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Kathryn Verity Fields
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Kathryn Fields’s Answers

37 total

  • When it's summer visitation, can my step daughter choose to not go to her moms on her scheduled time?

    My boyfriend has sole custody of his daughter. His parenting plan is set up that we have his daughter 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off for the summer. She is 12 and doesn't want to go to her moms for her 2 weeks. Can she make that decision at this age?

    Kathryn’s Answer

    In Washington, both parents have a shared responsibility to ensure the parenting plan is followed. Children should not have either the burden, or belief the are empowered, to determine which parent/household they should be with, when, or under what circumstances. Some of the worst damage to children of divorced is unwittingly done by parents who put their children in the middle of the parenting schedule.

    If your boyfriend's daughter doesn't want to go to her mom's during her mom's residential time, the answer is actually simple for dad. He sides with the mother and makes his child follow the rules the two parents set in place under the parenting plan. The parents are the adults and are presumed to know what is best. When the daughter is 18, she will no longer be a minor and legally considered capable of making mature decisions.

    If there is a safety reason for the hesitancy (substance abuse by the other parent, physical abuse, or actual danger), that would be another matter. In very serious circumstances, there are ways to change a parenting plan. Your question did not raise this issue.

    On the other hand, it may be the daughter is bored at mom's house or misses her friends. In such circumstances, that's a good opportunity for mother and daughter to explore and negotiate these issues on their own. Navigating our relationships as we go from child to adult is part of the coming-of-age journey. If Dad stays out of the middle and is only supportive of the other parent, the Mom also won't be able to blame whatever mother/child conflict there is on Dad.

    Best of luck to your family.

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  • My mother had an injury at work does she need a lawyer?

    The company didn't give her a referral to the company doctor they are wanting her to go back to work and the injury sustained was a full-thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon anteriorly.

    Kathryn’s Answer

    I recommend she consult an attorney who practices Worker Compensation law. If possible, get a referral. Also if possible, opt for someone who has at least 7 years or more of experience. There's a huge learning curve -- even for us attorneys -- right after law school and passing the Bar.

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  • Could passing a bill to remove property tax exemptions be considered unconstitutional?

    If the removed property tax exemption where to effect non profit organizations both religions and non religious, could it be considered unconstitutional? Why or why not? Also, if the aim of the bill removing the property tax exemption is to ensure...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    The goal of law school is to prepare you to practice law. In this regard, success is not as much about "knowing the answer" as it is about "being able to research and find the answer." Good luck with your research. There's no substitute for hitting the books yourself. :)

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  • I have a no contact order, How do I get my personal belongings, and 1/2 of money for house? I am also named on deed.

    was charged with assault, and Malicious Mischief went to trial, assault I was found not guilty, guilty for Malicious Mischief. Breaking no contact order found guilty. Partner is living in our home, will not let 3rd party enter to get my personal b...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    You can request Court give you permission to briefly enter your home to obtain your clothing, toiletries, medications, and sometimes nominal personal effects as well. This involves a police officer acting as a "civil standby" to ensure there is no interaction between you and the other party during the visit. The visit is typically very short (for example, 10 to 15 minutes is common). Normally, you would not be allowed to remove any property--such as the heirlooms--even if it yours. The scope of what you will be allowed to remove varies from case to case. You will most likely need an attorney to assist you.

    Regarding your other property, as well as any money the other party may owe you for your share of the house or other assets you bought together, that will require a separate legal case. The criminal court does not handle that part of dispute. If you are married, you would file a divorce case or legal separation case to ask the court to divide finances. If you are not married to your partner, the type of case you need to pursue will depend on many factors. You should seek the assistance of an attorney to help you with the matter. Good luck to you.

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  • Child's father lied to pediatrician, do I have any recourse?

    Pending divorce, nearing the end and spouse is really angry because he is likely going to be on the losing end financially. We have joint legal custody and a JPA and we live 3 hours apart. Child is 3.5 and we have been living in another city for o...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Unfortunately, a common tactic by some parents is to allege the other parent is "unfit" or to exaggerate or complain about imagined deficits the primary parent has. Courts and judges have seen and heard such complaints for decades. The Court takes such accusations seriously but that also means that allegations are investigated--not simply taken at face value as accurate.

    You did not mention if you have an attorney. If you do, you should bring these problems to his or her attention. I do not know enough detail about your case to know what remedies may be appropriate in your situation. Depending on your unique circumstances, a strongly worded letter from your lawyer to the Father may suffice. On the other hand, it may take a motion to the Court to sort out the problem and a solution.

    If you do not have an attorney, I recommend you consult with someone who practices in the same county in which your case is filed. A family law practitioner with experience in high conflict cases would be advised.

    In the meantime, keep parenting to the best of your ability, follow the parenting plan order, and keep good records. That way, if you have to go to Court or answer to a judge, you will be prepared.

    Best of luck to you.

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  • In Washington State, I was convicted of fourth degree assault/ non DV. They took my gun rights, but what recourse do I have?

    The fourth degree assault was designated as non DV, but the victim was my half sister. She grabbed my penis and I left shortly after. I get screwed by the system and then they take my right to protect myself away? What can I do about this. I will ...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    The side-effects of legal entanglements can be frustrating. Fortunately, you have done the smart thing by hiring an attorney to assist you. Try to work the problem through him (or her). Your attorney knows the procedure and law that must be contended with.

    It may help to understand that the legal system moves very slowly. And in cases where assault or other crimes against persons are alleged or involved, the Court exercises a lot of caution. The Judge does not know you personally, so he or she wants to be sure the right decision is made. Not to rule against you or for you improperly or prematurely.

    Hang in there and best of luck.

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  • My wife was just charged for domestic assault via wash state against me, can I ask the judge to drop the charges what's

    The Likelihood? Neighbor called the police when my wife and I were fighting, they took my wife to jail for domestic assault.

    Kathryn’s Answer

    There are two types of domestic violence cases. One is "civil" in which the victim can petition the Court for an Order of Protection against the person accused of domestic violence. In that type of case, if you started one, then yes, you can ask the Court to drop it. However, the second type of domestic violence case is "criminal." In this instance, it is the state (or city) that brings the action against the person accused of committing domestic violence. In this instance, which you describe, it is up to the Prosecutor to decide to go forward with the case or not. You can talk to the Prosecutor and make your wishes known. But, depending on the seriousness of the assault, the Prosecutor may decide to pursue the case against your wife even if you would prefer to have the matter dropped.

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  • Should I hire a real estate attorney or family law lawyer?

    Divorced can't agree on how much the house should be sold. Ex and listing agent tried to sell house below market value.

    Kathryn’s Answer

    If the house was in the divorce decree--and the decree stated it would be sold and the proceeds divided--the details of price, listing agent, terms, etc., are within the jurisdiction of the Court to resolve. Usually the Decree provides a mechanism on how to resolve such details, but not always. The problem you describe is not uncommon. A real estate attorney would unlikely be able to provide any assistance. The matter is covered by family law and your divorce decree. If you do not have an attorney from the divorce, I recommend you retain an experienced family law attorney to review your divorce orders and advise you of the next step. A hearing may be required, but sometimes simply a well-worded letter from one's lawyer can solve the problem.

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  • My wife filed for a protection order against me claiming I pushed her against the wall.

    My wife and I had an argument over her laptop on Wednesday morning. She got so upset that she started crying loudly and then called the police to tell them that I had pushed her against the wall and tried to choke her. She also told them that I ha...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You should consult with an attorney as a civil Order of Protection can have criminal implications later. In my experience with cases on the Seattle Domestic Violence Calendar, it is very difficult for the person accused to obtain a dismissal of the case. The standard of proof that the Court uses in civil order of protection cases is "more probable than not." In plain English, that means if the Court is 51% convinced that you committed domestic violence and 49% that you did not, it is likely your wife will be granted the permanent Order of Protection. As evident, that standard is force less strict than in criminal cases, in which the jury (or judge , if it is a bench trial) must be convinced "beyond a reasonable doubt." If you do not testify, your wife's Order will almost certainly be granted. On the other hand, if you do testify, or sign any written testimony, that evidence can be used against you later in the criminal case. Lay people often volunteer information that they think is "helpful" to their case that in actuality is damaging. You cannot lie, but likewise, in the United States you cannot be forced to give incriminating testimony against yourself. Whether you should testify or not is a decision you should make after meeting with legal counsel to better understand the risks and benefits. If you can afford to hire an attorney for the hearing, so much the better. Best of luck to you.

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  • Is there a law or what can be done in this situation where there is a order of protection against the father....

    ....to the mother but the children are not included in the order, only the ex. According to the Parenting plan I have unlimited/unhindered access via phone or other to my children. However my ex only has one phone number. I am currently going thro...

    Kathryn’s Answer

    Unfortunately, this is a common abuse of protection orders. The solution depends on what precisely the Order says. I recommend you contact my office for a free consultation (or another another attorney who also frequently practices civil protection order cases) to review the exact language of the order. Many times a motion can be brought to remedy the problem. If the Court did not intend to have the order of protection prevent you from contact with your children, judges are often unhappy when an ex-spouse or parent misuses it for that purpose and will change it so that it works for you and the children.

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