All posts by Héctor E. Quiroga

Parenting Plan Modifications in Spokane County

Parenting plan modifications in Spokane courts happen daily. You know, Life happens, and not always in the way we envision. Any changes will have to be significant, though, for a Spokane County judge to amend your parenting plan.
A parenting plan is supposed to provide stability for divorcing parents and their children. So it’s easy to see why courts are reluctant to tinker with them once they’re adopted. You’ll have to jump through some legal hoops: file a petition for modification, hope the court commissioner agrees that a change is needed, write a new parenting plan, and, possibly, appear in court to argue your case.
To get a change in your plan, you’ll need to provide evidence of a “substantial change” in situation or circumstance since the original plan’s approval.

Read more

Non-Contested Divorces in Spokane: a Good Solution to an Expensive Problem

Non-contested divorces in Spokane are common. It is important to remember that just because you both agree, it doesn’t mean your divorce will be a snap.
In Washington State, every divorce is automatically “no-fault.”
An amicable divorce will almost occur faster and at a lower cost than one in which the parties fight over dividing assets or a parenting plan for children. A non-contested divorce in Washington State can take 90 days — the minimum time required by law — as opposed to six months or even a year (and in more complicated ones even more) when the parties are in dispute.
Getting a non-contested divorces in Spokane also tends to lower the price tag for divorcing couples. Mediators, arbitrators, repeated filings and protracted court battles can bring the cost of divorce up to $10,000 or even $15,000 per party. When spouses reach agreement among themselves, however, the price can be as low as $2,500 — total (sometimes less depending on the parties assets, liabilities, retirements, and other factors).

Read more

Writing a Parenting Plan in Spokane Washington

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when children are involved. At this time, more than ever, they need stability. That’s why a parenting plan is the very best thing you can do for them, and for yourselves — whether you are separating, divorcing, or merely ending a relationship.
Required by law in Washington for divorcing couples with children, parenting plans protect everyone in a family during a time often rife with conflict.
Arguments over the children’s visitation won’t need to occur, because the parents have already agreed, in writing, to a schedule specifying which days the children spend with each of them.

Read more

Spousal Maintenance in Spokane County

Spousal maintenance in Spokane County does work differently than in other counties. Some counties in Washington will allow court commissioners to make decisions regarding child support and alimony; some will only allow Superior Court judges to make such decision, even if done in a temporary basis.
All things being equal, you could walk away from your divorce scot-free. If you’re divorcing in Washington State and things aren’t equal, however, the court may order spousal maintenance.
Also known as “alimony,” spousal maintenance consists of mandated payments from the higher-earning spouse to the person who earns less.
The size of the payment depends partly on how many years the couple was married — the fewer the years, the lower the award tends to be — and partly upon the incomes of those divorcing. Other factors include work history and whether or not the person needing support is able to work, including his or her physical and emotional condition.
The wheels of spousal maintenance in Spokane start turning as soon as your attorney files your petition for divorce. The procedure differs among counties in Washington, but in Spokane County a court commissioner will first review your financial declaration and that of your spouse, your tax records and bank statements, and other documents before signing temporary orders establishing payments.

Read more

Non-compete and non-solicit clauses in Spokane: Let the worker beware

Washington is a “right to work” state, but that doesn’t necessarily give you the right to work anywhere you choose — especially not today, it seems.
In these tough economic times, the job market really is a buyer’s market. With a glut of labor trying to fill relatively few open positions, employers seem to be demanding more from the workers they hire — such as requiring them to sign “non-compete” and/or “non-solitication” agreements.
Spokane Washington Non Compete Agreements
Agreement and clauses not to compete are enforceable
These agreements, often buried in the employment contract, should wave a red flag in the face of anyone asked to sign them. They protect the employer, but can actually harm the employee.
Signing a non-compete agreement or a contract containing one means that you, the employee, cannot compete against your employer for a period of time after leaving the company where you work.
These clauses can not only prevent you from opening a competing business, but also may stop you from accepting a job with a company deemed to be in competition with your employer. If you work as a bank teller with Bank A, you might not be able to take that manager’s job at Bank B.
Clauses like these do offer the employer some protection against company secrets’ being divulged to the competition. Non-compete clauses are quite common in sales, for obvious reasons: Salespeople with inside knowledge of a company’s products as well as upcoming promotions, information the employer deems confidential. Having a sales representative take a job with a competitor increases the likelihood that the competing company will gain access to information that could hurt the original employer.

Read more

Oral Contracts vs. Written: Get It in Writing

It’s always a good idea to be careful about what you say, but especially when agreeing to a transaction. Because, in Washington and elsewhere, oral contracts can be every bit as binding as written ones.
The key factor is evidence. Without a witness’s testimony, a recording, or some other indication of the agreement’s terms, no judge can enforce your oral contract.
In the United States, any contract, written or oral, must have three components to be considered legally binding: offer, acceptance, and consideration, or price. That’s pretty simple, which is another reason to take care. An estimate or quote, if accepted and agreed upon, can constitute a contract.

Read more

A Different Perspective to Being a Lawyer

When I immigrated to the United States (January 20, 2000), I remember the excitement of the countless opportunities that laid ahead. My birth country, Colombia, with all of its problems and drug wars, was a difficult place to leave but America promised freedom, and I was seeking that freedom.
I always knew I wanted to study law (my grandfather, parents, uncles, and sister are Colombian attorneys). However, once in the United States, the roadblock to becoming a lawyer was self-evident. Most (not to say all) of my English as a Second Language teachers would remind me that English is the lawyer’s craft… and I was very far from ever mastering the skill.

Read more

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!

We love this season! We have the blessing to spend time with our family and in a genuine way express of feelings of love and caring for each other. We appreciate you as a client, friend, and part of our extended family. We would like to express our gratitude to you for placing trust in our office.
The Quiroga Law Office, PLLC is a small family business and we could not do it without your continuing support. Thank you!

Read more

Forming an LLC in Spokane Washington

Say your employee has an accident in the company truck, and gets sued. Or maybe someone slips and falls on the steps leading to your business’s front door, and sues you. Or perhaps a customer isn’t pleased with the outcome of a service or product you provided, and files a lawsuit.
What would you stand to lose? Everything, if your business is a sole proprietorship. Because, if the plaintiff wins the suit against you and the award is greater than your business is worth, you might have to sell your house or car the cash, dip into — or deplete your savings and in some circumstances your retirement account, or worse.
What would you stand to lose? Everything, if your business is a sole proprietorship. Because, if the plaintiff wins the suit against you and the award is greater than your business is worth, you might have to sell your house or car the cash, dip into — or deplete your savings and in some circumstances your retirement account, or worse.
In Washington, a community property state, your spouse might have his or her wages garnished to pay the award.

Read more

Injured Pedestrian? Know Your Rights

Whoever said the pedestrian always has the right of way?
In Washington, nothing could be farther from the truth. If you’re a pedestrian, you must obey laws just as drivers do. You also have rights, however, which often include the right to medical coverage if a vehicle hits you, and possibly more.
Your vehicle insurance policy may provide coverage in case of a collision, even if you’re crossing the street on foot. If you aren’t insured, the insurance someone in your household carries — a parent, a spouse, or even a roommate — may pay your medical bills. Or, if the driver caused the accident, his or her insurance may pay.
Insurance companies, however, want to make money, not spend it. Some may unscrupulously try to discredit a pedestrian’s claims of injury or pain.
That’s why calling an attorney is one of the first things you should do if a vehicle strikes you. Because you can bet the insurance companies have already called their lawyers.
And remember: you have the right to remain silent. That claims adjuster may be friendly, but his job is to gather evidence against you.

Read more