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Todd Richard DeVallance
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Todd DeVallance’s Answers

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  • My wife is divorcing me and her lawyer says I will have to pay all her legal fees (and my own). Why?

    She left me 4 years ago, lives with boyfriend for free. We live in a no-fault divorce, community property state. Entire marriage, I got stuck paying all bills and she kept her income in separate accounts and spent it on herself. I bought house and...

    Todd’s Answer

    The legislature has enacted a provision that allows the court to order a party to pay a reasonable amount for the cost of the other party's attorneys' fees. See RCW 26.09.140. This is to ensure fairness and representation when one spouse earns traditionally more than the other spouse. If both parties earn a comparable income, the award of attorney's fees is unlikely (unless there is bad faith by one of the parties). Based on the facts you provided above, this does not sound like a situation where you would be ordered to pay all of your wife's attorney's fees.

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  • I accidently claimed all 3 of my children on my tax return. Technically I think I'm in contempt of court based on the decree.

    My ex-husband is behind on his child support and filed a motion of contempt since I claimed all 3 children. Should I be worried?

    Todd’s Answer

    Send me a private email: todd@tlclawco.com. I will help you with this.

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  • Can I legally emancipate myself from my parents household being a 17 year old female and how would I do that?

    I have been living with a friend and her family for a year now and they financially can take care of me a lot better than my family. My family recently called the police on my girlfriend's family to take me home because they reported me as a runaw...

    Todd’s Answer

    You must be able to show the Court that you are financial independent, i.e. you can financially support yourself without the assistance of anyone else.

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  • What legal ages for a kid to stay home alone in WA state?

    what legal ages for a kid to stay home alone in WA state?

    Todd’s Answer

    There is no designated age in Washington in which a child can stay home alone. Various agencies/resources recommend different ages, but this should be decided on a case-by-case basis (taking into consideration maturity of child, environment, length of time, etc). In generally, most resources seem to suggest an age 12 - but there is no law in Washington on this particular issues.

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  • Process service

    I was married and divorced in Wa my ex- wife lives in Oregon The children are Wa state jurisdiction. I need to have her served court documents without a lawyer involved. Can a Wa resident serve her since its Wa courts? I still am a Wa resident.

    Todd’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Absolutely. But I concur with my colleague and recommend a professional process server.

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  • Is spouse entitled to part of federal retirement if I was retired prior to marriage

    I retired from USPS (CSRS) in 2002. Married current wife in 2004. We are now getting a divorce. Is she entitled to any part of my Federal retirement income after the divorce? I am also getting VA disability compensation which I received prior to m...

    Todd’s Answer

    Your VA disability is your separate property and is protected under federal law. A Washington State court cannot touch your disability pay.

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  • Is a 403 b community property in Washington State?

    My husband has contributed over $16,000. a year to a 403 b for about 3 years, after he started working for an eligible employer. I just found out about this. We have been married for almsot 7 years. How can I protect myself in the event of a di...

    Todd’s Answer

    Generally speaking, in Washington State property acquired during the course of a marriage is community property. This would include retirement accounts. If you are planning on filing for divorce, obtain a copy of the most recent 403b statement so you are fully informed of the current balance.

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  • I just found out that my petitioner spouse has ran up $30,000 in legal fees since she left six months ago. I've spent $2,000.

    It seems to be the wicked combination of her seeking sympathy with an unethical associate wanting to make partner. Temporary orders says that all debts since separation are each our own responsibility. Could I be ordered to pay some of her legal...

    Todd’s Answer

    Yes. The court will look to (1) the disparity in your incomes; and (2) whether or not the fees were reasonable. I seldom see attorney's fees awards of the full amount incurred - but I have seen it. Good Luck!

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  • Legal separation moving into divorce

    I filed for a legal separation. I have not completed the final papers. In the middle of this process, my ex wife has shown behaviors that are quite unusual and I want to move into a divorce ASAP. Do I have to refile for a divorce or is there a way...

    Todd’s Answer

    Also, either party can convert a Decree of Legal Separation to a Decree of Dissolution six months after the Decree of Legal Separation is entered. You could finalize the Legal Separation now and in six months convert it to a divorce. This a simple motion that is presented ex parte and may be easier than amending your petition - since you may have to wait an additional 90 days from the filing of the amended petition anyhow.

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  • Can I sue my husband for abandonment then file a fault divorce on him in Yakima Washington?

    together for 10 years, married for 7 and half. Live and supported him for past 10 years in Aust. He work past 3 years for Australian post, but refused to pay any bills after he started working. He returned to US for Aust spouse visa in 2004, had a...

    Todd’s Answer

    You could sue anyone for just about anything. The issue is the type of relief you are seeking. Perhaps some, if not all, of the relief could be addressed in the divorce action.

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