practice areas 2014-03-06T19:29:41+00:00

Divorce and family law disputes can be the most difficult, contentious and divisive experience a person will ever have. Collaborative Law is a new model for people to work as a team with attorneys and other appropriate professionals to resolve their disputes without going to court. Litigation is a win-lose paradigm; generally speaking, it is a winner take all system. Collaborative Law is a win-win paradigm; it is designed to develop solutions that meet the legitimate needs of both parties. The solutions are created by the clients, not the courts. Each party has the support, advice and protection of their own lawyer and yet neither party uses their lawyer as a weapon against the other. The lawyers and their clients, along with any allied professionals that the team determines are necessary, will work toward mutually acceptable and beneficial settlement without turning decision making authority over to a judge. The process requires all parties to be transparent and to disclose all relevant information. Solutions are reached that address the highest priorities of both clients.

Children are the greatest recipient of the benefits of this process, and everyone wins when they keep control over their own process of divorce or other dispute and retain their dignity, respect and compassion for the other individual in the process.

There are many advantages of the collaborative process over traditional litigation:
You control the process, not your lawyers and the judges.
Children are less likely to be negatively affected by a divorce handled collaboratively.
You and the other party create the solutions to solve your legal problems with the advice of the Collaborative team.
The process fosters mutual respect among the parties and maintains personal and family dignity.
Transparency and open communication removes the scary aspect of litigation where both parties appear to be holding their cards to gain an advantage.
You and the other party will learn skills for communicating that will be useful long after the process is over.
The process allows you to end one phase of your life with dignity while you safely move in to a new phase, without damaging yourself, your children or the other party in the process.
Successful collaborative cases are less likely to return to court in the future for modifications or contested issues.
Parties feel more positive about their participation and the results from the process than in traditional litigation.

For further questions about Collaborative Law call us today and click here for general information from the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. We also have more information on collaborative law at our Resources and Links page.

We represent people in simple and complex divorces, including cases with child custody and parenting issues, disagreements about child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), property division, and debt allocation.

We are adept in navigating the valuation and division of large community estates, closely-held businesses, retirement and employment benefits, and real estate.

We have handled matters involving complex issues of spousal maintenance and child support, including unique areas of family law that have been appealed to the Washington Court Appeals or Washington Supreme Court for further review.

Our clients have included small business owners and their spouses, faced with the complexities of dividing the community interest in family businesses.

We have effectively represented clients in contested child custody and parenting plan matters, including interstate and international custody disputes. We approach such situations with a profound respect for our clients and their children in the most difficult of situations. We understand our responsibility not only to advocate for our clients but to protect and advance the best interest of the children involved. Weight Law Offices has skillfully represented many people in divorce cases.

For those clients not seeking a divorce, we can navigate them through the process of a legal separation, which involves the same issues as a divorce. This includes valuation of and division of property and debt, child custody and parenting issues, maintenance and child support awards.

The process for a legal separation is almost identical to a divorce except that there are some important timeline differences and, of course, at the end, the parties remain married, but court orders are entered to protect the parties’ rights and delineate the outcome of the issues.

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We represent people in simple and complex divorces, including cases with child custody and parenting issues, disagreements about child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), property division, and debt allocation.

We are adept in navigating the valuation and division of large community estates, closely-held businesses, retirement and employment benefits, and real estate.

We have handled matters involving complex issues of spousal maintenance and child support, including unique areas of family law that are appealed to the Washington Court Appeals or Washington Supreme Court for further review.

Our clients have included small business owners and their spouses, faced with the complexities of dividing the community interest in family businesses.

We have effectively represented clients in contested child custody and parenting plan matters, including interstate and international custody disputes. We approach such situations with a profound respect for our clients and their children in the most difficult of situations. We understand our responsibility not only to advocate for our clients but to protect and advance the best interest of the children involved. Weight Law Offices has skillfully represented people in legal separation cases.

Invalid marriages are rare, but we have handled them as well. These cases are similar to divorce actions in their particulars, about which we are skilled and experienced. Weight Law Offices has skillfully represented people in invalid marriage cases.

A paternity or parentage action is brought when either a man or a woman wishes to establish a child’s legal parentage for couples who were not married or in the case where a married couple questions the paternity of the child. Once the court determines who the legal parents of a child are, it can then determine custody, visitation, and child support. Weight Law Offices has skillfully represented many people in paternity cases.

We have effectively represented hundreds of clients in contested child custody and parenting plan matters. As a result of our substantial experience, we can offer clients proven strategies in negotiating and litigating these cases. We approach our custody and parenting plan cases with intensity and respect. We recognize our responsibility not only to our clients, but also to promote and protect the best interests of children.

On a daily basis we have clients who are struggling with contested child custody and parenting plan issues. Our extensive litigation and communication experience provides us with the skill, insight, and knowledge necessary to help clients navigate this most difficult of issues. We approach these situations with a profound respect for our clients and their children in the most difficult of situations. We understand our responsibility not only to advocate for our clients but to protect and advance the best interest of the children involved.

Given the impact litigation has on children, we cautiously and thoroughly review with our clients the strengths and weaknesses of their case and the needs of their children before initiating or responding to any case involving the custody or parenting of their children. We focus on the importance of striving for agreed resolutions, wherever possible, when children are involved. We are prepared as well to take any matter to court that requires court intervention. Our priority is on giving each client all the necessary information to make an informed and intelligent decision for their children’s welfare. Once the client has decided the appropriate course of action for the case, we effectively handle the matter from start to finish with professionalism and outstanding results. Weight Law Offices has skillfully represented many people in contested child custody cases.

Weight Law Offices is well versed in handling all matters of child support. We have handled hundreds of cases dealing with establishing and enforcing child support obligations.

In this area we have experience proving actual income for persons who are self-employed or who otherwise have difficult to determine income. We help people with both high and low incomes in establishing a proper support amount. At times, clients need assistance seeking or defending a request for back support. Some child support cases require garnishment of wages or international collection of arrearages. Other times, support may be set too high and adjustments should be made for changes in income or ages of the children.

In the area of post-secondary support, we have been successful in obtaining orders providing for the support of children in college. We have experiences as well in issues of children with special needs, extraordinary expenses, and long-distance travel.

We are qualified to help you determine if post-secondary support is appropriate for your children. After divorce or separation, one parent might seek to have the other parent court-ordered to provide a specific amount of support for the children’s college education. We have counseled clients about their rights and responsibilities to provide college support in addition to their options and potential outcomes in court. We can help you review your child’s situation, the costs involved, and the resources available to provide support. At Weight Law Offices, we steer clients wherever possible to negotiated settlements and are prepared to bring or respond to such requests in court.

After final parenting plans are entered in divorces or parentage cases, modification actions can be brought in certain circumstances. Modification actions are highly detailed and require a thorough working knowledge of the law and facts of a situation. Weight Law Offices is experienced in assisting people who believe a modification of a parenting plan is in their children’s best interests. Sometimes a minor modification is needed to smooth problems created under a current plan, other situations may require a major modification. In any situation, Weight Law Offices will guide you in deciding what action is best for your child and what assistance the law can provide.

Modifications of child support orders can be handled for those for whom the current orders are unworkable or for those for whom the law allows a modification. Weight Law Offices will guide you in determining if a child support modification action is appropriate for you and take you through the process with skill.

Weight Law Offices has successfully represented clients in relocation cases. When a parent wants to move with his or her child, or prevent the other parent from doing so, there are specific legal steps that must be taken with care. These difficult cases involve a variety of information that can require investigation and case preparation in order to be successful. We have both advocated for and defended against relocations. Weight Law Offices can help you advocate for your children’s best interests.
Weight Law Offices is uniquely situated among Bellingham attorneys for appellate practice. We apply our 25 years of courtroom experience to follow your case on appeal, if necessary. We stand by our clients if a case goes beyond the trial court, and we continue to use our extensive litigation skills on our client’s behalf to continue a case until it is fully and finally resolved. We have appealed a unique variety of cases to the Superior Court, the Washington Court of Appeals, the Washington State Supreme Court, Louisiana State Supreme Court, Virginia Supreme Court, the Virginia Court of Appeals, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. We have extensive written and oral advocacy skills to bring to bear in any appellate case, and have achieved outstanding results on appeal for our clients. If you need a Bellingham lawyer for any appeal, Weight Law Offices will be there for you.
Weight Law Offices has had the pleasure of representing clients in adoption proceedings. We can help you navigate this process toward parenthood. We will analyze with you the circumstances of your family and the prospective adoptive child and the likelihood of success. Creation of a new family through adoption is usually a joyous event and Weight Law Offices is uniquely situated to help you navigate the process.

There are times when a someone other than a parent decides that he or she needs to obtain custody of a child who is not being adequately cared for by his or her parents. Typically these actions are brought by grandparents, other relatives of the children, or someone who has been a primary care-giver to the child.

We handle these cases with the care they deserve, placing the children at the center of our initial discussions about what has been happening and what is best for the child. As in every case, we review the strengths and weaknesses of moving forward in court so that the clients can make informed decisions. Whenever children are at issue, we believe an agreed resolution should be the first priority and we strive, wherever possible, to help clients obtain such a solution. However, many non-parental custody cases involve broken families and often need court intervention. We have achieved great success in obtaining custody for non-parents in many cases and helped to keep many children safe and secure in the process. We bring experience and knowledge to the situation so that each client can make a decision about what is in their best interests and the best interests of the child. Weight Law Offices will provide you with an experience trial attorney in Bellingham for any third party custody case in Whatcom County.

Weight Law Offices has represented people in ending non-marital relationships (also called meretricious relationships and domestic partnerships). We have extensive experience in litigation involving non-traditional family relationships, dealing with property issues. This is a rapidly changing area of law where the Washington State Legislature recently enacted sweeping new rules into this field. We use our 25 years of legal experience to make sure the research in such fast-paced areas of law is current and utilized to suit each client’s specific needs. You can confidently consult with a Bellingham lawyer at Weight Law Offices for all issues of domestic partnership (including estate planning).

Weight Law Offices was also the first office in Whatcom County to bring a De Facto Parentage case where a non-biological parent sought the right to continue a relationship with a child of a long-term dating relationship. (Pursuant to the holding of In re L.B., 155 Wn. 2d 679 (2005)).

Weight Law Offices has represented clients in drafting and signing prenuptial, postnuptial, and co-habitation agreements. We have also litigated enforcement of such agreements. These agreements do not just protect wealthy individuals and are a wise idea for anyone entering a marriage, long-term relationship or seeking to protect assets after marriage. We strongly believe that amicable agreements serve to maintain relationships while protecting each person’s separate interests.

Our experience also shows that improperly drafted agreements, or subsequent disputes, often lead to undue litigation in the future. Many cases unnecessarily end up in court because good legal work was not done right in the first place. Enforcement, interpretation and appeal of prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation agreements is an area of expertise for the lawyers at Weight Law Offices, located in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington.

Weight Law Offices has extensive litigation experience and is available for a variety of general litigation. Contact us to find out more.
Our extensive litigation experience uniquely prepares us to litigate will contests, trust and probate litigation.