Frequently Asked Questions...
What will I be charged for attorney fees?
In this economic climate, we are very sensitive to costs. We work with you to figure out what you may be able to handle by yourself and what you may need our assistance with — sometimes you may need just a little advice. We provide that help and advice in a manner that is as cost-effective to you as possible, using our expertise and experience. Most cases are charged on a per-hour basis, and your attorney will inform you of that charge. Some cases are handled on a flat fee basis or a contingent fee basis. Your attorney will be happy to explain this in more detail and answer any questions you may have with regard to attorney fees.
Can I use a credit card to make a payment on my account or for an advance fee deposit?
Yes, we are happy to take a payment or advance fee deposit from you using your credit card. We take VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express credit cards. For your convenience, you may fill out the Credit Card Authorization Form you received with your billing statement and mail it to us at 120 East First Street, Aberdeen, WA 98520, or if you prefer, you can call our office, and we will be happy to take your payment information over the phone.
Can I meet with a firm attorney without having to come up with a large advance fee deposit?
Yes, we will gladly sit down and consult with you about your case/issues and charge you for our time and advice either on a hourly basis or some other flat-fee arrangement. Once we have set up a file and established an attorney-client relationship, we will be available to you to consult with you on an as-needed basis. Thereafter, any time that you would like us to appear in your case, we would require a further discussion about arranging and paying an advance fee deposit.
I received a speeding ticket or other traffic infraction, how can you help me?
Our firm represents clients charged with speeding tickets and all types of other infractions. The most common moving infractions are speeding violations or driving too fast for conditions. We also represent clients who receive non-moving infractions. Some common examples of these types of violations include: over-weight limit violations for commercial truck drivers, failure to wear a seat belt, no insurance (or proof of insurance), and negligent driving. Whether your infraction is a moving or non-moving violation, our attorneys provide creative solutions and trial tactics for you to avoid a potential increase in your car insurance rates or a negative impact on your driving record.
I was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), what should I expect and how can you help me?
For most of our clients, being arrested and charged with a DUI is one of the most devastating events they will ever have to face, but it can happen to anyone. Our firm has several attorneys with a significant amount of experience, knowledge and expertise in handling DUIs. We provide the highest quality legal representation and service to each client while reducing the stress and anxiety of a DUI charge. We will stand by you through every step of the criminal process with the courts and the administrative proceeding to suspend or revoke your driver’s license with the Department of Licensing. We will also advise you of what actions you can take to help your case and by always being available to answer your questions regarding your case. We are prepared to challenge DUI evidence through pretrial motions that can lead to a resolution short of going through a trial. If a trial is necessary, our trial lawyers are committed and prepared to defend you to obtain the best possible results.
I was injured in an accident, is there any way to recover my costs and other monies?
There may be a way to recover costs and other monies. Fault, insurance, and the type of costs and monies claimed all have a bearing on whether or not a recovery is available. You need to seek the advice of a lawyer to properly evaluate your claim.
My renters have stopped paying rent, how do I collect the monies owed and get them to move out?
There are many rules that must be followed with regard to rental properties. You need to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any questions at all regarding the rules and your rights under RCW 59.18, the Washington Residential Landlord Tenant Act. If the rental is a commercial rental or mobile home site rental, other laws in Washington may apply.
I am thinking about divorcing my spouse, how do I get started?
Please call our office to speak with someone that can discuss your issues with you and/or set up an appointment for a more in-depth discussion. Even if you are not ready to get started with filing for a divorce or legal separation at this time, there are many things to think about and consider in the days, weeks, or months leading up to filing an action.
Can I get a divorce without an attorney?
Yes, you may proceed with any and all family law related matters without an attorney. You can consult with one of our attorneys about your issues at any phase of the proceedings and still continue to represent yourself in court. At any point that you feel the complexity of the issues requires the expertise of an attorney, we can appear and handle some or all of the pending issues.
How much does it cost to get a divorce?
This question is virtually impossible to answer. The facts and issues in every divorce – or any family law case – are so different and varied that there is no such thing as a standard or straight-forward divorce. We evaluate each situation individually and would require some amount for an advance fee deposit before taking on your case and/or appearing before the court. We bill our time in family law cases on an hourly basis. Hourly rates vary from firm to firm and area to area. Our hourly rates are based upon the experience of our attorneys and are reasonable within our community. You may discuss the advance fee deposit amounts and the hourly rate with the attorney you speak with when setting up an appointment.
If my spouse and I have reached an agreement in settlement of the issues in our divorce, can we hire one attorney to draft the paperwork?
While it would be a conflict of interest for one attorney to represent both parties in a divorce case, it is a common practice for one of the parties to hire an attorney to do the drafting of the paperwork and to ensure that proper technical and procedural aspects of the case are addressed, and for the other party to be unrepresented. If all or substantially all of the issues in your case are resolved, the paperwork can be put together by our office, as your attorneys, and presented to your spouse for consideration and review. We always advise the unrepresented spouse to take the time to review everything with an attorney of their choosing. Whether they actually do that is up to them. Normally in these types of cases, all of the paperwork is prepared, reviewed, and signed by both parties. The original starting documents are then filed with the court, while the final agreed paperwork is held in the attorney’s file until the minimum 90-day waiting period expires and then the attorney takes the final papers – without the need for participation by one of the parties – to court and has the divorce finalized. Both you and your now ex-spouse will be notified of the finalization of the divorce and provided with copies of the papers.
Can we hire one of the firm attorneys to arbitrate/mediate any disputes between my ex-spouse and me?
Most of our attorneys have many years of experience in various areas of the law. Aside from mandatory arbitration and mediation cases under local court rules where we are assigned by the Court to hear a matter, we would be able to help you with your proceedings by acting as a privately hired mediator or an arbitrator on any phase of your case. In the family law area, this most often arises in a post-decree scenario under the terms of the alternative dispute resolution section of a current parenting plan. We are, however, also available to come in at any point in your case to help resolve and settle the matter and/or specific issues.
If I need a Will or other estate planning services, how do I get started?
Advance preparation is the key to effective estate planning to ensure that your assets will be handled and your loved ones cared for in the manner that you desire. The first step is to prepare a list of all the assets and liabilities you have. Next, you will want to make a list of people you want to share in your estate. Please call us with any questions and/or to set up an appointment so that we may sit down with you and discuss all the options and ensure that your estate planning goals are met.
I am having surgery and was told I need a Health Care Directive or Medical Power of Attorney. What is that and do you provide that service?
A “Health Care Directive” lets your physician and family and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or do not want at the end of life, such as your desire for artificial nutrition and hydration. By considering your options early, you can ensure the quality of life that is important to you and avoid having your family “guess” your wishes or having to make critical medical care decisions for you under stress or in emotional turmoil.
A “Medical Power of Attorney” gives a specific person or persons the authority to choices for you should you be incapacitated or unable to make decisions on your own with regard to your medical care. You select who should handle your health care choices and discuss the matter with them. You could name a spouse, relative, or someone else you trust.
Our attorneys are very familiar with both forms and, with a little bit of information from you, can prepare either of these types of documents fairly promptly.
My mother just passed away. How do I know whether a probate is needed to take care of everything?
Whether a probate is needed or not depends upon the nature of the decedent’s estate. Please call our office and we can review the assets and liabilities of the decedent with you and advise you as to whether you need to probate the estate or if other options are available.