When you are dealing with a criminal prosecution, a family law matter, or an accident case in Seattle, you should consult a lawyer whom you can trust. The legal system contains many pitfalls for someone unfamiliar with it, and the last thing you want is to jeopardize your well-being by making an avoidable mistake. At Blair & Kim, our attorneys have 40 years of combined experience protecting your rights, your freedom, and your future.Compassionate Guidance for Individuals Dissolving a Marriage
Attorney Sara Kim, who handles our firm's family law practice, has provided representation in thousands of cases over the last two decades. She focuses on collaborative resolutions but can also offer aggressive advocacy during divorces that warrant it.
Washington is a community property state. This means that everything you earn and the property you acquire during a marriage, other than gifts or inheritances, are community property. The court will split community property equally during a divorce. Similarly, all the debts that your spouse or you accrued during the marriage are community debts that belong to both of you, and they must be split equally. Usually, each of you can keep as separate property the assets you acquired alone and brought into the marriage. However, in some unusual cases, the court may divide separate property as well, based on how long the marriage lasted, each spouse's financial situation, and the nature and extent of the community property and the separate property. With the help of an experienced family law attorney, your spouse and you may be able to decide on a written separation agreement so that the court does not make these decisions for you.
In Washington, courts use "the best interests of the child" as the basis for their child custody determinations. Judges review each parent's capacity to maintain a loving and stable relationship with the kids, provide for their basic needs as well as their emotional needs, use sound judgment, and financially support them. If your spouse and you decide to agree on a parenting plan, the court will review the plan to make sure you considered your children's best interests.Protecting Your Rights against the Prosecution
Attorney Mark Blair handles our office's criminal defense cases. Two common types of charges in the state of Washington are offenses related to domestic violence or DUI. Any case involving an allegation of domestic violence will be labeled as such and taken very seriously. There is a mandatory arrest law in this situation.
Under RCW 26.50.010, domestic violence may involve bodily injury, assault, physical harm, or making someone fear imminent physical harm when the alleged victim and perpetrator are in the same family or household. It also includes sexual assault or stalking within a family or household. These relationships are broadly defined to include people such as adults related by marriage or blood, spouses, former spouses, domestic partners, former domestic partners and those who have a child in common, persons 16 years of age or older who are presently residing together, and people with legal parent-child or biological relationships, including stepparents and grandparents.
The state also takes allegations of drunk driving very seriously. There is an implied consent law, which provides that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you are subject to an automatic license suspension and a fine. Whether you may be subject to jail time for a DUI conviction depends on the number of prior DUI offenses you have, whether you took a breath test, and the outcome of your breath test. Aggravating factors, which can increase your sentence, include whether a defendant is a risk to the community, whether there was an accident, whether children were in the car at the time of the DUI, and any prior criminal convictions that the defendant may have.Seeking Compensation for an Accident
Most often, accidents are the result of negligence. For example, a car crash may be the result of a driver who is texting instead of paying attention to the road. A truck accident may be the result of a trucker who failed to obey the hours of service rules. A slip and fall on someone else's property may be caused by a negligent failure to repair a dangerous condition, such as a broken balcony railing or a cracked sidewalk.
Sometimes both the accident victim and another party are at fault. Washington follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. Under this rule, the jury will determine the total damages sustained by the plaintiff and assign a percentage of fault to both the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff's recovery of damages will then be reduced by an amount equal to his or her degree of fault.
Each case is unique, but these are some economic and noneconomic damages that often tend to be sought in a personal injury lawsuit. Some of these include property damage, lost wages, lost earning capacity, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, out-of-pocket costs, rehabilitation costs, and medical bills.Civil Protection Orders
Civil protection orders may be granted in situations involving domestic violence, sexual assault, vulnerable adults, or harassment more generally. Washington laws specifically define the grounds under which each of these four types of civil protection orders may be sought. It is important to be aware that the burden of proof for obtaining a civil protection order is lower than the burden of proof for sustaining a criminal charge. As in many other civil matters, the person seeking an order only needs to demonstrate that it is more likely than not to be appropriate. Our civil protection order lawyers can help Seattle residents build evidence to show the need for an order in their situation, or we can help them tell their side of the story to prove that an order would be unwarranted.Consult a Seattle Lawyer when Facing Charges or Pursuing a Divorce
Divorce proceedings, negligence claims, and criminal prosecutions involve high stakes, and the decisions made in these cases may affect your life for many years to come. The experienced family law, injury, and criminal defense attorneys at Blair & Kim can provide Seattle residents with sophisticated legal representation. We also can assist individuals in Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and throughout Kings County. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form to set up a free consultation.
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