Anne L. W. Gould
Attorney ~ Guardian ad Litem ~ Mediator ~ Seattle, WA

Experience a Caring, Respectful,
Solutions-Oriented Family Law Attorney

(206) 623-1719 

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Located in North Seattle
Easy Access and Free Parking
West Seattle Meeting Space Available

9500 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite #301.
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 623-1719


Family Law Attorney
:

Assisting people in many areas including:

Guardian ad Litem / Parenting Evaluator:

Anne has worked as a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) for children who's parents cannot agree on their residential schedule, and as a Parenting Evaluator as well. In these roles, she assists in providing a resolution which will meet the children's needs.

   


Mediator / Collaborative Law Practitioner:

Mediation: I assist people who wish to resolve their disagreements, and solve their issues without resorting to the court system.  This can be for a single issue, or for their entire family law matter. 

I act as the Mediator, to bring you both to an agreement.  In this role, I work with either parties who have attorneys, or unrepresented parties, but I do not represent either one of you.  No contract to prevent going to court is signed, I have no power to force either one of you to agree and the process is entirely voluntary.

Collaborative Law: A contractually agreed upon alternative to litigation.  Normally completed as a "team approach," collaboratively trained attorneys and other professionals will work with you and your partner in a child centered approach to resolving family issues. 

Financial specialists, communications coaches, child specialists, or others may be part of the team.  Our goal is to create a durable, well considered, future for your family. 

In a fully "Collaborative" case, each party agrees that if the matter cannot be settled out of court, the collaborative attorney they have hired will cease representation, and a new litigation attorney will be hired. 

Many cases are collaborative in  nature, without a full Collaborative Representation Contract being signed.  See Resources for further Information.

              

Definitions:

Divorce –“Dissolution of Marriage”

Washington is a “no fault” divorce state. One spouse may request a divorce without having to prove the other guilty of any wrongful conduct. If one party states the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and the required procedures are completed, the court will grant the divorce. The trend today, is for the courts to look at divorce in economic rather than moral terms. If you or your spouse files for divorce, the question is how to proceed, not whether or not a divorce will be granted. We call a divorce “dissolution of marriage” in Washington.  Spousal support or alimony may be a part of your settlement.

Collaborative Divorce

This is a team approach to making decisions to the benefit of the family as your family transitions from a ‘unit’ into separate parts. In a Collaborative matter, the partners agree not to go to Court.  They are assisted by a team of professional and make decisions jointly, without the Court deciding outcomes for them.  A settlement is negotiated where both parties’ needs are met, without litigation.  The parties agree to an open exchange of relevant information.  The resolutions are intended to meet each parties needs in the best manner possible, and in particular, to assist in the ongoing co-parenting relationship that many couples wish to keep.   If the parties cannot come to agreement, after having signed a Collaborative Law contract, they will have to find new attorneys in order to go to court for their divorce.

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Custody – Parenting Plans

Washington State uses a ‘parenting plan’ to set forth the children’s care after a family has separated or divorced.  This plan sets forth where your children will reside each day of the year.  “Custody” in Washington is normally shared via a Parenting Plan, though in some cases a person may the sole custodian for their child.  Unusual schedules can be challenging, and Parenting Plans, while intended to be easy to create, can have unknown landmines which should be learned of and avoided. Throughout my career I have helped craft hundreds of Parenting Plans for people with many different needs, and have worked on ‘joint’ custody matters as well as very restricted visitation situations (“sole custody”).

After a Parenting Plan has been entered, sometimes it needs to be modified.  This can occur due to a move by one parent, or a situation in which abuse occurs (of children, drugs, or alcohol). A modification can be needed when the child is not doing well due to new influences in one or both households. This can also occur when a Parenting Plan simply is not working for the child(ren), and the parties have changed what they are actually doing, and a written record of the changed circumstances is warranted.  A whole different legal standard is applied when one person wishes to modify their parenting plan, and the other person does not.

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Child Support

Children’s financial needs and the responsibility for those needs are set forth in an Order of Child Support.  The support documents review the parties’ financial circumstances and divides the financial responsibility for children between their parents. There are many specific facts and circumstances that can affect how a determination of child support is made.  Once child support has been set, it can be adjusted or modified later based on the changes of income or circumstances of the parties, as well as the ages of the children, and their changing financial needs. 

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Division of Property

Part of the divorce or separation process includes the division of property owned by the parties.  Division of property can occur if parties were married, were registered or unregistered domestic partners, or even in some cases if they simply lived together.  If a business is created – particularly if such a business was run by both parties, or an entire family, this creates the need for particularly delicate treatment of the circumstances.  “Property” may include land, houses, financial accounts, furniture and many other items.  Emotional connections that people have to their personal property may far outweigh the financial value of these items, and often is the hardest part of the division of property between households.

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Paternity - Parentage

A “Paternity” case is one in which parents of a child were unmarried at the time of the child’s birth. A Parentage action or Paternity case may be brought in order to establish the financial responsibilities for a child and the residential schedule or parenting plan for a child.  These matters may mirror the issues of a divorce and parenting plan, but sometimes paternity cases may be quite different.  In some cases paternity testing may be required, to determine if a man is the father of a child. In other cases the facts and circumstances that have occurred may create a ‘presumed’ father.

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Pre Nuptial Agreements / Post Nuptial Agreements / Separate & Community Property Agreements

For many couples, particularly those with children from prior relationships, or who are in different stages of life, an agreement spelling out their wishes regarding finances is a better solution than signing the ‘blind contract’ that is marriage in a community property state.  If the agreement is signed before they marry, it is often referred to as a pre-nup.  Financial agreements made after marriage are referred to as ‘post nuptial’ agreements. 

For same-sex partners, the laws on Domestic Partnership apply rather than marital law, however given the changing nature of these laws; an agreement that sets forth their wishes is often sought.  Whether a ‘single item’ is carved out as the separate property of one person, or every penny that is earned is discussed, the financial ramifications of a marriage or marriage like relationship can be more fully understood if parties review and create an agreement that meets their needs. 

A consultation to learn what the Community Property Laws of Washington State includes can also help parties decide that in their circumstances, no contract beyond the marriage contract is  needed. 

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Domestic Partnership

Domestic partnerships provide legal recognition of same-sex couples. In some states, one can become a registered domestic partner as a same sex couple or an opposite sex couple. Many people find themselves in un-official (not registered) domestic partnerships; have children, assets and debts without having been married. Whether you are in a registered domestic partnership, an unregistered domestic partnership, or are contemplating how official your relationship should become, the issues can be complex.

Benefits available to a domestic partner are very similar to those available to a married spouse, but often differ in a few key areas. Many people wish to create their own partnership agreement, due to the changing nature of this area of law. A consultation or contract may be something you and your partner wish to have.

Likewise, you may need to dissolve your existing partnership. Support for your partner, sometimes called "palimony" which is similar to spousal support, may be a part of your financial settlement. 

Whether you are creating or dissolving your partnership, compassionate advice is key.

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Limited Representation – Un-bundled Services – Self Help assistance

Many people cannot afford full legal representation, but need help on portions of their cases.  My office often assists individuals who wish to represent themselves, or who cannot afford full representation. A person who acts on their own behalf in court is referred to as “Pro Se” or “for himself.”  I provide people with document drafting or review, or with limited representation (the courts call this “un-bundled services”). 

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Meditation

In Mediation parties attempt to reach an agreement outside of court with the help of at least one neutral individual. The mediator does not make decisions, nor does the mediator represent either party.  As a Mediator, I work with both parties to help them find common ground for agreement, and help them turn those final agreements into the needed documents for their matter. See article Why Mediate?  There is no contract not to go to court that is used – and often “litigated” divorces are solved in Mediation.

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Friends Mean Well, But...

A brief word of advice; well meaning friends and relatives may give you ‘wrong’ advice.  Often, they will reinforce your feelings of anger towards your spouse.  Their advice may be comforting for the moment, but often it will not put your legal or family problem into perspective.  Get expert assistance from professionals who know how to help you.  At the point that divorce appears to be inevitable, the objective should be to go through this difficult transition with the least difficulty and the best outcome possible.

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Helping people transition through difficult times, with skill and compassion

Anne L. W. Gould
9500 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite #301
Seattle, WA 98115

(206) 623-1719   info@AnneGould.com

Convenient Location in North Seattle - Free Parking
Serving Clients throughout the Seattle Area
in King County and Snohomish County

 Anne Gould Family Law Home Page  |   Contact Info Seattle Family Law Attorney 
 
About Us - Family Law, Mediation and Collaborative Law   |   Frequently Asked Questions 
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Disclaimer: All material on this website is for informational purposes only.  Seek the services
of a competent professional if you need legal or other specific expert assistance.

Copyright 2011 Anne L.W. Gould - all rights reserved - www.annegould.com
 

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