Family Law, Wills & Probate
Family law affects us all, and when it does, the issues are often emotionally difficult and legally complex. When a household breaks apart, or when a loved one dies, the future can appear uncertain at a time when your budget is stressed and you need legal help.
When you hire us, you will receive individualized attention and direct, honest advice to help you make informed and unemotional decisions about the legal issues you face. Because we are a small boutique law firm, we provide our clients more cost-effective legal services than larger firms that heavily invest in advertising, staff overhead, and training new lawyers.
Our lawyers have decades of combined experience representing people in all areas of family law, including divorces, prenuptial agreements, custody and parenting time disputes, spousal and child support, adoptions, guardianships, wills and probate matters. We handle family law cases in the northwest part of Oregon (Counties of Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill).
Our emphasis on family law began in the 1980s when the technology boom created a need for attorneys who understood asset division for high-income individuals, which often includes such complex assets as restricted stock units, stock options and stock appreciation rights. Whether we represent the high-income employee or his or her spouse, we take great care to ensure that all compensation, benefits and assets are accurately valued and distributed so your case can be resolved equitably and correctly the first time. A well-crafted divorce agreement will fairly share the risks and tax consequences between the parties and give each spouse a firm understanding of their rights and obligations regarding these benefits. If your case falls into the minority of cases requiring a trial, we will educate the judge about the value and tax consequences of dividing these complex assets.
Family Law can be broken up into many distinct categories:
Approved by Oregon law, prenuptial agreements require special care to make sure the agreement is binding upon divorce. A well-negotiated prenuptial agreement should be tailored to the role each spouse plans to have in the relationship and provide a framework for how property acquired during the marriage will be handled. For those who choose them, these agreements are just as important as wills or trusts.
When you go through a divorce, the major issues often include whether to award spousal support and how much should be paid, and the division of your and your spouse’s property and debts. If you have children, then your divorce will also involve a determination of which parent will have custody, the schedule for visitation (called parenting time), and the amount of child support.
Whether you will pay or receive spousal support, and how much, can be very complex. We will give you frank advice on whether spousal support is appropriate, how you can protect your interests, and what range of support will likely be awarded by a judge if the case is ultimately litigated.
Division of Property and Debts
Property division is more complex than “divide everything in half.” Not all assets are the same and mistakes in this area can be very costly for clients. We will explain the difference between the various kinds of property, including retirement packages, and how they can be divided correctly.
Particularly for high-asset and high-income individuals, and their spouses, property division can be complicated. Compensation routinely includes a base salary, bonuses, stock options, stock purchase plans, restricted stock units, and different kinds of retirement accounts. Each form of compensation has different characteristics and tax consequences. Owning a business, or having more unique sources of income, such as from family trusts, intellectual property rights, mineral rights, etc., also presents complications. We take pride in our well-rounded experience with complicated property division, and we are well-equipped to advise you regarding the division of these assets in your divorce case.
Child Custody and Support
No one knows your children better than you. Judges say, and we agree, that the best arrangement is one developed by the parents. We can assist you in formulating your plan for custody and parenting time. For those cases that cannot be resolved by agreement, we will litigate custody and parenting time disputes.
Collaborative Divorce & Custody Cases
To learn more about the Collaborative process, read Collaborative Practice: An Overview co-authored by Lauren E. Walchli.
We represent individuals in uncontested step-parent or grandparent adoptions.
At times, it is necessary for either a minor child or an incapacitated adult to have a legal guardian to make medical, financial, or other decisions. We represent individuals seeking to obtain guardianship in order to protect such a person’s interests.
Wills & Probate
We have extensive experience in both drafting wills and estate plans, as well as probating the wills of deceased individuals.