View Menu
Phone: 425.456.0614
Facsimile: 425.462.4377

E-Mail | Map & Directions
Law Office of Ted D. Billbe, PLLC
9 Lake Bellevue Drive
Suite 218
Bellevue, WA 98005

Areas of Practice

Divorce/Legal Separation

The majority of our cases are divorces. We handle a broad range of divorce cases that involve both parenting and financial issues and range from fairly cooperative cases to highly contested cases. We represent about equal number of men and women. Most clients want to settle their cases and we work to try and make that happen to minimize conflict and cost. We work to gather the information and documents necessary to identify issues and evaluate the case and move toward settlement. When issues or cases cannot be settled, we have the experience to represent our clients in court.

Complex Financial

We often work in high asset cases with complicated asset valuation or tracing issues. We have worked in cases with substantial family wealth or family-controlled businesses which often present substantial valuation and separate property issues. We also frequently work in cases involving business executives which present complicated compensation and deferred compensation issues. We regularly work in cases involving professionals such as physicians, dentists and lawyers which present issues of business valuation and professional goodwill.

All of these cases require an attorney that has the background and experience to understand the numbers and identify and evaluate the issues. Ted Billbe has these skills built upon his business education and corporate experience honed with more than 18 years of experience representing clients in high value and complex financial cases. Ted has the experience to understand and spot critical financial issues. He knows how to select and work with reputable expert witnesses to build and present an effective case.

Child Custody

Whenever parents divorce, the court requires a parenting plan for all of the parties’ minor children. A parenting plan sets forth each parent’s rights and obligations in parenting matters, including a detailed residential schedule for where the children will reside and what contact they have with the other parent. A parenting plan also contains provisions to make major decisions for the children and a procedure to resolve parenting disputes. If there is domestic violence or drug or alcohol use, the parenting plan often contains restrictions and conditions to protect the children and require therapy or treatment for the parents and/or the children.

The court often approves or decides a temporary parenting plan when the case is first filed and a final parenting plan in connection with the decree of dissolution that dissolves the marriage. When custody is contested, the court often appoints a guardian ad litem or parenting evaluator to conduct a parenting investigation and make a report and recommendations to the court. We are experienced in helping our clients understand and navigate the evaluation process.

It is important that you obtain the best possible parenting plan because once a parenting plan has been established, the plan can be modified only under certain limited circumstances.

Child Support

Child support is the obligation a court sets for divorced, separated or unmarried parents to contribute to the financial support of their children. Child support orders establish each parent’s obligation to contribute to their child’s living expenses as well as expenses such as childcare, education, healthcare and other special child expenses. We have represented many hundreds of clients in child support matters, both to establish child support in connection with divorce or separation, and to adjust or modify support orders due to the passage of time or changes of circumstances.

Washington has a child support schedule that must be applied in all cases, but the amount of basic child support in any given case depends on many factors, including the number and ages of the children and the amount of each parent’s income. Issues can arise when a parent’s income fluctuates because of commission or overtime income. Income issues also arise in cases where a parent receive bonus income or is compensated in part with stock, stock options, or other forms of deferred compensation.

The court has authority to “deviate” from the support schedule and either increase or decrease the amount of the basic child support after considering factors such as the residential schedule for the children, the existence of substantial debt, other children for whom support is paid, and income of other adults in the household.

Child Relocation

We live in a mobile society where people often move for personal and professional reasons. When a parent wants to move with a child out of his or her current school district and beyond, significant issues can arise about whether or not the child should relocate with that parent and what provisions the parenting plan should have to maintain the child’s relationship with both parents.

Washington has a child relocation law that provides that neither parent can change the primary residence of a child without either the consent of the other parent or approval of the court. The law provides specific procedures that each parent, both the parent seeking to relocate and the other parent, must follow. Failure to understand and comply with these procedures could substantially impair a parent’s legal rights.

The law also provides specific criteria the parties and the court must consider to resolve any disputes about whether or not relocation of the child should be permitted and the terms for a long distance parenting plan. We have successfully represented clients to obtain consent or authority to relocate with their child. We have also successfully prevented a parent from moving children away from our client.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Washington has many laws and rules that generally apply when a marriage is terminated by divorce or death. The court uses these laws and rules to divide property and debts and consider or establish provisions for spousal support and payment of attorney’s fees.

Washington law provides, however, that under certain circumstances a couple can enter into a valid contract by which they can establish their own rules to settle their financial affairs in the event of divorce or death. If the agreement is signed before the parties marry, it is often called a prenuptial agreement. If the agreement is signed after marriage, it is generally called a postnuptial agreement. Having such an agreement can create more certainty regarding financial terms should the parties divorce and potentially avoid expensive divorce litigation.

We have experience assisting clients who are contemplating entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. We can draft an agreement for you or we can help you understand an agreement that was prepared by or for your fiancé or spouse. Our objective is to listen to you to understand why you or your spouse want a marital agreement and what you would like your agreement to accomplish. We then work to help you understand the agreement and how the agreement might act to modify rights that you or your spouse might otherwise have in the absence of the agreement.

We also have experience representing persons who signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and the validity, or enforceability, of the agreement is challenged when the parties breakup. Whether or not the court may enforce any specific agreement depends on the specific facts of each case, including the terms of the agreement and the circumstances by which the agreement was prepared and signed. Generally, the court should enforce a martial agreement if it provides fair and reasonable provisions for the party who is not seeking to enforce it. If the agreement is not fair for both spouses, the court can nevertheless enforce it if the court finds that when the agreement was signed there was full disclosure by the parties of the amount, character, and value of their respective property and each party entered into the agreement voluntarily on independent advice and with full knowledge of his or her rights.

Unmarried Relationships/Committed Intimate Relationships

People can choose for a variety of reasons to live together and not marry. When such a relationship ends, there are often complex questions regarding the parties’ respective legal rights under Washington Law. If the parties had a cohabitation agreement, their rights may be contractually defined, or there may be questions regarding the enforceability of their agreement. If the parties did not have a contract to define their rights, their rights often will be determined on the nature and duration of their actual relationship. If the couple lived in stable, marital-like relationship, often called a “committed intimate relationship,” the court will equitably divide the property the parties acquired during the committed relationship.

After the breakup, parties often disagree about the nature or duration of their relationship. Whether or not two persons lived in a “marital-like” relationship turns necessarily on the facts of each case, but the court will look to whether there was continuous cohabitation, the duration of the relationship, the purpose of the relationship, whether they pooled resources and services for joint projects, and the intent of the parties.

Cohabitation Agreements

If you live in an intimate relationship with another person and do not marry, the situation may create complex legal issues should your relationship end or either of you die. To minimize the legal uncertainties, persons who live together may consider entering into a written cohabitation agreement to outline how you and your partner divide expenses, in addition to owning and dividing property of your relationship ends or if one of you dies. We have experience assisting clients with these matters and preparing such agreements.

Post Decree Enforcement

We often help clients understand their rights and obligations under existing court orders when a dispute arises with their former spouse or the other parent after the court orders have been entered. Because court is expensive, we work hard to resolve such disputes through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration. When necessary, we have the skills and experience to represent you in court to enforce parenting plan, child support, spousal maintenance, and other obligations.

Second Opinions

If you are in involved in a family law case you understand that the issues and procedures are complex and that you are called upon to make many important decisions. Circumstances may arise where you want to get a second opinion about your case. We can help you by using our experience and judgment to assist you in assessing the direction of your case or the quality of your current representation. In all cases we respect your desire for confidentiality.