Frequently Asked Questions...
What will I be charged for attorney fees?
Although our client list includes many companies, both large and small, we also work with several individuals and families. 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 on–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 years of experience, as well as our skilled staff. 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 and mail it to us at 120 East First Street, Aberdeen, WA 98520, or if you prefer, you can call our bookkeeper, Deborah Ross, at 360.533.2865, and she 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 with you 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 infraction is a speeding violation 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 aggressive 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 help you by standing by you and aggressively attacking 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 experienced and dedicated trial lawyers are committed and prepared to defend our clients and to obtain the best possible results for you.
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—please call us today.
My renters have stopped paying rent, how do I collect the monies owed and get them to move out?
There are many guidelines 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 guidelines 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 and tell the receptionist the basic nature of the issues you are dealing with and she will connect you 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 that can put you in the best position.
Can I get a divorce without an attorney?
Yes, you may proceed with any and all family law related matters without any attorney, what we call: pro se. 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, or the expertise required would best be handled through an attorney, we can be ready to 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 fact patterns 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 and will 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. The hourly rate varies from firm to firm and area to area. Our hourly rates are based upon the level of 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 about 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 their choice and up to them. Normally in these types of cases, all of the paperwork is prepared, reviewed and signed off by both parties. Then the original starting documents are 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 conformed 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 emphasis areas in 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 are ready, willing and able to help you expedite 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 cases and/or specific focused 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 so that your assets will be handled and your loved ones will be 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 that you want to share in your estate. Please give us a call 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, family and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or don’t want at the end of life, such as your desire for resuscitation and 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.
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.