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Virginia Monica Paula Onu
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Virginia Onu’s Answers

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  • In wa state, do I need to inform my husband that I'm moving to a different school district? Only 20 minutes apart.

    The child isn't even in school yet. Also, it isn't necessary to explain why I'm moving is it? I'm not relocating in a way that would change travel or visitation in any way. Just to a home 20 mins away.

    Virginia’s Answer

    Good morning:

    I am assuming you are divorced in the State of Washington and that there is a parenting plan entered by a Washington court currently in effect.

    Section 3.14 of your parenting plan contains a good summary of the laws that govern what notice the person with whom the child resides the majority of the time must give to every person entitled to court ordered residential time with the child.

    The type of notice required depends on whether the move is within or outside the school district. Because you are proposing to move the child outside of the school district, a more complicated notice process is involved.

    The notice must ordinarily give a brief statement of the specific reasons for the move. It is however possible to request that a court waive some of the notice requirements if you believe that your health and safety, or the health and safety of your child, could be put at risk if you disclose certain information.

    Keep in mind that the other party may object to the move, and request that the court modify the parenting plan as a result of the move and place the child primarily with them. The fact that someone can object does not of course mean they will prevail. The legal presumption is that the relocation of the child will be allowed.

    I would advise you to consult with an attorney because the relocation process can be complex. It is not possible given the limited facts provided to fully discuss the laws involved and how they apply to your particular circumstances.

    Virginia M. Onu

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  • If the custodial parent gets a DUI (along w/ other felonies) grounds to file a motion to modify current parenting plan?

    criminal history of father (defaulted as 100% custodial parent due to me being a "no show" for trial) DUI gross misdemeanor Class C Felony Domestic Violence Assault 3 Class B Felony Residential Burglary criminal history of mo...

    Virginia’s Answer

    Good afternoon:

    It's not clear from your question what type of modification you are seeking to the parenting plan. I assume based on the information you have shared that you are seeking to change the primary residence of your child, and wishing to change the parenting plan so that your child resides primarily with you.

    It can be very difficult in the state of Washington to obtain a modification that changes the primary residence of the child. In order to obtain such a modification, you have to demonstrate that on the basis of facts that have arisen since the prior plan was entered, or that were unknown to the court at the time the prior plan was entered, there has been a substantial change in the circumstance of the child or the other parent, and that the modification is not only in the best interest of the child but necessary to serve the best interest of the child.

    Even then you have to document one of the following:
    1. Agreement to the modification
    2. That the child has been integrated into your household with the agreement of the other parent in substantial deviation from the parenting plan
    3. That the child's present environment is detrimental to the child and the harm likely to be caused by a change is outweighed by the advantage
    Or
    4. That the court has found the other parent in contempt of court at least two times in the past three years due to failure to comply with the residential section of the plan or the other parent has been convicted of custodial interference.

    If the other parent has been convicted of the offenses you mention since the entry of the plan, it may be possible to argue that a substantial change in circumstance has occurred with that parent and that the child's present environment is detrimental. It is unfortunately difficult based on the limited amount of information to provide more input than this.

    I would recommend you seek a consultation with an attorney to discuss your situation further. A lot of attorneys provide a free initial consultation. During that consultation you will be able to provide the full details of your situation and the attorney will be able to give you greater input as a result.

    I wish you the best of luck and I hope the information provided in these responses is helpful.

    Virginia M. Onu

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  • Affortable family lawyer

    To get a sole custody of my son.

    Virginia’s Answer

    Good afternoon...

    The ultimate cost of the case depends in large part on the particular facts, so without sharing more information about the situation it is hard to give you an idea of the costs involved. The other factor that can influence the cost is the rate charged by the attorney you retain. There is a wide difference in the hourly rate, and in my opinion cost higher cost does not reflect higher quality of legal work.

    A lot of attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Compare the rates of attorneys you are interested in and schedule a free consultation with the attorneys with reasonable rates to get more of an idea.

    I hope this helps.

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  • Is it always a 50/50 split?

    Two people living together, separate bank accounts and buy their own things. The only thing bought together is the home do they have to still split everything 50/50?

    Virginia’s Answer

    Property division in dissolution is a complicated matter.

    The court strives to do what is fair and equitable in the particular situation in light of all relevant factors. These include, but are not limited to, the nature and extent of community and separate property and the length of the marriage.

    You should have at lest a consultation with an attorney to talk about the facts specific to your circumstances.

    Good luck,
    Monica Onu

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  • Domestic Violence case in Seattle. Is a case that is in Superior to exclude somebody from the residence criminal?

    My friend's got a case against her ex bf in Superior now, so that he has to move out of her place. If he doesn't show up at court, could a warrant be issued against him? It's in Family law Court but she doesn't know if he got served or not.

    Virginia’s Answer

    I am assuming that this matter is a domestic violence protection order being heard on the family law motions calendar and will base my comments on that assumption.

    Petitioning the court for a Domestic Violence Protection Order is a civil action. If the Respondent has not been served, the matter will not be heard. At the initial hearing the court typically issues an ex parte restraining order and order to show cause and a subsequent court date without notice to the other party based on emergency. That order is of short duration and expires on the hearing date. The other side must be served with the documents and have an opportunity to appear and defend themselves at the full hearing.

    If the Respondent has not been served prior to the full hearing, it is possible for the court to re-issue the temporary restraining order and set another hearing, so that the petitioner has more time to serve the respondent. That has been my experience.

    If the Respondent has been served timely and properly, and he does not show up, the full protection order will typically be issued. Being that at this point the matter is still civil, he will not be arrested.

    Violation of domestic violence protection orders is a criminal offense. If someone violates a domestic violence protection order and a criminal case is begun against them, the judge will typically issue a warrant for that person's arrest if they miss a court date.

    Every situation is different, and the above is a general description of how the process typically works as opposed to specific advice for your friend. I would need to speak to her and make sure I have all the facts regarding her situation before I comment on her situation specifically.

    A number of attorneys offer free initial consultations. She should call an attorney directly and consult with respect to her specific situation.

    Good Luck,
    Virginia M. Onu

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  • If my ex-wife requests a change to the custody split, does that warrant a change in child support payments.

    Our parenting plan, alimony and child support have all been in place for 2 years and my ex-wife has requested that I take the kids for an additional day per week (so it would now be a 50/50 split). Does that warrent a change in my child support pa...

    Virginia’s Answer

    Child support amounts are determined based on the Washington State Child Support Guidelines, which determine a standard amount of child support, taking into account certain factors (such as health insurance payments).

    There child support statutes do identify reasons to deviate from the standard amount, and one of those reasons is if the child spends a significant amount of time with the parent who makes the support payment. It is important to note that the court will not allow a deviation if the lowered support payment would lead to insufficient funds in the household that is getting the support to meet the basic needs of the child or if the child is on TANF.

    When determining how much to deviate the court should look at your increased expenses and mother's decreased expenses.

    I would recommend that you retain an attorney to negotiate on your behalf. Once agreement is reached you are going to want to obtain a modified parenting plan and child support order. You do not want to pay a lower amount of support and then later be sued for the difference. Future child support payments belong to the child not the parent, and courts have ruled the parent does not have the authority to change the amount of future support payments. You need to have a court order to prevent future problems.

    Good Luck,
    Virginia Onu

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  • My X gets a decent amt. from S.S. retirement, we were married 23 yrs., I'm 64/ He's not paying alimony. What can I do?

    Until he begins pmts. I have to live with him. He keeps calling agencys telling lies about me hoping I'll get kicked out and he can disapper. (He's done that before). I'm receiving less than $600 from S.S. and can't afford the $200 asked from inq...

    Virginia’s Answer

    Hello:

    The answer to your question depends on your circumstances...

    I am assuming that you are already divorced and that your decree of dissolution has a provision for maintenance. If according to your decree he should be paying (some decrees are written with exceptions such as not requiring someone to pay if they are still living with the other party) then he should be paying.

    There are all sorts of enforcement actions one can take, including filing a motion for contempt. If you cannot afford an attorney, make an appointment with the family law facilitator in the county that issued your dissolution decree. They cannot provide legal advice but they can guide you to the right forms and review them. You can also contact the King County Bar Association to see if there is a pro bono legal help program that you may qualify for.

    Good luck!

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  • Changes to temp. parenting plan do they HAVE to be submitted to court or can we write up our own contract type thing?

    My parenting plan was done rather hasty due to circumstances I'd rather not get into at the moment but as it ends up there are a few things that both my ex and I agree could/should be changed. My ex has emailed (or so he has said) his lawyer for t...

    Virginia’s Answer

    A parenting plan, even one that is temporary, is a court order, and as such it can only be changed by the court. Unless your plan has language in it stating that the two of you can vary from the written terms by mutual agreement, you need a new plan that is signed by a judge.

    If both parties are in agreement on the changes, it is a fairly simple process to modify the existing plan.

    Good luck,
    Virginia Onu

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  • DWLS 3rd degree tickt

    I got a DWLS 3rd degree for a unpaid ticket. i have never been to court or had any trouble with the law before. I did not even know that my license was suspended? i have court on Wed. What do I do? I read someone elses remarks. Can I ask for an ex...

    Virginia’s Answer

    A DWLS 3 charge is a misdemeanor criminal offense. The maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and a $ 1000 fine.

    Your first court appearance will be for an arraignment, where the court informs you of the nature of the crime you are charged with and your rights, including the right to an attorney. Depending on the procedures of the court the case is pending in, if you retain or obtain court appointed counsel prior to the arraignment, that appearance may be waived upon request of the attorney and a pre-trial may be set. Typically a not guilty plea is entered at arraignment and the case is set for a pre-trial. Typically att pre-trial the court will want to know if the case will be going to trial, or if some resolution has been reached.

    Your attorney will file a notice of appearance and demand for discovery, which will enable him or her to examine your case for any defenses. They could also have the court sign a subpeona for your records with the department of licensing to make sure that the DOL followed proper procedure (inlcuding providing notice) in suspending your license.

    Once your attorney examines your police reports and discusses the facts with you, they should be able to advise you on possible options for fighting your case: they could be a motion to dismiss for due process issues if the DOL did not follow proper procedure in suspending your license, a motion to suppress/dismiss if the stop was not proper, etc.

    Your attorney will also negotiate with the prosecutor to see what type of offer the prosecutor may make to resolve your case. Perhpas the prosecutor would be willing to reduce the charge to an infraction or dismiss it if you re-instate your license.

    Based on the possible offenses and the offer, you will at that point be able to make the best decision for your individual case.

    Although no one can tell you what your sentence would be if convicted of a crime, it would be rare for the court to sentence a first offender to jail on this type of an offense, even if the only resolution possible is a guilty plea/conviction to a criminal charge.

    Since you don't have a prior criminal history you should either consult with an attorney or screen and get a public defender appointed right away, so that you have someone on your side to either help you defeat the case or try to negotiate some sort of resolution that does not involve a criminal conviction (such as a reduction from a crime to a ticket).

    Good luck,
    Virginia Monica Onu

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  • What does dismissal mean?

    the charges of dv 4th degree have been dropped against me at the pre trial- what are the next steps i need to take? i asked my public defender to mail me a copy of all this- will the non contact order be dropped as well? I s there a waiting perio...

    Virginia’s Answer

    Hello:

    In addition to the information that was previously posted, it also matters whether the dismissal was with or without prejudice. You should also check with your public defender regarding this.

    If the dismissal was with prejudice the charges cannot be refiled. If the dismissal was without prejudice, the charges can be refiled.

    If the dismissal was without prejudice you need to discuss with your public defender the likelihood of the charges being refiled, based on the reasons for the dismissal, and the procedure involved if the charges are re-filed.

    Good luck,
    Virginia Monica Onu

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