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Michael Lee Dewitt

Michael Dewitt’s Answers

38 total

  • When I go into family court, look up my case # on their computers and click print, this is

    considered an imaged/electronic record not paper record correct? According to this page it is supposed to be 0.25 per page and I have always been charged 0.50 per page.http://www.courts.wa.gov/programs_orgs/pos_bja/ptc/documents/SuperiorCourtProSe...

    Michael’s Answer

    That document looks like some kind of generic document produced by the state, but I can tell you from experience that Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court charges $.50 per page for copies. Since we have gone to electronic imaging for all records, there really isn't any such thing as "paper" records anymore, but whether you print the document yourself at the self-help computer or have the clerk print it for you at the front counter, either way you are paying $.50 per page.

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  • My sister has power of atty over my mother. She is trying to empty her bank accounts. Can my mother give me her money to keep?

    Recently my mother fell and was very ill, my older sister took power of atty. My mother recently found out my sister is trying to empty her bank accounts without her knowledge. Can my mother give me her money so I can open my own account that is n...

    Michael’s Answer

    Your proposed solution does not address the underlying problem - that an attorney in fact is abusing their fiduciary duty. Look at the power of attorney itself for how to terminate it. Most require a written notice to the attorney in fact. If your mother is no longer incapacitated, then she has the ability to terminate the POA. Once it is terminated, your sister cannot legally access your mother's funds.

    If your mother is unable or unwilling to terminate the POA, then you can take legal action. You could file to be your mother's legal guardian, which would then trump the POA. There is also a little-used procedure for removing an attorney in fact under a POA (if guardianship isn't the right fit for your circumstances).

    As this is more of an elder law issue, I'm changing the category from family law for you.

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  • Do I Need a family law attorney?

    4 week old baby and father wants to take her all but three weekends a month. He claims I'm not stable and its to help me get on my feet. I go back to work this month and have a home I pay rent in. I have a domestic violence from 09 but besides tha...

    Michael’s Answer

    That kind of schedule is not in keeping with what the child development experts say an infant child needs. In fact, the latest research says that very young children do not necessarily benefit from overnight visitation with the non-residential parent (they do better with frequent, shorter visitation sessions - every other day for at least a couple of hours, for example).

    A good resource for examples of age and developmentally appropriate parenting plans is the Arizona Parenting Guidelines, which our local court is aware of and heeds, even though it is obviously not of this state. I'll include the link below.

    Your point about breastfeeding is right in line with this sort of child-developmental grounded argument. Such an argument would serve you well in court, if it comes to that. He'll have a tough time coming up with the research and science to overcome it. Unless he can convince the court that you have a serious parental deficiency, a schedule like one of these examples should be issued by the court.

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  • If you need to fill your pro bono quota and want to do some good, please respond to this question. Or if you accept payments

    (family law matter). How do I ask for a new commissioner when he is biased? I saw the statute but don't know what type of motion.

    Michael’s Answer

    There is no formal process for removing a court commissioner from your case. They are not judges, so you cannot use an affidavit of prejudice. If the commissioner was aware of an actual conflict of interest in your case (for example, if they used to represent a party when they were in private practice, or perhaps they know one of the parties personally), then they will likely recuse themselves from the matter. But if you just think they are biased against you . . . there's nothing you can do. And remember, the court commissioner may always seemed biased against a party, because after all, their job is to make a ruling that will favor one party over the other.

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  • I dont have full custody, child resides with me 100% of the time. No bedroom at fathers house. Can I collect child support?

    My ex husband sued me for full custody of my daughter 13yrs ago. I had to pay him child support. He did not live in her school district so she would stay with me 5 days a week. Her father on weekends. I asked him to drop the child support since sh...

    Michael’s Answer

    Why not petition the court to (legally) change custody back to your residence? The legal basis for doing so would be that he has consented to her becoming integrated into your household, in substantial deviation to the parenting plan. Once you have legal custody, then child support would naturally flow from his household to yours.

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  • How does my son go about establishing a parenting plan when the mother and child live in California. Baby was born yesterday.

    She talked him into having baby, then when she found out she was pregnant, she told him she was leaving Olympia, Washington and going to Cali for the support of her family. She has told him he can be a part of his son's life, but only if he pays f...

    Michael’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I agree with the previous answer. Under the UCCJEA, a child custody matter must be decided in the child's home state. Under the facts you give, California is the home state. Since you and the father are in Washington, you could start by seeking a Washington lawyer that is also licensed in California.

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  • I have received settlement of conference letter divorce from court. I would like to seek advice from attorney. If any Pro Bono

    I would like seek advice and help from Pro Bono divorce attorney as I have received settlement of conference. Please let me know if any one can take up my case. I am new here at Olympia, WA and new to USA country so don't know the legal system w...

    Michael’s Answer

    The best way to seek a pro bono attorney in Thurston County is through the Volunteer Legal ClinIc. You start that process by contacting CLEAR, and they will determine your eligibility based on your income. Since you are employed, you make be earning too much to qualify for a pro bono attorney, but if you are still within certain income limits, you may be referred to the Moderate Means Program, where attorneys have agreed to represent clients at reduced rates due to the clients' limited incomes.

    You can start the process by contacting CLEAR via the internet at www.nwjustice.org.

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  • If I received a response to my motion (family law) and I want to respond to the response can I just save my response for court

    or do I need to send the other party the response and file it?

    Michael’s Answer

    If you "respond to the response," as you put it, that is called a reply declaration, and it is limited in scope to new issues that the other party raised for the first time in their response. In my practice, I do not always file a reply declaration - only when they are necessary to rebut new allegations against my client. If you find that your reply is covering the same ground as your original motion, then you probably don't need one, and you can simply argue your case at the hearing based on the declarations on file.

    If you do file a reply declaration, you must give a copy of it to the other party by noon the day before the hearing.

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  • In family court how long can one's opening statement be? I am the party bringing this case to court. I have filed

    temp orders.

    Michael’s Answer

    In Thurston County, each side is given ten minutes to make their argument. Each county is different though. If you are in another county, then check that county's local rules.

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  • If a parenting plan says No dispute resolution process except court action is ordered and that is what is checked. In Thurston

    county is mediation still mandatory? (for mod of parenting plan).

    Michael’s Answer

    Thurston County has a local requiring mediation of parenting plan disputes before the court will hear the matter, regardless of what the final parenting plan says. However, this requirement can be waived by the court if good cause is shown, for example, if there is a history of domestic violence between the parties.

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