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Questions Answered by Marjorie Simmons

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Washington on

Q: Is my wife in titled to half of my pension after only 4 years of marriage.

My wife had 4 affairs and paid off all her student loans without me knowing. Not to mention she also had a abortion without telling me.

Marjorie Simmons answered on Dec 18, 2017

Money earned from employment during marriage is community property in Washington, including deferred compensation like pensions and 401ks. Non-community property states often consider money earned during marriage to belong to both parties too. The part of a retirement account that is divisible at... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Washington on

Q: My ex husband is retiring from his job to avoid paying maintenance. If he gets another job is he still retired?

My ex husband is only 59 and can't get social security and can't get his PERS pension until 65 I think. Obviously he has to support himself somehow. So he will have to get another job.

Marjorie Simmons answered on Oct 17, 2016

If your decree orders maintenance he is required to pay it, and voluntary unemployment will not exempt him from that obligation.

Do you have a QDRO (order for dividing retirement assets) already made? If not, you should do this right away, because your options are severely limited if he...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Small Claims for Washington on

Q: I hired a mover to move me from OR to WA. He disappeared and took my $600 deposit. Where can I file a lawsuit?

I was talking to the guy daily right up until the night before the move. Morning of the move he ghosted on me. For two weeks he ignored many calls and texts until I threatened legal action. I also wrote an honest (bad) review of his business online and now he's pissed, and threatening to not give... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

How vexing an experience for you that must be. You'll want to read the UTC's page on movers at: Movers must be licensed. Call them to make a complaint at 888-333-WUTC (9882) and see their moving publications at... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Washington on

Q: Can my neighbor claim adverse possession to 6 in of land inside my property line, but on the outside of a fence I built?

The fence has been standing for ten years in the state of Washington. The fence was put up by my family, so they did not actively seek to take the land from us. We want to move the fence over by 4 inches to accommodate the new home we built. They are claiming adverse possession. They have not... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

The state law governing adverse possession is at RCW 7.38 ( Generally, to make such a claim they must have been actually possessing the land in an open, notorious fashion, in good faith, under a claim of right for a period of 7 years,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Legal Malpractice for Washington on

Q: What is the statute of, definition of and other limitations around legal malpractice in WA State?

Sorry not clearer, but I've seen this but also seeing something that says the statute of limitations BEGINS only when the malpractice is discovered (or close to that). Guess that's what I'm looking at. Thx

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

There is no statute of limitation on legal malpractice. The definition can depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of your case, but there are things you can expect from your lawyer, at minimum, like working within the confines of the legal ethics rules. See the section on what to expect... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Traffic Tickets for Washington on

Q: School van stopping at railroad crossings.

I drive a commercial 9 passenger school van to pickup and drop off students. The company that I drive for tells us that we are not required to stop at railroad crossings because our vans do not have the 8-way flashing warning lights as the bigger busses have. I thought that any and all commercial... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

The state superintendent of public instruction adopts and enforces rules not inconsistent with the state statutes to govern the design, marking, and mode of operation of all school buses owned and operated by any school district or privately owned and operated under contract or otherwise with any... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Washington on

Q: No will. One of the three children has passed. Does the spouse or her 2 adult children get her part?

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

Generally, in Washington the spouse will inherit things before adult children, but not always. If there are financial accounts that are of the "payable on death" (POD) type, those accounts will have a directive to pay a particular person on the death of the account holder, and the same for life... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Washington on

Q: Can Rainbow pattern dice be copyrighted?

A dice manufacturer has made dice for games like dungeons and dragons that are rainbow pattern. By Layering different colored resin on top of resin until the die is completed. Can this be copyrighted? They said they put in a copyright that protects this in the USA. But I can't find it.

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

A copyright springs into being automatically when a work is created in a tangible form, however, registering the copyright with the U.S. Copyright office gives the copyright holder more rights to pursue a remedy if the copyright is infringed by others. You may want to read the general FAQ... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Collections and Consumer Law for Washington on

Q: A collection agency tried to coerce me into acknowledging a debt when I requested validation. Do I have any recourse?

I had verbally requested a verification of debt be sent to me in writing. I was told that they could not send me verification of debt without me first acknowledging that I may actually be responsible for it. I refused and insisted on them sending me something in writing. I have since mailed them a... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

You may benefit by reading the article on debtors' rights re collections at the Washington Law Help website:

The website also has other articles on debtors' rights.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Washington on

Q: [ got a 20 day notice of termination of tenancy for no other reason butt spite what are my rights I have no rental

me and my common law wife have lived hear two years along with her niece and husband and two kids but I'm the target of this action the house is owned by the niece and her husband and my wife sister I ve had total access to the property garages etc. my rent is paid in full for the next month she... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

You might find the tenants' rights articles at Washington Law Help to be informative:

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody for Washington on

Q: Need to prepare for court hearing concerning a new parenting plan to get my son back full custody.

The story is long here, but short version is I have a court hearing coming up and need to get my five-year-old back with me full custody. He is much better off with me, better living conditions, with his friends and neighborhood he grew up with. If someone thinks they can help me then I will give... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

You can start or continue learning about parenting plans at

In King county you can call 211 to reach the Northwest Justice Project where you may find additional help. Visit the court's website to determine...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Washington on

Q: Have 1.5 weeks to get ready for a hearing to get my son back, FULL custody. How can I be prepared to win this case?

My son is 5 years old and his mother suddenly moved him, her and her daughter's belongings out of our apartment that we shared for 6 years. She did this right in front of the children, very upsetting to them and me. She took my son away and refused to let me see him for the most part. I contacted... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Sep 13, 2016

What a difficult situation for you. Each county has some kind of legal aid program, one that organizes for others in the state is the Northwest Justice Project ( You can call their CLEAR Hotline at 1-888-201-1014

(M-F 9:15 am to 12:15 pm) to see if pro bono (free)...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for Washington on

Q: This issue pertains to tenant landlord law and the questions and situation are explained under more information

At the end of June me and a new roommate and her daughter moved into a new apartment in Bothell, WA. The apartment is leased to her and she is the only one that signed the contract. I am listed on this contract, along with her daughter, under "Occupants". Now that I am needing to move again, the... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Aug 25, 2016

Do you have a copy of what was signed? What does the fine print say? It sounds as if your former roommate may have had the expectation that you would contribute to the rent payment when the two of you entered into the rental arrangement. If so and if she would not have leased the apartment... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Identity Theft and Consumer Law for Washington on

Q: will I be able to sue the bank or the car place for allowing someone to purchase a car without checking if it was me?

I had no credit and someone used my actual drivers license picture and all to get a $7,000+ car loan and bought a car, the car place lied to me multiple times about this person ,and tried to convince me to drop it and not file a police report but I have already contacted the police. Drivers license... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Aug 25, 2016

What an aggravating experience you've had. In your position I would first put a freeze on my credit reports ( and then speak with an attorney who focuses on consumer law. Many will offer a free initial consult, and some will take this... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on

Q: My boyfriend and I are breaking up. He is the one who originally purchased the dog. Am I at risk of losing my companion?

We both wanted her and he fronted the money, I've been paying him back for my share of her in monthly installments. However, he threatened to get a lawyer or call the police on me if I took her. I'm the one who primarily cares for her, found her (from the breeder) and picked her out, I'm the one... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Aug 25, 2016

From your description it sounds as if you are the dog's primary provider. Have you tallied what each of you has paid for her acquisition and care, including time spent, to see where the two of you stand with regard to financial outlays on her behalf? The two of you might benefit from a mediation,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Support, Civil Litigation and Divorce for South Carolina on

Q: Will a judge order joint custody with no exchange of money in a self lititgated divorce? All issues are agreed upon

According to the online calculator, it looks as if no money would exchange hands anyway but I wanted to be sure since we are both representing ourselves. We are able to co-parent successfully and have maintained a joint custody arrangement since our separation three years ago. We would like to be... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Aug 25, 2016

Maybe. The legal standard is what's in the best interest of the child. You can call the SC Bar and ask for a referral to an attorney in your county, then call them. If they agree to a short and free consultation, you can pose the question and perhaps get more information.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for Washington on

Q: How do I find out if my daughter's father is divorced from his wife ?

I got pregnant ( unknowingly ) in Dec 2013 by a man I was dating who had been separated from his wife who lives in MI, they were married in TN in 2009, he and I both reside in WA state and he is currently incarcerated here in WA. I told him I don't want anything to do with him when he gets out if... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Aug 25, 2016

You can search the MI courts website for case filings:

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Washington on

Q: My husband recently moved out (17 year marriage) and we do not know what direction we will go(below)

We have discussed setting up separate checking accounts to make management easier (leave all savings alone). Verbal agreement on who would pay what bills. Would any arrangement we set up now negatively effect me if we divorce in the future? Two minor children live with me.

Marjorie Simmons answered on Aug 25, 2016

Possibly, especially with regard to retirement accounts. If either of you have retirement accounts, you should do QDROs now and not wait for the dissolution proceeding. A QDRO is a qualified domestic relations order that splits a retirement account. Most retirement plans have strict rules on... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on

Q: How old do you have to be to own a dog in Washington state???

Marjorie Simmons answered on Jul 15, 2016

That's a really good question, and the answer depends on different factors. In general, to be able to enter into contracts in Washington, you must be 18 years old or older (an "adult"), and not under some other legal constraint. Things like pet licenses and veterinary care services contracts... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on

Q: My roomate dropped my cat at a shelter as found. Without my knowledge. Is this against the law. He didn't like cat.

My roomate didn't like my cat, and dropped him off at a shelter as a found cat. I called around thinking my cat was lost, found him at a shelter. Normally this would be fine if he was lost. But there are too many "coincidences" pointing to my roomate. I had to pay for my cat, and filled out a paper... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons answered on Jul 15, 2016

In Washington it is a gross misdemeanor (crime) to take or conceal pets: RCW 9.08.070 ( Animal cruelty is different and is also covered by state laws in RCW 16.52 (

It may also be a...
Read more »

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