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Robert Martin Morgan Hill

Robert Hill’s Answers

190 total


  • How should I conduct myself in Pro Se court?

    I know the general rules, such as dress nicely, don't argue with commissioner/other party, speak clearly etc., but I'm really nervous. Do I need to address the commissioner as "Your Honor"? I am extremely nervous, so any advice I may need to know ...

    Robert’s Answer

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    Good for you for asking. Your courtroom conduct can sometimes affect the commissioner's impression of you. The commissioner can be addresses as your honor, or judge or commissioner. Aside from the things you mentioned, you should tailor your presentation to focus on the needs and interests of the children, rather than your "rights", assuming you will be arguing about custody or visitation issues. And you should avoid creating the impression that you are acting out of anger or jealousy or vindictiveness toward the other party. It would not be a bad idea to go to court and observe a calendar one day before your hearing day. This will help you with your nerves and give you an idea as to how things will proceed and what is expected of you

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  • Thurston county family court trial process? My case is now in Thurston County from Lincoln. We had a trial in Lincoln but it was

    postponed. I understand in Thurson there is arbitration first. Is this the process we will follow since a trial has occured, just postponed? Our old plan (well still current but will be a new one) says resolve issues by court action only but also...

    Robert’s Answer

    Mediation is required in Thurston County Family Court. In addition, before a case is set for trial, it has to go through a settlement conference, so if that hasn't happened yet, it will need to happen before you can get a trial date.

    I am assuming this is a modification of a parenting plan and that the court has found that there is adequate cause to modify. If that is not the case, you will need an adequate cause hearing and fiddling before you can proceed with your case. If adequate
    Cause has been found and there is a need to change the parenting plan while trial is pending, that can be done via a motion for a temporary parenting plan.

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  • How does having a newborn affect child support?

    Non-custodial parent pays support for 2 children over the age of 12. He is having a 3rd child with current spouse. Does this affect child support because of having to financially support a new child?

    Robert’s Answer

    It can affect child support but does not automatically do so. The parent paying support would need to file for modification either in court or administratively. The change in support would be based on what is called a "whole family deviation". If you can, you should first have a lawyer help you estimate what the benefit of the deviation is worth to you. If the paying parent's income has gone up since the last child support order (or if children have changed age brackets), the benefit of the deviation might be swallowed up by an increase in the standard calculation of support based on these other factors.

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  • How do I change the court venue when both parents have moved out of county the parenting plan was signed?

    Custodial Parent - King County, WA Non-Custodial Parent - Lewis County, WA Parenting plan entered in Snohomish County, WA Since the parent's divorced and the final parenting plan was entered both parents have moved out of that county. New pap...

    Robert’s Answer

    In my opinion, if the Snohomish County case is finalized, meaning there is nothing currently pending before that court, you don't have to do a motion to change venue for a parenting plan modification. You can file in the county in which the children currently reside and attach a certified copy of the final parenting plan entered in Snohomish. The other party would have no legitimate basis to change venue back to Snohomish, even though Snohomish would also be a proper venue. The better venue is the county of the children's residence absent some compelling argument why the case should be litigated in a county where neither party resides.

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  • I have a 16yo daughter that has been wanting to live with her father just to see how it is. Is there a way of doing

    this without giving up custody. Is there a way of doing this the legal way and him not turning around and try to get custody.

    Robert’s Answer

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    While you can not stop him from filing an action for change of custody, you can set it up so that he can not do so successfully on the basis of this agreement. Be clear and put in writing, affirmed by him, that the two of you are making this agreement to do this on a temporary trial basis for a specified period of time (I do not believe that even a year is too long of an experiment, particularly if she would be changing schools. It would be perfectly rational for parents to experiment over the course of a school year so that they are not building in a mid-year school change for the child).

    Presumably if you get to the end of the trial period and your daughter is doing okay and wants to continue the arrangement you will agree to the change. If she wants to continue the arrangement because Dad let's her drink and have her boyfriend sleep over, that might be another story. So I would make it clear in aletter or email that this is a trial arrangment based on your daughter's request that will last for no more than __ months at which point she will return unless there is an agreement to extend the trial period or an agreement to formally modify the parenting plan, and that you are free to end the trial period at any time I'd your daughter changes her mind.

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  • I told a detective i would come in to the station to speak to him do i have too?

    i am a victim of domestic violence my brother in law assaulted me, when he thought i inapproperiatly touched my niece when i was only grabbing the back of her leg to pull her away from kicking me...... what should i do, i cant afford a lawyer? i...

    Robert’s Answer

    Your question omits some details that might be relevant to advising you about this. For instance, has your brother in law been charged with assault? Is he maintaining his story that you inappropriately touched your niece? Are we talking about a n allegation of sexual touch?

    If this interview is a victim interview, it might be necessary for a prosecution of your brother in law to proceed. But if there is any possibility that it is part of an investigation of your conduct, you should not go. The police are not your friends. You can break the appointment politely by calling (or better yet having someone else call) to let the detective know that you really want to cooperate but have been advised by a lawyer not to do a voluntary interview.

    If they are asking for an interview as part of an investigation against you, one of two things is happening: (1) they already have a case against you and are looking for you to strengthen it with self incriminating statements, or (2) they have a suspicion but no real evidence and are looking for you to make their case for them. In either case, it makes no sense for you to help them prosecute you.

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  • Do I have to submit to a Paternity test inWA state after 12 yrs of raising my daughter as my own?

    In 2009 mother left country giving up custody of dau to father. Now she is back has remarried and is threatening father that possibly he is not the biological father of the child. He has fully supported this child and has been awarded full custody...

    Robert’s Answer

    Although technically the previous answer is correct in that a court COULD order you to take a paternity test, I do not think the law would support that. First of all, if you were MARRIED to the mother when the child was born, this is not even a question. You are the father. Same is probably true if you are named as father on the birth certificate. Even if neither of those is the case, however, you are clearly at a minimum a de facto parent, which would give you the legal standing of a parent even if you are not the genetic father. Consequently, the outcome of a paternity test is almost surely legally inconsequential, whichbis why I do nit believe a court would order it. Not knowing the full history, I can only assume that your having custody means that there is SOME legal determination of paternity that has already been accomplished and that you have always been or at some point were named as her father on the birth certificate. There are time limits that apply to challenging that determination, and without knowing all the facts I can't say with certainty, but in all likelihood the time for challenging paternity has passed.

    What I would be most worried about if I were you is the prospect of your ex talking with your daughter about this. You maybwant to take legal action to either restrict her contact with the child or at least restrain her from having conversation about paternity in the presence of your daughter.

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  • If a decree was entered in a 3rd party custody case, and the biological parents were not given any visitation or stipulations...

    I received 3rd party custody of a little girl after the biological mother signed the joinder agreeing to give me custody. A decree was entered and the only visits that the mother gets are as "mutually agreed upon by the parties". Can the custody b...

    Robert’s Answer

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    If it is a final decree, the decree can only be modified on a showing of substantial change in circumstances. In order to make a major modification such as a change in custody, the change would have to be a change in YOUR circumstances or the child's circumstances such that the child's environment with you is detrimental to her. In other words, the mother could not come along and say "I'm all better now, give me my child." She could, however, demonstrate that she has addressed whatever te issues were two years ago and petition for visits with the child. This is general advice, and all circumstances are unique so you should see a lawyer to discuss the specific details and circumstances and have the parenting plan professionally reviewed before you reach any conclusions or make decisions.

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  • My husband is kicking me out of the apartment, we have a 16 month old daughter, should I leave? Will I have legal problems?

    We argue a lot, he never opens to talk about it, it's like the 3rd time he tells me to leave, plus he's always putting me down because I don't work and he says the money he works for is his only

    Robert’s Answer

    If you have the financial ability to leave, I would seriously consider doing so. The dynamic you describe is innthe nature of a domestic violence relationship, whether or not there I'd actual violence. You may not be in physical danger ( if you are, you absolutely should leave) but what you are describing is pretty unhealthy, and it is not likely to change without prompting.

    If there is money in savings that was earned during the marriage, it is community property and you have as much right to it as he does. If you are not named on the accounts and therefore don't have access to the funds, that is concerning on a whole different level. Depending on the length of your marriage and other circumstances, you might be entitled to some transitional spousal support in addition to child support and half the community assets. Talk to a lawyer first, then perhaps approach him with an agreement to leave, as he has requested, on condition of his helping you financially at an appropriate level. But again, if there is ANY concern about safety, that will probably not be a safe conversation to have. There are too many variables for a lawyer on this message board to tell you what to expect or advise you about your options. See a lawyer who is familiar with the judicial officers in your county of residence and get some advice based on a detailed consultation.

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  • Petition for Post-Secondary Support (child has graduated college)

    In a Washington State divorce from the 1990's, the POST SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT section 3.13 reads "TO BE DETERMINED BY THE PROPORTIONAL SHARE OF EACH PARENT PURSUANT TO THE WASHINGTON CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES." The child has just grad...

    Robert’s Answer

    Great question. This is definitely not the typical manner of proceeding with a request for post-secondary support. There may be significant defenses to this. It may be too late jurisdictionally for your ex to request a division of post-secondary expenses. And I don't think she has grounds for a contempt action because there apparently never was a determination as to what te proportional share of the expenses should have been. I think the outcome of this would depend in part on the specific language of your decree, in part on the judge you draw, and in large part on the recent factual history. For example, I think it would be significant whether you were "in the loop" about the college decisions and whether you had some notice or hint that this was likely coming down the pike. See a lawyer who is familiar with local customs and judicial officers. I would suggest you call Goldberg and Jones in Seattle for a consult.

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