Laura Sutkus established Sutkus Law Firm in October of 2010, following 26 years of legal work in several fields, with a specialty in family law cases. Mediation and collaborative law training, as well as experience in litigation and advocacy, provide for your choice of services within several types of cases, which are identified below alphabetically.
Collaborative Law: Collaboration is a method of resolving family law disputes, in which the parties agree at the outset to resolve all issues without going to court. Collaborative law is a means by which the parties maintain a more direct involvement in resolving their issues, while transforming their relationship. The Uniform Collaborative Law Act became law in Washington in 2013. Click on Collaborative Law Training, at the end of this section, to learn more about this process.
Dissolution of Marriage and Legal Separation: Laura has represented hundreds of clients in divorces and legal separations. The scope of representation has ranged from unbundled legal services, by advising clients who otherwise represent themselves, to advocacy through trial involving complex parenting and financial issues.
Enforcement of Court Orders: Assistance in filing or responding to an Order to Show Cause for Contempt, or a motion to the court to clarify or enforce existing court orders.
Estate Planning: Drafting of basic Wills, Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives.
Mediation and Settlement Conferences: Laura has training as a mediator, to resolve disputes outside of court, before or after a case has been filed. Mediation may take place without attorneys or with attorneys participating (often called a settlement conference). Laura has also represented many clients as their advocate in mediation. Arbitration may be used instead of, or in conjunction with, a mediation. Laura has also acted as an Arbitrator and has represented clients in arbitrations.
Committed Intimate Relationships: The dissolution of a marital-like, cohabitation relationship involves many of the same issues as a dissolution of marriage, following a process analogous to a dissolution of marriage. Resolution may be through court or outside of court.
Modifications and Adjustments of Child Support: Parents may seek to adjust child support pursuant to an automatic adjustment provision or to modify child support because of a substantial change of circumstances. The payment provisions of a child’s college or vocational education, which has been reserved, may need to be determined. A parent may need advice to update child support without lawyers, or representation to file or respond to a motion to adjust or a petition to modify.
Modifications of Parenting Plans and Relocations: A parent may wish to modify the Parenting Plan, either by minor modifications or making a major modification to change the child’s primary residence. Relocations outside of the school district or which make the current residential schedule unworkable may require a court proceeding or negotiations. Laura has represented parents in hearings and trials of contested relocation cases.
Parentage Cases: Our firm represents both mothers and fathers in cases establishing a child’s parentage, and the parents’ rights and responsibilities.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements: Occasionally people wish to formalize their agreements about various financial issues before or during their marriage. We represent one of the parties in the negotiation and drafting of these agreements.
Third Party Custody Cases: We handle cases in which a non-parent is seeking custody. After a lengthy trial in King County Superior Court in 2004, Laura successfully obtained residential custody for a child’s adult second cousin. The court’s decision was upheld by the Washington Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
Unbundled Legal Services
We offer unbundled legal services, in which you represent yourself in mediation or a court case, while receiving our advice and assistance about limited issues, based upon your need.