Seattle Divorce Lawyers Blog

Seattle Divorce Attorney Hillary Roberts Joins the Goldberg Jones Team

Hillary RobertsWe are excited to welcome Hillary Roberts to the Goldberg Jones team.  Hillary has the drive and passion that are the cornerstone of an outstanding attorney. Since her first family law classes in law school, she has been focused on honing her legal skills to be an effective and efficient advocate for husbands and fathers in the greater Seattle area.

Hillary’s experience encompasses the King County Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union and private practice in the Seattle area. Her breadth of experience has made her an efficacious communicator that treats all her clients with dignity and respect.

Her legal style is best described as tenacious and strategic. She believes in using the right tool for the job, and designs her tactics around her clients’ goals and needs. The pursuit of justice remains at the heart of Hillary’s practice and she is a fierce advocate.

Our managing attorney, Ken Alan, commented on the addition of Hillary saying, “She has a calm demeanor that is often underestimated.  She is a determined and stalwart attorney that knows how to fight to protect her clients’ rights and assets. We are thrilled to have her on the team.”

Hillary holds a Bachelor degree and a Master’s degree in 19th Century Literature Washington State University.  She earned her Juris Doctor from Seattle University.

In addition to being a dedicated attorney, Hillary is also a sports enthusiast and loves spending time outdoors. She enjoys being active and testing her limits with events like the Tough Mudder.

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Seattle Divorce Attorney, Rick Jones, Shares Divorce Help


Satisfaction of judgment

The first caller in this installment of Life Coach had a question about alimony (also called spousal support). The caller stated that in his divorce he was ordered to pay alimony and has 1 year of support payments remaining. The total amount that he owes his wife over the course of the year is $25,000. Instead of making payments over the next twelve months, the caller has negotiated with his ex-wife to pay a lump sum of  $18,000.  The caller wants to know what action is required to make sure he has satisfied his spousal support obligation and how to protect himself from any future attempts by his ex-wife to seek further payments.

Rick informs the caller that the caller will need to file a document called “Satisfaction of Judgment” that acknowledges there was a $25,000 debt that has been satisfied by an $18,000 payment.

A Satisfaction of Judgment document is a formal written acknowledgement that the judgment (in this case the $25,000 spousal support) has been satisfied under terms that are agreeable to both parties.

Settlement conference

The next caller wanted to know what to expect from his upcoming settlement conference.

A settlement conference is a meeting of opposing parties of a divorce to negotiate mutually agreed upon terms of the divorce. The jurisdiction of the divorce will determine who oversees the conference in an attempt to prevent the divorce from going to trial.

The settlement conference will cover all aspects regarding the terms of the divorce, including parenting time, child support, custody, the division of debts and assets, and spousal support.

Imputed income

Jill from Everett called with questions about her imputed income.

Imputed income is defined as “the addition of the value of cash/non-cash compensation to an employee's’ taxable wages in order to properly withhold income and employment taxes from the wages. Imputed income is taxable to the assignee (unless specifically exempt). Because it is delivered for the performance of services (related to employment) it must be included in the assignee's Form W-2 to accurately reflect the assignee's taxable wage-related income.”

Simply stated, in the context of child support, the court treats the parent’s income as being greater than what the parent has declared. Imputed income can occur when the court determines that a parent is under employed, unemployed, or under reporting income in an effort to affect child support payments.

You can hear all of Rick’s advice in the clip below, and if you have questions about divorce, custody, or any other family law issue, please give us a call. Our managing attorney, Ken Alan, is always happy to answer your questions over the phone at no charge.

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Debt and Divorce

do I have to pay for my ex's credit cards

When it comes to divorce, it is common for people to discuss dividing property, assets, income, retirement savings, etc., but rarely does the issue of dividing debts get raised in casual conversation. For many couples, dividing debt can be an overwhelming challenge and the most contentious part of their divorce.

Credit card debt is particularly difficult because it isn’t uncommon for large credit card balances to come as a surprise to one spouse. Additionally, one spouse may be unaware that the other spouse has multiple credit cards, all with outstanding balances. This can cause a great deal of tension, because although unaware of the debt, they may still be obligated to pay some or all of it.

When debt is incurred during a marriage, it is usually viewed as a community responsibility, meaning that while the credit card is only in one person’s name, both partners are liable for repayment. The courts view married couples as a single entity; therefore it is immaterial who incurred the debt.

To the dismay of divorcing couples everywhere, credit card companies are not bound by divorce decrees. After the divorce is final, the credit card companies can come after you to cover debt incurred during the marriage.  When the credit card was obtained, you entered into a contract with the credit card company and a family law judge doesn’t have the jurisdiction to alter the credit card company’s rights. While the credit card company may come after you to repay debt assigned to your spouse, you aren’t without recourse. If the divorce decree has assigned that debt to your spouse, they fail to pay and you suffer damages, you will have grounds to sue.

If you are facing divorce or separation, it is important to be proactive in protecting your credit and limiting your exposure to liabilities.  Contact your financial institution or creditor and find out how to transfer joint accounts to a single account holder. You may still have legal responsibilities for the existing balances on the account once it is transferred, but will limit your spouse’s ability to exact financial revenge.

Dividing debt can be challenging and there are numerous factors to consider. Be sure to speak with an experienced family lawyer and financial planner to understand how your divorce will affect your unique situation. Our managing attorney, Ken Alan, is always happy to answer your questions over the phone at no charge. (206) 448-1010

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Seattle Divorce Questions: Custody, Parenting Plans, and Jursidiction


In this episode of Life Coach with Sarah and Danny Bonaduce, Seattle divorce attorney Rick Jones gives the four-one-one on custody, jurisdiction, enforcing a parenting plan, and meretricious relationships.

The show’s first caller had some concerns about custody and wanted to know what the next steps would be for getting a custody order. Three months ago she relocated to Washington state with her daughter and she was worried that she might have broken the law. Rick quickly put her concerns to rest and informed her that she hasn’t broken any laws by relocating.  He then explained the next step is to establish jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction is defined as “the power or right to make judgments about the law” and “the power or right to govern an area”. In Washington, there is a 6-month waiting period before jurisdiction is established. Rick informs the caller that after the 6 months has passed, she will need to file to create a parenting plan in Washington that defines custodial rights and outlines any restrictions that might need to be put in place.

The next caller had questions about enforcing her custody order. Her custody order grants her authority to enroll her child in extra curricular activities as long as they are within reason and the cost is to be shared between her and the child’s father. The caller stated that the child’s father has declined to share the expense of the activity and she wanted to know if she can enforce the order and require him to pay.

Rick told her that the father is indeed responsible for the portion outlined in the custody order, but it is possible he won’t pay.  Rick also advised the caller to evaluate the cost to enforce the order to determine if it makes financial sense.  Danny chimed in and posited that going to court over $20 a month doesn’t make sense. Rick followed up saying that in this instance the cost to enforce the order will greatly exceed the cost of paying for 100% of the activity.

You can hear Rick’s advice about these situations and more in the clip below. If you have questions about your rights as a husband or father give us a call. We are happy to provide answers over the phone at no charge and no obligation. (206) 448-1010

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Goldberg Jones at Super Bowl XLVIII


If you have ever been in our office, you know that the team at Goldberg Jones is avid about sports—particularly our home teams.

This year proved to be a golden opportunity to not only support the Seahawks, but also a good cause. Every year our firm participates in Seattle University’s Red Tie Celebration to support student-athletes “who are striving, not only to be champions in the athletic world, but also future leaders in our community.” Part of that event is a charity auction and last year’s auction included tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Red Tie Celebration happens well before the NFL preseason begins, so it was serendipitous that managing partner, Rick Jones, secured the tickets with his winning bid in the charity auction. Supporting a good cause always pays off, but it is the ultimate reward to have our beloved Seahawks playing in tomorrow’s game!

Rick has been sharing his Super Bowl experience and is the official correspondent for KZOK. You can hear some of Rick’s report and his predictions in the clip below. Additionally, we will be sending out updates on twitter during the big game—so follow us at @GoldbergJonesWA

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