Renton Washington Family Law Criminal Defense and Estate Planning Attorney

Serving Renton, Kent, Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, Burien and south King County.

Please visit our web page at for more information.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What You Can Expect From Your Lawyer

Whenever a relationship is established, its participants form expectations of each other. The lawyer-client relationship is no different. And as in any other relationship, lawyers and clients have rules and boundaries which govern those expectations. Some expectations are appropriate; others are not. Here is an overview of what you can expect of your lawyer.

Having the assistance of a skilled lawyer during your divorce gives you the security of having someone on your side who knows what to do. Furthermore, you will have someone you can talk to in confidence about your situation and how best to deal with it. Lawyers provide a variety of specific services for clients going through a divorce. These services include:
  • Consulting with you
  • Educating you about the law and facts
  • Devising and carrying out case strategy
  • Investigating the law and the facts
  • Preparing and reviewing documents
  • Negotiating a settlement
  • Preparing and filing all necessary court papers
  • Preparing you to testify
  • Preparing other witnesses to testify
  • Hiring experts and appraisers
  • Conducting discovery
  • Responding to discovery initiated by your spouse
  • Preparing for court appearances including trial
  • Conducting trials and hearings
  • Advising you about what to expect.
  • Advising you on conduct and alternatives
  • Taking the heat for tough decisions
The Renton law firm of Mogren, Glessner & Roti, represents clients in a variety of family law cases. Please visit our web page at for more information.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Social Security and Divorce

The divorce court has no authority over Social Security benefits. They are federal benefits that the federal government can give or take away. They are not an asset for the court to distribute in divorce.

If your marriage is nearing the ten-year mark, and you're thinking of getting a divorce, here's one reason to stick around for a little while--at least if your spouse earns more money than you do.

Under current Social Security laws, a divorced spouse can get benefits on a former husband's or wife's Social Security record if the marriage lasted at least ten years. The divorced spouse must be 62 years of age or older and unmarried.

If the spouse has been divorced at least two years, he or she can get benefits on account of the worker's record, even if the worker is not retired. However, the worker must have enough credits to qualify for benefits and be age 62 or older. The amount of benefits a divorced spouse can receive has no effect on the amount of benefits a current spouse can receive.
Here are a few factors to consider:

  • You may be entitled to more Social Security benefits on your own record than on your ex-spouse's record if you have a more consistent work history than your ex-spouse and if you have typically earned more money.

  • If you are substantially younger than 62 you may well be skeptical about whether the Social Security system will be around in its current form by the time it is your turn to collect your benefits.

  • The rule requires you to remain single--but it may be more advantageous for you to marry rather than remaining single simply to preserve the right to these benefits.

For additional information see Social Security Online.

The Renton law firm of Mogren, Glessner & Roti, represents clients in a variety of family law cases, including divorce. Please visit our web page at for more information.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Washington Interrogatories

Interrogatories are part of the discovery process in a legal action. Discovery is where the attorneys are trying to find out information from the other party about their case. It may be information that is helpful to maintaining your case, or helpful in defending you case.

Interrogatories are simply written questions, that must be answered in writing under oath. The receiving party has 30 days to answer the interrogatories. Sometimes interrogatories are paired with Request for Production of Documents, that requires the party to submit copies of relevant documents.

If you have been served with Interrogatories, it is wise to have an attorney review them before submitting them to the other party.

The Renton law firm of Mogren, Glessner & Roti, represents clients in a variety of family law cases. We typically send Interrogatories to the other party as part of the discovery process. Please visit our web page at for more information.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Decision Making in Washington Parenting Plans

Parents have the responsibility to make decisions and perform other parental functions necessary for the care and growth of their minor children. In Washington, a Parenting Plan contains a provision for decision making authority. The Parenting Plan allocates decision making authority solely to one parent or jointly to both parties regarding the child's education, health care, religious upbringing, and other major decisions (which include joining the military, marriage, drivers license, body piercing, tattoos, etc.). The parties may incorporate an agreement related to the care and growth of the child in these specified areas, or in other areas, into their Parenting Plan. Regardless of the allocation of decision-making in the Parenting Plan, either parent may make emergency decisions affecting the health or safety of the child. Each parent may make decisions regarding the day-to-day care and control of the child while the child is residing with that parent.

When mutual decision making is designated but cannot be achieved, the parties shall make a good-faith effort to resolve the issue through the dispute resolution process, as provided for in the Parenting Plan. This may involve counseling, mediation or arbitration. If this does not resolve the issue, then the parties may bring a motion in court to resolve the dispute.

The Renton law firm of Mogren, Glessner & Roti, represents clients in a variety of family law cases, including establishing Parenting Plans in family law actions. Please visit our web page at for more information.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Washington Spousal Maintenance

In Washington, the concept of alimony was replaced with spousal maintenance. Maintenance is based upon what the court ultimately determines is just, including the resources of the party requesting maintenance including the assets to be received and the need for child support, time needed to get training to become employable, the standard of living established during the relationship, the duration of the relationship, the age and condition (physical, emotional or financial) of the party requesting maintenance, and the ability of the paying spouse to meet his/her needs while paying maintenance.

There are always two issues that need to be addressed with spousal maintenance. The first is how much, and the second is how long. Unfortunately there is no scientific formula to determine either of these. It is more of an art than it is a science. A good, experienced family law attorney can give you an idea of what you might expect from your trial judge.

The Renton law firm of Mogren, Glessner & Roti, represents clients in a variety of family law cases, including determining spousal maintenance is divorce actions. Please visit our web page at for more information.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Post Secondary Education Expense

With high school graduations taking place, it it time to consider the issue of paying for college expenses. In Washington, the court does not have the authority to order a married couple to pay for the children's college education, it is left up to the parents to decide, what if any, contribution to make.

In the event of a divorce, the court has the authority to determine post-secondary education. It is basically the continuation of child support beyond age 18 or graduation from high school, although the method of computation is different. The first issue the court must decide, is whether or not to order it. Factors the court considers is whether the parents went to college and whether they would have contributed had there not been a divorce. In most cases today, the court orders the parents to contribute.

The second issue, is how much the parties must pay. There is not a set formula, it is up to the parties to agree, or the court to determine what is reasonable. Typically, the court will cap the expense at the cost of attending the University of Washington. This way the child can attend any school they want, but if they go out of state or to private school, the parents are not obligated to pay beyond the cost of the local public institution. If the child attends a lesser expensive institution, the actual cost would be used. The court will usually use the posted cost of attendance at the institution for tuition, room and board, fees, transportation and personal expenses.

The big issue is frequently how to split the expense. It is typically split between the parents based upon their comparative net incomes. The bigger question is typically how much, if any, the child should pay. The answer depends upon the trial judge, it all depends.

It is important to remember that you must make a formal court request for post-secondary education support before the underlying obligation of support terminates.

The Renton law firm of Mogren, Glessner & Roti, represents clients in a variety of family law cases, including post secondary education and Child Support Modification actions. Please visit our web page at for more information.