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Scott K Matthews

Scott Matthews’s Answers

133 total

  • Odds of getting full custody? Are they better since I was granted temporary custody?

    My ex and I had a daughter named Britney. Britney was conceived in Oregon but her mom and I split before she was born, so she was born in California. Britney's mom has another child who is nearly 8. Afterbritney was born her mom got back together ...

    Scott’s Answer

    After this much time, giving you "full custody" essentially requires finding the mother unfit, and justifying removing the child from the only parent she knows. This is one of the most difficult things to do in family law,
    You cannot do this yourself. You need to find and hire an attorney immediately - definitely well before you return to court on the emergency placement.

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  • Can my landlord charge me for repairs and evict me If I don't pay them within the month?

    I filled out a maintenance request for broken blinds and screens with holes in them. These blinds are so brittle. They break constantly and one kept falling out because the catches wouldn't stay closed. The neighborhood kids in the apartment compl...

    Scott’s Answer

    There seem to be some intermixed scenarios here.
    Regarding the rent: If your rent is late, and you receive a 3-day notice to pay or vacate and do not do so within 3 days , you can be evicted. Your landlord has no duty to honor your promise to pay later with a late fee.

    You are generally responsible for damage to a door that you caused. If the neighbors were playing with the cat inside the house, you must replace the screens. If they were doing it on the outside with your permission, you must pay for the screens. If you didn't' know about it and it was outside, then it is the landlord's responsibility.

    The blinds are not quite as easy. If he provides blinds, then they must be serviceable. If they are simply low quality and a cautious tenant would not have broken them, they are certainly your responsibility. If they appeared good but were actually defective when you moved in, they are probably the landlord's responsibility.

    Unless your landlord creates an environment that encourages or at least ignores inappropriate behavior then any sexual harassment is probably a matter for the police. He may have a duty to do some investigation or warn the harassing parties, but based on nothing but your say so, I don't think he has the duty to do more. This issue is a tricky one - relying on both evidence and what a court feels is harassing behavior. In a harassment case, it is important to keep careful records of what happens, find witnesses and get them to write down what they saw, and so forth. It is not an accusation to make lightly but you do not have to put up with it either.

    Generally, how your landlord treats others, such as those writing on walls, is not relevant to your case.

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  • Can a tenant change the locks?

    I just recently did an annual inspection on my rental as the lease term is ending. During this time I noticed that the back glass door lock and front door lock had been changed. I did not give permission nor was I informed this was being done. My ...

    Scott’s Answer

    This action likely violates RCW 59.18.130(4) unless the tenant claims to be the victim of domestic violence. There is a complicated procedure to be followed in DV cases.

    If your rental agreement says no changing locks, then give them a 10-day notice to either replace the old locks, provide you with keys and the old locks, or vacate.

    If the rental agreement is silent you may still prevail with the 10-day based on the statutory violation. However if the lease is month-month you may find it easier to just five a 20-day notice of termination on or before the 10th of the month if the rent is due on the first.

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  • How do I turn around false charges?

    my roommate became expensive waisting electricity, using my things not respecting space. We talked about it, thought we had come to a resolution, I walk in, she's using my computer that doesn't have a firewall, when I asked why she goes into a ra...

    Scott’s Answer

    Your immediate issues are getting your home back and getting any protection orders dismissed.
    You need to consult a landlord/tenant attorney and a criminal attorney before either of these issues get to court.

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  • Hello i have a legal question, about child custody

    Hello i have a legal question, My ex husband decided 3 years ago that our autistic son was to much for him and his new family he was he was (10 almost 11 at that time) so asked me and my current husband if we could take custody of the child we...

    Scott’s Answer

    It appears that your son has been transferred (integrated) into your home and family with his father's consent. If that is the case, you have a case for modifying the parenting plan. Contact a family law attorney and discuss getting the modification so you will know where you stand.

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  • Is my landlord's husband my landlord too if he isn't on my lease at all?

    My landlord's husband consistently causes problems by showing up unannounced or being volatile and threatening when doing repairs we've requested. I was curious if I could request that we deal only with his wife since he isn't on any of the paperw...

    Scott’s Answer

    It can be difficult to deal with a pushy landlord, but you need to make the police your very last resort. In the first place, unless there is a threat or an entry that rises to the level of a crime, the police can't do much, and usually refuse to get involved. Second, once the police are involved it is nearly impossible to get back to normal relations.

    Call the police if you, your guests, or your property are threatened with violence, or if the landlord persists in unauthorized entries after you have told them, in writing, that you want 48 hours notice except in case of an emergency. And make every effort to accommodate their entries when they do provide proper notice.

    I agree that the husband's name not appearing on the lease is probably not important.

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  • Tenant moves out, stops payment on rent check even after receiving full refund due of flea infestation of premises.

    Three weeks after moving in, tenant informs us of fleas on the premises (previous occupant had a dog, present tenant has no pet). We respond immediately, and flea bomb the premises (a small cabin in Seattle) according to manufacturer's directions....

    Scott’s Answer

    She owes you the rental amount. You owe her for actual damage to her belongings if you failed to giver her adequate notice. This is a small-claims-court matter. Sue her for the rent and she can bring in her damages as a counter claim.

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  • In family court does each new motion require resubmitting evidence as an exhibit? If I submitted an exhibit

    as evidence in a previous motion can I just refer to fact it is already on file?

    Scott’s Answer

    If you are submitting a new motion under a previous cause number, you do not need to re-FILE anything with the clerk. However, it is a good idea to provide courtesy copies to the judge or commissioner of anything you want to be considered at that hearing.

    If it is a new cause number, then refile it with the clerk.

    Check local rules to see how long before the hearing you must provide courtesy copies.

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  • Do I need to replace a roomates item that I broke?

    I moved in with a few people that left some of their stuff in my room even when I moved in. Two weeks into living there, I accidently broke an item that's only worth about $100. I was still not on the lease at this point, but I told her I would re...

    Scott’s Answer

    If you were simply doing her a favor by holding on to the item, then this is an instance of "gratuitous bailment." You are responsible if you made no effort to preserve the item, broke it on purpose or allowed someone else to do so, etc., but not if it was simply broken by accident in the course of ordinary life, when you were being as careful as people would normally expect.

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  • I got dealer financing on a used car. They forgot to have me sign the Retail Installment Contract. Is the deal null and void?

    I bought a car from a predatory dealership. I have less than $1000 owed and have paid almost $6000. I missed a payment and they stated their intent to repossess the vehicle and demand all owed money paid immediately. The dealership missed havin...

    Scott’s Answer

    Used-car sales is an area that really proves the od adage possession is 9/10ths of the law. Many dealerships will repossess now and worry about the legalities later. In this case they could even be within their rights depending on how the contracts are worded.

    It would be smarter to just pay what you owe in full. Take out a loan and give them $1,000. If you work out a deal to re-instate your payment plan, get it in writing. In the meantime, keep the car in a locked garage.

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