Daniel Peters Law is a Top-Rated Family Law Firm Practicing in Oregon

Our legal services cover the following:

Divorce and separation are among the most stressful experiences a person can have in life.  Approximately 40% of American marriages end in divorce, so if you’re coming to see us, there’s a good chance you need to talk about issues relating to the present or future dissolution of your marriage.

The advantage of coming to us is that we are small enough to give you the personal attention you want during such a difficult time, and we are experienced enough to give you the expert guidance you need.  From the beginning of the process, you’ll work one on one with both Brandy and Dan.  We touch base with you every step of the way.  You will see any written communication we have with opposing counsel, and we’ll seek out your ideas before we respond.  You take the lead in the major decisions, but you’ll never need to feel you’re standing alone.

The thing is, those decisions can sometimes feel overwhelming, and divorces and separations can be much more complicated than they may at first appear. You need someone who can guide you through the complex property and debt division, parenting time and child support issues, retirement accounts, college funding, and more, and leave you feeling safe and your interests secure.  Dan Peters has spent the last twenty-five years doing just that for his clients.  There are many different options for dealing with all of these issues, ranging from a mediated settlement to litigation in court.  Let us help you find the right solutions for the immediate problems, and develop a strategy to protect your financial future.

Most people want to avoid having to go to court, and our goal is to fairly resolve everything through settlement discussions and mediation.  The vast majority of our cases settle without the need for court hearings or trials.  It is essential for your lawyer to have extensive experience—both in and out of court—to assess how to approach settlement negotiations.

There are cases where the parties have honest differences on important issues that cannot be resolved.  There are other cases where one party is simply not being reasonable.  Those are cases that need to be taken to court.  But when you and your spouse have come to an agreement on most of the issues, and you simply need an experienced attorney to guide you through some of the more complex issues, mediation and settlement are good options.

In the mediation and settlement process, each party still retains their own representation.  When working towards a settlement, the two attorneys discuss the major points of agreement, as well as any points of contention.  The attorneys then use their negotiation skills and knowledge of the law to assess the range of requests that are likely to be most successful, and work closely with each other to find the best compromise for everyone.  When we negotiate a settlement, we involve our clients every step of the way, and often find a middle path that allows a settlement to be entered with the court without the clients ever needing to set foot in a courtroom.

Sometimes, however, certain issues seem to get within a hair’s breadth of settlement, but the two positions don’t quite align.  In these cases, an experienced senior attorney or retired judge is often asked to step in and facilitate a mediation.  Years of practicing law help these mediators understand the nature of each party’s needs. Clients get the advantage of having guidance not only from their own attorneys, but often from someone with judicial experience.  And still, they don’t have to face the stresses of a trial.

We know these are the kinds of solutions many of you are looking for.  They save time and money, and protect you from the potential confrontations of a courtroom trial.  Daniel Peters has years of experience successfully negotiating with attorneys from all around the Portland area and beyond to reach agreements that work for everyone involved.

Our clients almost always consider their children a top priority.  We are dedicated to helping clients craft parenting plans that are child-focused, clearly worded, and easy to use.  Our goal is always to obtain a parenting plan both parents agree upon and which resolves issues without the stress and cost of court litigation.  If necessary, however, we are prepared to proceed to trial and seek the appropriate results from the judge.

The court is authorized to approve custody and parenting time that is in the best interest of the children.  A well-crafted parenting plan should provide a clear schedule for holidays, vacations, etc., so you can focus on enjoying time with your kids.  This should promote a smoother interaction between the parents.

In certain cases, it is important to let emotions subside to the point where each parent can focus on putting their children’s needs first.  We have extensive experience in finding creative solutions when tensions run high between family members.  Counseling and mediation oftentimes can help parents transition through this process.  Overall, our cases require skilled negotiations and strong advocacy, and, occasionally, referrals to psychologists or other experts.

In our view, your children shouldn’t be dragged through unnecessary battles; we can help you avoid that and instead build a parenting plan that works for everyone.

The state of Oregon provides a basic child support calculator, but while the calculator provides a guideline support calculation for every child support case in Oregon, that’s only part of the analysis.  An attorney like Dan Peters with experience in child support cases knows how factors not mentioned in the calculator can influence the final numbers.

All calculations have a basis in parental incomes and expenses. The guidelines are determined by monthly earnings, insurance costs, and the number of overnights spent with each parent, amongst other constants.  But not every nuance of your life will fit neatly into a pre-designed spreadsheet.  Some of the possible factors for the court to consider in ordering a different amount from the child support guidelines are:

  • Financial resources available to the parents, including those afforded by a new spouse
  • The net remaining income of a parent after paying child support
  • Special hardships of a parent
  • A cost-benefit analysis of the custodial parent being a full-time parent and homemaker
  • Special needs of a child
  • Extra child-related expenses

A full list of the rebuttal factors allowed under Oregon law can be found here.

During the course of a marriage, personal funds are usually mingled to establish a common standard of living for both spouses.  Yet marriages often end with one party earning more income than the other.

To address this inequity, Oregon law provides for three types of spousal support: transitional, maintenance, and compensatory.  Transitional support provides financial assistance to allow training or education that will increase earning capacity.  Maintenance support is ordered so that both spouses may maintain a lifestyle similar to that which they were accustomed during the marriage.  Compensatory support, the least common of the three, acknowledges significant contributions and sacrifices one party made during the marriage in order to support the developing career of their spouse.

Although the categories of spousal support may sound simple, there are nuances in the determination of  appropriate types, duration, and amounts.  Should the monthly payments last three years or ten?  Should the monthly payments all be the same amount, or should they gradually step down over time?  How will they be affected by anticipated increases in income? What happens when one or both spouses retire?  Oregon courts most often will try to achieve a “just and equitable” division, but what does that really mean?

Dan Peters has handled hundreds of spousal support cases.  He can help you evaluate your options and explain the likely outcomes in court.

A fair property division first requires a careful analysis of what assets and liabilities the parties have, and what they are worth. Our next goal is to assess our client’s present and future financial needs and put them in the best possible position when their marriage is dissolved. Most people are upfront and willing to work with the guidance of their attorneys in these matters. However, on occasion, we do have to deal with people who are not forthright in disclosing assets or debts, and it is our job to be thorough in protecting our clients. Through the legal process and the power of subpoena, we are prepared to gain access to the information we need.
Clients need guidance on how to plan for tax consequences associated with divorce and separation. For example, Spousal Support is considered taxable income to the recipient and as a tax deduction to the paying party. This needs to be considered in making sure that the net amount is appropriate. Child support is not considered taxable as it is intended for the needs of the children.

There are also tax considerations in negotiating a fair property division. For 25 years, Daniel Peters has been advising clients on how to address these issues.

What happens when one parent wants to move a substantial distance from their current residence, perhaps outside the state of Oregon? Are the children going to be allowed to move? How does relocation of a parent affect the parenting schedule? The answers vary with each case and depend on the circumstances causing the relocation. Ultimately, the court will focus on what is in the best interest of the children. Relocation cases get complicated and require creative solutions, especially if the move is going to be allowed. Clients need clear advice from an attorney like Daniel Peters on how best to address these issues.
Enforcement actions become necessary when a party refuses to follow the terms of the dissolution judgment or other court order. We have extensive experience in handling contempt matters and other enforcement proceedings. Frequently, we request from the court an order for reimbursement of legal fees expended on your behalf. People should honor their agreements and orders of the court, and we provide strong advocacy to protect our clients from those who don’t.
Other than property awards, most dissolution judgment terms can be modified upon a demonstration that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.  People’s lives change and events arise. You may experience the unexpected loss of a job, or be faced with a relocation you hadn’t considered at the time of the divorce.  You may simply be facing the changing needs of growing children.  All of these can render the current court order outdated and inappropriate, and create a need for modifications.

We can help you determine how your changing needs can be best served by a modification of your existing court orders, or how to respond to a modification sought by a former spouse.

Enforcement actions become necessary when a party refuses to follow the terms of the dissolution judgment or other court order. We have extensive experience in handling contempt matters and other enforcement proceedings.  Frequently, we request from the court an order for reimbursement of legal fees expended on your behalf.  People should honor their agreements and orders of the court, and we provide strong advocacy to protect our clients from those who don’t.

In short, we are here to help in post-judgment matters when the need arises.

In any divorce or separation case, the assets and debts of the marriage need to be identified and valued. On occasion, difficult issues emerge concerning how much a business is worth, or whether an asset has value at all. Similarly, property division can get complicated and creative solutions are called for. Clients need an attorney like Daniel Peters, who is experienced in handling these issues when they arise.
In Oregon, Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining orders can be sought against family members who have perpetrated abuse.  Those seeking the restraining order can be related by blood, marriage, or sexual relationship to the person against whom the order is sought, or be the parent of a child abused by the other parent.  In all of these situations, the person targeted by the order must have threatened, attempted, or succeeded at inflicting physical violence or coerced sexual relations upon the person filing the order within 180 days of the filing (though some exceptions do apply).

Stalking protective orders, on the other hand, have a different set of criteria: perpetrators must have made repeated unwanted coercive contact or contact that causes reasonable fear for your safety or that of your immediate family.  This must have happened at least twice in the two years preceding filing.  The accuser and accused neither have to be related nor living together.

No matter which side of the stalking or restraining order you fall on, going through the paperwork and hearing processes involved can be confusing and stressful.  What’s more, the outcome can affect you for years to come.  As a family law attorney with a criminal law background, Daniel Peters has experience needed to make valid orders stick, keeping you safe.  He also recognizes that, on occasion, such orders are unfortunately used to manipulate the outcomes of highly emotional family cases, and can help you show the court that such an order is unnecessary. 

Unfortunately, children on occasion are caught in the middle of conflict between their parents, and, in some cases, the court will appoint an attorney to provide them a voice in the process. Daniel Peters is regularly approached by family law judges in the Portland area to be an advocate for these children, and to find a way to help families move forward.