Mediation can be an excellent way to resolve legal conflicts whether you and the other party are working inside or outside the court system. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process where you and the other side, with or without counsel, meet with a neutral person who helps the two of you talk about the issues and come to agreements. A mediator does not make decisions for you or give legal advice; this professional conflict resolver works with both parties to help find common ground for agreement and explore a variety of possible solutions. Our attorneys can represent you at that mediation or simply help you prepare for mediation if legal counsel will not be present.
Susan Carroll can also act as a mediator for your case. When acting as a mediator, she cannot give legal advice or advocate for either party, but she can help both sides work through all the issues that need to be resolved while ensuring everyone understands their options and feels in control of their decisions. Mediation is not a substitute for legal advice and does not include the preparation of legal documents beyond documenting any agreements that are made.
Pro Se/Limited Representation
In some cases, you don’t need full representation to resolve a legal issue. You may need to simply ask some questions about the law or seek help with a specific aspect of your dispute, such as drafting pleadings or agreements. You may only need help getting through a phase of the process or a specific hearing, so for these situations we can appear as your attorney for that limited-time or specific hearing, mediation, or negotiation. You may also have limited financial means and/or want to save money by doing as much of the work as possible by yourself. When you represent yourself pro se, you remain the person responsible for following your case schedule and handling your filings, but you still have the benefit of having an attorney available to answer legal questions, work with you on strategy, and help you draft or review documents.
Also called Collaborative Divorce, Collaboration, or Collaborative Practice, Collaborative Law is an alternative dispute resolution process that takes your family’s conflicts out of the court and into a reasoned, confidential, and interest-based problem solving environment. Collaborative Law is not limited to divorce, but is frequently used in that arena and is often referred to as “Divorce With Dignity”. The process can be used to discuss parenting plans, custody, out-of-state moves, property division and other common family law issues.
In Collaborative Law, parties agree not to “roll the dice” by taking their disputes to court and then having to live with whatever the judge rules. Instead, both parties take control of the decisions in their dispute and commit to reaching agreed solutions. Unlike traditional marital conflicts, the win-win approach behind Collaborative Law allows parties to proceed reasonably, work jointly with financial experts to assure the best possible financial outcome for both partners or spouse, and consult with parenting and child development specialists to help children healthily adjust to changes in their lives. Susan Carroll leads the Collaborative Law practice at Carroll Law Group, PLLC.
Child Custody/ Parenting Plans
Whether you are divorcing with children involved, establishing a parenting plan for the first time, trying to move with your children, modifying a parenting plan, protecting your children from a bad situation, or trying to enforce a parenting plan, our attorneys can assist you with this critical, emotional, and complex area of law. We can negotiate parenting plans, whether in the context of domestic violence or substance abuse, relocations with or without children, and other plan changes. Our attorneys have handled custody issues across state lines and international borders. We can work with evaluators, treatment providers, experts, and child-focused mediators to try to reach a parenting plan that you feel is in your child’s best interest. This may include establishing that you are the parent of the child at issue, whether biologically, adoptively, or through de facto parentage.
Third Party Custody/De Facto Parentage
If a child is living with you and the child’s parents are either unable or unfit to parent at this time, Washington law provides a way for you to make sure the child is safe in your care and able to thrive. Washington allows parenting plan and support options in some cases when you have been parenting a child who is not biologically yours or adopted by you.
Third-party parenting arrangements can be a tricky minefield and must be handled with care – both in terms of the complex legal and constitutional issues involved, as well as the issues related with your ongoing relationships with the child’s biological or adoptive parent(s). We can help you determine what the best course of action is and work with you to protect and nurture the child or children involved.
Additionally, if someone you know is attempting to get custody rights to your child when they are not a biological, adoptive, or de facto parent, we can help you defend that action and work in the best interest of your child.