As we’ve discussed, first do your due diligence by conducting some research and then schedule a consult with us. We’ll provide you with an honest assessment of your case and if you choose to retain us, we’ll provide you with top-notch legal representation at every stage.

Avoid These Common Divorce Mistakes in Oregon

Understanding common mistakes people make during their divorce can help you avoid the same traps. Your Portland divorce attorney will be your ally and can advise you during the divorce while offering advice specific to your individual situation.
Going through a divorce is stressful, and the resulting emotions are not unexpected. It’s helpful to be aware of how these emotions may impact decision-making during this time. Whether you are working through a collaborative and civilized divorce or one that is fueled with difficulty and conflict, the approach should be the same. What’s important is to not allow stress or confusion to overwhelm your decisions during the process.
Though this may be a difficult time, keep in mind that there are certain pitfalls you need to watch out for while negotiating and filing for divorce.

Rushing to Settle

It’s understandable to want to finalize a divorce quickly and move forward to end this chapter and start a new one, but this can compromise a fair outcome. Full information is essential in settling on a proposal that is the best resolution for all parties. Though it may be tempting to accept the first settlement proposed or settle before all pertinent information is available, it may leave you with an unfavorable result. Sitting down with an experienced divorce mediator may be best for both parties to work toward a solution.
It’s helpful to take your time and think through these decisions carefully while consulting your Portland divorce attorney. Once an agreement has been signed by a judge, it cannot be reversed or changed unless you go through additional court proceedings, and often only if there were assets omitted (either intentionally or unintentionally). Take the time to carefully consider settlement proposals before accepting them and work toward a resolution that is best for your situation.

Not Setting Appropriate Boundaries for Your Children

Age-appropriate communication with your children is crucial during a divorce. It can be a confusing time, and it’s important they work through their feelings and have a safe place to ask questions. It’s also essential to clarify that it’s not their fault and to provide reassurance.
Healthy communication with your children about the divorce should include balance. It’s important to not overshare or fail to prepare them by not discussing it all or avoiding the subject. Keep the conversation age-specific and avoid speaking negatively about the other parent.
Before discussing the divorce with them, take time to think about what is appropriate and what is inappropriate for them to know and set healthy boundaries. There are several books available that cover how to speak to your children about divorce, or a family therapist may be a viable option.

Losing Focus

At the time, every detail may seem critical to take to court. In the interest of not dragging out the process, select which issues are worth taking to court and which ones can be negotiated. Your Portland divorce attorney can help decide which issues fall into which category if you are struggling.
Keep the end goal in focus when making these decisions so you can secure a positive future.

Refusing to Negotiate

A common mistake in divorce is rushing the process, but the opposite can be true as well. Negative feelings or a desire to make a spouse “pay” for their shortcomings in the relationship can unnecessarily drag out a divorce.
This may not be true in each divorce, but unresolved issues or anger in some separations may lead to attempting to use the legal process as an opportunity to get even. Refusing to compromise and insisting on going to court or dragging out court appearances can cost time and money. The court may not view this favorably and it could cost you. It’s natural to be angry, but do your best to stay focused so you can focus on the best outcome for yourself.

Listening to Misinformation

Everyone has advice and opinions when it comes to a divorce, whether it’s your family, friends, or the internet. Though some of this counsel may be wise, especially from someone who has previous experience with divorce, keep in mind that a legal process requires the services of an attorney local to you who specializes in family law and how it relates to your situation. With the internet putting a lot of sources at our fingertips, there can be a lot of misinformation that will lead you astray.
An experienced attorney specializing in family law will have detailed knowledge in divorce, as well as other areas of legal practice, and can help you reach the best resolution possible. They will be your ally, help mediate, and help advise you in obtaining the best possible outcome in your divorce.
Whether you need help with legal representation or advice in separation, divorce, custody, or establishing parenting time, Warren Allen LLP is here to help. Our experienced attorneys have detailed knowledge of family law and other areas of legal practice that may arise in domestic relations. Contact us today and let our attorneys help you secure a positive future and the best resolution possible.

Forgetting to Keep Long-Term Goals in Mind

It’s easy to get stuck in the past and forget to create a plan for your future. There are a lot of factors to consider that can be overlooked when dealing with the overwhelming and immediate details. Receiving helpful counsel from professionals like a Portland divorce attorney, counselors, or financial experts may be helpful in staying grounded and creating a plan for the future. This can include protecting the future well-being of children, your mental health, property, and finances.
You may need to make a plan for parenting time, keeping your children’s best interests in mind. You may need to account for financial changes such as a change in income, the differences in separate property and marital property, as well as changes in income tax post-divorce.
Seeking the counsel of professionals, family, and friends can help you create a support team for your family, so you don’t have to go through the process alone. Having help from a knowledgeable and supportive team will help you avoid some of the common divorce mistakes.
Going through a divorce can be a difficult time, but making careful decisions and accepting the correct types of help can guide you to a more favorable future.

Your Portland Attorneys Should Be Experts in What You Need

When selecting a Portland attorney to represent your interests, it’s important to choose someone who can meet your specific legal needs. Having just any attorney isn’t enough. You need an attorney who has expertise and experience in the field in which your case falls. In short, you want to hire a personal injury attorney to manage your car accident case or a family law attorney to handle your divorce.
When faced with legal problems, many people run to the first lawyer they can contact, hoping to solve the problem quickly and cheaply. This puts them at risk of overlooking quality advice from expert attorneys, and they can end up with complicated cases, wasted time, lost cases, and hefty legal fees.
You can easily avoid this if you keep one thing in mind: your Portland attorney should be an expert in what you need.
Law is an extensive practice with many technicalities, some of which are under constant change or review. You should, therefore, not expect a general legal practitioner to grasp the essentials of all branches of law fully. By selecting an attorney who specializes in what you need, you can better ensure your case is handled properly.

The Necessity of Specialization

When in need of legal representation, you have three options:

  1. You can go it by yourself.
  2. You can go with an attorney who has legal experience but in another field or as a general practice attorney. They may have dabbled in the law you require, and they understand the constructs, but they’re limited in their knowledge.
  3. You can choose to go with an attorney who is experienced and knows the ins and outs of the relevant legal field. This expert has worked in the field for years, has handled many different cases, and is prepared to deal with all circumstances.

Advanced societies thrive on expertise. This is reflected everywhere, from medicine to business to the justice system and beyond. Law is interwoven into every aspect of our society to provide justice and order.
It’s likely that, at some point, you will need to contact a Portland attorney for specific legal services, whether it’s for an injury, estate planning, or other areas. Every field of law has its own terminology, evidentiary requirements, procedures, and so forth. A legal practitioner who specializes in another field may know the basic legal implications involved, but they won’t necessarily understand the finer points of the process. That comes with training and experience. This could ultimately hurt the results of your case.
Clearly, of the options above, the best is number three. It helps to have an expert Portland attorney with a wealth of experience who engages actively with the field of law that fits your case. Let’s take a closer look at why this is your best choice.

1. The Technicalities of Law

This is why experts dominate over other professionals in the legal field. Law is a broad body of knowledge, and the better educated an attorney is in a particular area of law, the stronger the case they can make for their client. Knowledge of the technicalities of law does not come from general study. It takes years of practice to establish oneself as an expert in any area of law. During this time, the attorney gathers a wealth of knowledge, from both within and outside the field, that they can continually apply to new cases.

2. Speed

The longer an attorney spends practicing, the easier it is for them to handle new and more significant cases. Complications that could arise from a case are anticipated and dealt with even before there is a need to go to court. Unlike a general attorney, an expert does not have to take a refresher course to prepare for your case, as they are constantly engaging with that particular field of law.
In fact, often, general legal practitioners would still request the services of an expert attorney. Cut out the middleman and reduce costs by choosing a qualified expert Portland attorney for your case.

3. Legal Advice

Expert Portland attorneys are adept at providing the information needed to make your case. They can tell you what you need to gather or overlook; sometimes, it can be the smallest of details that you may consider insignificant. Because they are constantly working in their field, they have seen details from previous cases that could either make or destroy a case. They can point out areas where you need redress and weed out anything that would make your case appear weak. Non-experts do not have that level of knowledge and can mishandle your case by missing small but otherwise significant details in a case.

4. Command of Power

Expert attorneys command respect because of the record of expertise behind their names. Communication written by an expert Portland attorney carries more weight than one from a general legal practitioner, just as a recommendation from a neurosurgeon on brain surgery carries more weight than that of a general medical practitioner. An expert attorney is also easily recognized and more respected in professional circles than general attorneys. Expert attorneys have the benefit of belonging to a network of other expert legal professionals.
Each field of law involves many technicalities. When you choose to use the services of an attorney who has established a record of experience and training concerning the area of law where you need help, you are putting your case in the hands of an expert who can help you get the results you deserve. If you’re looking for a personal injury or family law attorney, look no further than Warren Allen. Within our team, you’ll work with an expert Portland attorney who suits your specific needs. Contact us today.

What Does an Adoption Lawyer Do?

When you decide that adoption is the right choice for your family, there are a series of steps that need to be taken. Finding an agency, choosing your child, and being matched with them are just a few. One of the steps people often overlook is the need to hire an adoption lawyer. An adoption lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in adoption-related services pertaining to law. Finding an adoption lawyer in Portland, Oregon, is as easy as finding a firm that deals with family law. Warren Allen LLP has lawyers that deal specifically with familial issues, such as issues regarding custody and adoptions.

Though it may seem like a cut-and-dry situation, adopting a child actually involves a large amount of legal work. Because there are so many things at stake when it comes to adoption, it’s best to hire someone who is familiar with and can walk you through any legal requirements necessary. They can assist you in making the decisions that will help you to expand your family and have a positive adoption experience.

Here are just a few of the things that adoption lawyers do.

Help Find an Agency

Adoption lawyers can assist you in even the earliest steps of the adoption process. That can include finding the best adoption agency in the area. An adoption agency is a licensed establishment that can let you place or adopt a child. A good adoption agency will assist your adoption lawyer in making the adoption process as easy as possible, and an established adoption lawyer will have good working relationships with local agencies.

The need to find an agency can be for prospective adoptive parents as well as parents looking to place a child with a prospective family. An agency can help you through this process, but an adoption lawyer can protect you and all of your legal rights before, during, and after. Having both an adoption agency and an adoption lawyer is the most popular and secure way that people move through the adoption process.

Complete Identified Adoptions

Not all adoptions happen in the same way. In some instances, families decide that they want to bring a child into their family without knowing who the child is beforehand. On the other hand, some families have already matched with a birth mother and don’t need the help of an adoption agency to place a child in their care. This can happen when the child is a distant member of a family or the child of a close friend. These types of situations are called identified adoption and require the help of an adoption lawyer to make them official.

Another form of identified adoption can involve stepparents. In some cases, a stepparent may wish to be the legal guardian of their stepchild through adoption. Despite the child being identified already, having an adoption lawyer can still work in your favor. They can assist you in collecting the proper paperwork and notifying the child’s birth parent, as well as represent you if you end up going to court.

Take Care of Paperwork

When you decide that adoption is the right choice for your family, you’ll need to fill out a variety of paperwork to make it official. Having all the necessary paperwork and filling it out correctly is what can officially establish someone as a parent. Not doing so can cause issues or delay the completion of your adoption. With the help of your adoption lawyer, you’ll be able to collect the proper paperwork and have it well organized by the time you need to present it.

One thing that people often overlook is the need to have an adoption lawyer even when you’re doing an identified adoption. Though you’ll skip the need to enlist an adoption agency to work on your behalf, there are still many legal steps you’ll need to take to secure adoption. Since that paperwork can differ from what is needed for traditional adoption, adoption lawyers can help you gather and present those documents as well.

Walk You Through the Requirements

There are various requirements that a prospective adoptive parent must meet in order to move forward. These conditions are different depending on the type of adoption you’re looking into. For instance, if you’re adopting a child from out of the country, families will need to be found eligible by not only US federal and state laws, but also the laws of the country you’re intending to adopt from.

Some of the other requirements include being a US citizen, being at least 25 years of age if you’re unmarried, and jointly adopting as a couple if you are married. You must also meet certain requirements that determine your suitability. These will require background checks, home studies, and fingerprinting. An adoption lawyer can help you understand the requirements and make sure you meet them all before attempting to move forward.

Provide Legal Council

No matter how you choose to move forward with the adoption process, you’ll likely face some challenging decisions. Those decisions will have consequences that can affect the adoption process now or later down the line. To make sure that your wishes are properly stated and that things go the way you’ve planned, it can be helpful to have an adoption lawyer speaking on your behalf. Adoption lawyers are familiar with the ins and outs of adoption law and can guide you in a direction that avoids any potential delays. Adoption lawyers can also provide legal services such as speaking on your behalf. Depending on the situation, you may need to go to court to complete your adoption process.

Assist You With Other Family Legal Issues

A great benefit to finding a good adoption lawyer is that they are usually well versed in other family law issues. Situations such as divorce, establishing paternity, separations, and custody all fall under the arena of family law, and establishing a good relationship with them now could make it easier for you to get their help in the future. Warren Allen LLP has a variety of lawyers in Portland, Oregon, that can assist with both adoption and other familial legal issues.

What Falls Under Family Law in Portland?

Life can get relatively complicated, but sorting out legal issues related to family law in Portland shouldn’t be something that is overly complicated. Finding the right representation for your issue is key, and at Warren Allen LLP, we provide the best and most solid legal counsel we can. Whether you’re looking to adopt and need some legal guidance through the process or you’re getting ready to tie the knot and want to discuss your options when it comes to prenuptial agreements, we can help. If you’re seeking a legal separation, an annulment to your marriage, or even a divorce, Warren Allen LLP is here to help.

For other issues, such as guardianship, conservatorship, or domestic violence issues, there is someone here who can help you sort through the process and the impending legal framework. For more information about what falls under family law in Portland, Oregon, please keep reading.

Children & Families

Relationships in a domestic setting take a lot of work. When things don’t go as anticipated and new situations arise, a competent attorney can help you and your loved ones navigate the path. If you’ve recently dealt with a divorce and now need to figure out custody and visitation, a legal representative can make sure that you’re securing the results that are best for you and your family.
For other issues that fall under the umbrella of children and families, you’ll find assistance with parenting plans, birth through three, child support, the enforcement of parenting plans, parental education, adoption, mediation, temporary orders, and supervised parenting time.

Divorce, Separation & Annulment

If you were recently married and you’ve realized that it’s not going to work out in the long run, and you’re within the required time period, you can sometimes get an annulment from the courts. A family law attorney can help you with this.

If you’ve been married long enough that you need to take a different course of action, you have the choice to either separate or divorce. A legal separation might be issued in the place of a divorce for a variety of reasons, including if one party wishes to remain on the spouse’s insurance plan, if there is a moral or religious reason not to divorce, if the minimum required residence (six months in the state of Oregon) hasn’t been reached yet, or if the parties don’t wish for a divorce but still do want legal help to split their property and debts, establish a parenting plan, and so forth.

Otherwise, the final option is divorce. Once the papers have been served to the receiving party, the respondent has 30 days to file a response. A divorce doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out, or vicious affair. If both parties work together, including putting together a shared custody and parenting time plan if children are involved, the process can go fairly smoothly.

Guardianship & Conservatorship

If a person is incapable of managing their own care or legal affairs, or if a child doesn’t have a legal guardian, a competent and capable adult can petition to gain guardianship or conservatorship of that person. All people applying for this role must be up front with the court about their legal background, including if they have ever had a professional license canceled or revoked, if they ever went through a bankruptcy, or if they have ever been convicted of committing a crime. A court-appointed visitor will be assigned to the case and will be involved in the case to verify that all parties are adhering to their roles.

Because of the complexity of guardianships and conservatorships, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer who can help walk you through all the rules and laws around this topic of family law.

Prenuptials

Before getting married, a couple can outline and then legally put into place an agreement that outlines their plans for their property, their debts, and other legal rights that they acquire by getting married. There are traditional rules and laws related to marriage, but a prenuptial agreement gives more power to the couple to decide what they do and do not want relating to their marriage and their legal relationship. This is especially relevant if the marriage ends in divorce or death.

In simplest terms, it’s an outline of how the couple would like things to play out should something outside of their control happen in the course of or at the end of their marriage. Relevant topics in a prenup may include the division of property, retirement benefits, savings, and even spousal support. Having an attorney work through all of the legal processes related to prenuptial agreements makes the most sense for the couple involved, as they will need to file with the court and make sure that their agreement is deemed legal and valid.

Domestic Violence

Should things escalate and your safety become at risk, always get out and away and contact a first responder. Once you’re in a safe space and you’re in need of legal counsel on the issue of domestic violence, family law in Portland, Oregon, can help you in a handful of ways.

You can file a restraining order in the Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA), get help through the Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act (EPPDAPA), or get a Sexual Abuse Protection Order (SAPO). If there are other issues, such as stalking, an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), or firearms restrictions, then there are family law firms that can help sort through the thick of some of these heavy topics.

There are many laws and rules that attorneys are versed in. Particularly when your physical, mental, or emotional well-being is in jeopardy, it’s best to have representation to make sure all the bases are covered and that you and your family are safe and secure. Attorney’s may also have other recourse and access to other resources to help protect you and those you love.
If you have questions or would like more information about family law in Oregon, contact Warren Allen. Our expert team can help you out.

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