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Michael Evan Stowell

Michael Stowell’s Answers

84 total


  • How should I proceed with the dissolution of my marriage? Do I work with a lawyer in WA or NJ?

    Hello, I am currently a Washington State resident and relocated here a few months ago from New Jersey. I relocated here shortly after my wife abandoned me and our marriage. I woke up one morning a few months prior and her property was packed. She ...

    Michael’s Answer

    From your question it appears that your wife has no connection to Washington State and the court here could not get jurisdiction over her, as well as not having jurisdiction over any marital property in New Jersey. Filing in New Jersey seems to be your only option. You might also need the services of a a process server or skip tracer to find her and a New Jersey attorney will probably know how to take care of that.

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  • How a discovery conference must be conducted?

    Only the other party has lawyer and I am wondering how discovery conference (CR26 )should be done.

    Michael’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    A 26(i) discovery conference is simply a discussion with the other party or attorney regarding responses to discovery requests. This will usually be conducted by phone after a time has been arranged by e-mail or letter. Typically in a case where responses to interrogatories have not been received by the due date, the discussion will be about when those responses will be received. If a new date for the response is agreed to then you should follow up with a letter stating that the conference was held and a new date for the response has been agreed to. This gives you support for a later motion to compel production in case the next date has not been complied with.

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  • Is my BAH and BAS included in my Gross Monthly Income for my Child Support Worksheet if I'm an active duty service member?

    Trying to understand if BAH and BAS is included while calculating my Monthly income or is it just my BASE PAY alone for Monthly income.

    Michael’s Answer

    BAH and BAS are both included in gross income for purposes of child support calculation. Contact an experienced child support attorney to help you deal with issues of how and whether those amounts may change depending on your marital status. In some circumstances BAH continues even after divorce.

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  • Is supporting the household while my husband was in school full time count for anything in a divorce?

    My husband and I have been married for 13 years. In year 2 or 3 of our marriage I supported household expenses (rent, groceries, etc) while he earned his Master's in Physical Therapy, attending university full time. I did not pay for his tuition. ...

    Michael’s Answer

    The additional earning power that resulted from your husband's education will definitely be a factor that a court will consider in dividing marital property and/or making a decision about whether maintenance will be awarded. You should consult with a family law attorney to go into more detail about your situation.

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  • What happens when two parents don't agree when it comes to picking a school???

    My ex husband and I do not agree when it comes to which school to send my daughter too..I would like her to go to a private school that her sister is attending (they have different father).. He says that he absolutely does not want her to go there...

    Michael’s Answer

    Under Washington law the parenting plan will state how decisions are to be made on major issues such as education, religious upbringing and non-emergency medical care. The typical plan usually provides that these decisions are "joint," that is, the parents must come to agreement on these matters. If they can't agree the plan will provide for alternative dispute resolution, often mediation. This is something that has to be tried before you can go back to court. Review your parenting plan to see what yours provides about decision making and dispute resolution. You should probably consult with an attorney if you are unclear about how to proceed.

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  • How long do we have to be married before my children's step father can adopt them?

    And is there any exception to the wait-period?

    Michael’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    There is no specific statutory waiting period required. Step parent adoptions are common and fairly simple if the other biological parent consents but much more difficult if there is no consent, requring a termination of parental rights of that other parent. In either case, you need the assistance of an attorney to make sure this process is done correctly.

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  • Can I file for divorce in any county within my state of residency?

    Is there a legal basis for being able to take the case to another county for privacy purposes and for not dragging the kids through it all? My case has all the earmarks of a trial and want to keep it all away from a place we have lived for 30 years.

    Michael’s Answer

    As a Washington resident you can file in any county in the state. Many people with agreed divorces file in Lincoln County which provides easy filing and completion of a divorce all done by mail. That said, in a marriage with significant property you might face a motion to change venue based on the location of real property or other assets and for the convenience of the other party. If the other party files such a motion you might end up having to move the case and possibly have to change attorneys. That could end up costing you more than filing in your county of residence.

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  • Does my wifes income a factor in a child support modification?

    Courts are requiring I submit my tax returns for the last two years?

    Michael’s Answer

    The child support calculation is done on the basis of the net incomes of the parents of the children in question. The income of a new spouse must be reported but it is not included in the calculation of the presumptive amount of child support and except in very unusual circumstances will not be a factor in setting child support.

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  • In a uncontested and basic divorce, do I need to specify a 50/50 split in regards to a union pension?

    The divorce papers state that the court should make a fair and equitable division of all prpoerty.

    Michael’s Answer

    The division of property in a divorce does not need to be 50/50 but whatever the division you agree to the division of a pension can require a special order of the court, usually called a QDRO, in addition to the decee of dissolution. I would suggest you consult with an attorney who has experience in working with pension orders to avoid problems in the future.

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  • If one party in a marriage (separted for 3 years, but not legally) comes into an inheritance, in WA is that community property?

    The wife has taken all money from sold duplex property and her husband (my brother) is paying the taxes on that profit. Our mother just died and our step dad has a will dividing their net worth 4 ways for the four kids (no spouses' names are incl...

    Michael’s Answer

    Property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be community property unless it is acquired by gift or inheritance. From your description, you have no claim on this property.

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