Practice Areas

I focus on issues involving marriages and families. 

Family law disputes are rarely only legal matters, even when the law itself is clear. Legal matters that affect the family can feel like a threat to your whole world. You have the right to have an attorney with whom you will feel comfortable. 

 

When people come to me, they find that I am dedicated to providing a calming presence in their lives. When you share the details of your situation with me, you will find that I am ready to listen. I care about the people I represent. I will help ease your mind about the hard parts of what is to come.

 

Everything you tell me, even that you came to see me at all, will be held strictly confidential. If you have a non-traditional family structure, or you or your partner are polyamorous, I am familiar with the legal issues that may arise. You should have a lawyer who is ready to help you right from the start. 

 

Together, we will get you through whatever legal matters are troubling you.

 

Divorce

 

Whether your divorce is amicable and collaborative or high-conflict and acrimonious, it is a deeply personal, life-changing decision. If you are certain you wish to file for divorce, or if you are just considering the possibility, you need a settlement lawyer to help you through the process. 

Divorce, especially if you have children, has many related legal issues, like custody and support. A lawyer will help you plan for those issues and give you the advice you need to make good decisions.

 

Child Custody

 

While many parents cooperate in sharing custody of their children, not all can. In those instances, where parents are unable to come to an agreement over custody, one or both parents can petition the court for intervention.

 

Ideally, you have a post-divorce relationship with your co-parent that allows for joint decision making, but when communication breaks down, you may need a lawyer to help you figure out how to proceed.

 

 

Courts evaluate child custody on specific, legal criteria, and having a lawyer at your side will help you navigate the process.

 

Child Support

 

In Oregon, child support is generally awarded in cases involving children younger than 18, although a support obligation may continue beyond this when certain criteria are met.

Your child support will be figured using a formula that courts presume to be correct. This one-size-fits-all approach may or may not be the right amount for you and your children. A lawyer will help you determine if special factors are present to modfiy the amount determined by the formula.

 

Spousal Support

 

Spousal support is meant to assist the supported spouse to begin again as a single person. It is typically ordered by the court to be paid for a defined period of time to enable the supported spouse to receive training or finish a degree to improve employability.

 

There are legal and tax ramifications for how spousal support is paid. A lawyer will help you come up with an amount that is in line with the local averages for couples with circumstances similar to yours.

 

Spousal support can be paid in a variety of ways, and a lawyer can help you determine which of these options will be most helpful for you. 

 

Paternity

 

When paternity is is question, it can create legal issues that must be addressed. The child's mother, a potential father, or even the state of Oregon can bring an action forcing a paternity test for a child.

 

Paternity actions can be complicated. There may be legal ramifications once paternity is positively established by a bloodtest. As the mother, you want a lawyer protecting your rights and those of your child. 

If you may be the father of a child involved in a paternity action, you also need a lawyer to help you protect your rights.

Family Law Mediation

Many families are choosing to divorce outside of formal court structures by meeting with an attorney-mediator. Mediation is a great choice some families seeking to end a marriage amicably, but the mediator doesn't represent either party in the mediation. Consulting with an outside attorney is important before you sign what the mediator drafted for you. 

The agreement should be reviewed by a lawyer familiar with both family law and mediation practice. 

Restraining Orders

 

Oregon offers two means for individuals to civilly restrain a party from unwanted contact with another person. The Family Abuse Protection Act Order is common in divorces where the marriage or the breakup has included domestic violence. Less common, but no less serious, is the Stalking Protective Order . 

 

While either order can be obtained without the assistance of an attorney, if expect to need a divorce, or other matters related to child custody, you may want to consult an attorney before you obtain an order on your own. 

If you need to defend against either order, an attorney can be the difference between a matter being upheld or dismissed. An upheld order leaves the restrained party vulnerable to escalating consequences, including jail time. Consult an attorney immediately, if you are served with a temporary restraining order of either kind.