Pruitt-Hamm Law & Mediation Services, PS

Pruitt-Hamm Law & Mediation Services, PS

Our job is to help you to "heal" conflicts as productively, as cheaply and as quickly as possible, not to promote them or provoke them.

Firm Overview

Practice Areas include:
Collaborative Practice (Collaborative Law; Collaborative Divorce)
Mediation
Family Law- custody, parenting plans, child support, adoption, relocation, modification, etc.
Elder Law- guardianships, vulnerable adult protection, planning
Probate & Estate Disputes- TEDRA, Will contests, etc.
Wills and Estate Planning- Wills, Trusts, Health Care Directives, Death with Dignity planning, Powers of Attorney, etc.
Restraining Orders- domestic violence, vulnerable adult
Anti-Harassment Protection Orders
General Civil Litigation

Having studied conflict resolution theory since the 1970s we work with you to better understand how the legal system can be used, along with other "alternative dispute resolution" strategies, to resolve the conflicts or problems that led you to seek assistance.

We help you plan: to avoid unnecessary conflict, primarily in estate planning and in child custody cases.

We provide legal services: when conflicts do erupt we provide legal consulting and counselling; legal advocacy and litigation.

We provide mediation services: when you need a professional neutral to assist in opening communications and changing the dynamic so that entrenched conflicts can be resolved even when hope of resolution is almost non-existent.

We provide "collaborative law" services: an approach to resolving legal conflicts that blends the best of traditional litigation with the skills and problem-solving approach of mediation.

We provide therapeutic consulting: optionally, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor is available to consult and help you deal with the high emotions and the difficult people and dynamics that so often attend legal disputes; and to help design parenting plans for children that truly meet their developmental age-appropriate needs.

We provide the above services in a wide variety of areas of legal practice. Follow the link to our website for further information.
Main Office
Main Office
3418 NE 65th St.
Suite C
Seattle  WA  98115
Phone
  • 206-327-9335
Fax
  • 866-566-7277
Websites

Fees

Hourly Rates
$240 per hour; $180/hr. for Mediation and qualified EAP discounts
Divorce
With over 22 years experience Bruce Pruitt-Hamm has handled over a thousand cases, the majority of which have involved divorce and family law issues.
Divorces between husbands and wives in Washington State are governed by RCW 26.09. Domestic partnerships are dissolved under RCW 26.60. Both husbands/wives and domestic partners must obtain a "decree of dissolution" from the Superior Court in order to terminate the legal relationship they entered into upon marriage or registration.

In addition to changing the legal relations between spouses/partners, the court typically deals with up to 6 broad topic areas:
Restraining Orders
Parenting Plans
Child Support
Property/Debt Distribution
Spousal Maintenance
Attorney Fees and Costs
Child Custody
With over 22 years experience, Bruce Pruitt-Hamm has handled over a thousand cases, the majority of which have been family law matters involving child custody issue.
In 2012 there were 205 "custody" cases filed, plus 2,525 "divorces with children" filed, and 176 "modification" of parenting plan actions filed in King County, for a total of 2,996 custody cases involving a court decision on parenting. This means litigation over children is initiated on average 12 times every day the court is open.

So how does the court handle all these cases?

I often tell my clients that the court is required to look at "the good, the bad and the ugly" when it comes to custody, visitation and parenting plans.

"The Good"
The "good" parenting functions the court examines are described in RCW 26.09.004 and include the usual aspects of good parenting ensuring the welfare of your child physically, emotionally, socially and academically.

"The Bad"
The "bad" parenting is examined under RCW 26.09.191(3) and includes a longer list:
A parent's neglect or substantial nonperformance of parenting functions
A long-term emotional or physical impairment which interferes with the parent's performance of parenting functions as defined in RCW 26.09.004
A long-term impairment resulting from drug, alcohol, or other substance abuse that interferes with the performance of parenting functions
The absence or substantial impairment of emotional ties between the parent and the child
The abusive use of conflict by the parent which creates the danger of serious damage to the child's psychological development
A parent has withheld from the other parent access to the child for a protracted period without good cause
Such other factors or conduct as the court expressly finds adverse to the best interests of the child

If a court finds any of these exist, the court may, but is not required to, impose restrictions on that parent's residential time and decision-making authority over the child.

"The Ugly"
The "ugly" parenting is found in RCW 26.09.191(1) and (2) and includes: domestic violence; sexual or physical abuse of a child; conviction as a registered sex offender or for custodial interference or other similar crimes, and willful abandonment of a child. If the court finds one of these, the court MUST impose restrictions, though the court retains discretion on what those restrictions may be. Restrictions often include supervised visitation and restricted decision-making authority.

The Parenting Plan
Ultimately the court is required to approve a parenting plan, which is on a mandatory form provided by the Washington Courts. A good parent will spend serious time considering what goes into this form, as it is analagous to the "constitution" for your new parenting relationship and will have a profound impact on your children. There are a number of good resources available, which we can help you locate. In addition, our "in-house" therapist can consult with you about your children and help you design a good parenting plan that speaks to the needs of your family and goes beyond simply "filling out the form".

We can help you design a good parenting plan and avoid problems that befall many without professional advice. Call us at 206-327-9335 for assistance and sample parenting plans and plan clauses.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

"The entire legal profession lawyers, judges tend to forget that we ought to be healers healers of conflict."
- Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, The State of Justice, A.B.A. J. 62, 69 (1984).

"To fulfill our traditional obligation means that we should provide mechanisms that can produce an acceptable result in the shortest possible time, with the least possible expense and with a minimum stress on the participants. That is what justice is all about."
- Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, The Decline of Professionalism, 61 TENN. L. REV. 1, 5 (1993).

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will be business enough."
- Abraham Lincoln, Notes for a Law Lecture (July 1, 1850), 2 Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, (Roy B. Basler ed. (1953)).

"In a matter involving or expected to involve litigation, a lawyer should advise the client of alternative forms of dispute resolution which might reasonably be pursued to attempt to resolve the legal dispute or to reach the legal objective sought."
- Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct 2.4 (1997).

61% of plaintiffs and 24% of defendants in civil litigation who went to trial after rejecting settlement lost money as a result.
- NY Times citing study published in 2008

Healers of Conflict

Our job is to help you to "heal" conflicts as productively, as cheaply and as quickly as possible, not to promote them or provoke them. Having studied conflict resolution theory since the 1970s we work with you to better understand how the legal system can be used, along with other "alternative dispute resolution" strategies, to resolve the conflicts or problems that led you to seek assistance.

We help you plan: to avoid unnecessary conflict, primarily in estate planning and in child custody cases.

We provide legal services: when conflicts do erupt we provide legal consulting and counselling; legal advocacy and litigation.

We provide mediation services: when you need a professional neutral to assist in opening communications and changing the dynamic so that entrenched conflicts can be resolved even when hope of resolution is almost non-existent.

We provide "collaborative law" services: an approach to resolving legal conflicts that blends the best of traditional litigation with the skills and problem-solving approach of mediation.

We provide therapeutic consulting: optionally, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor is available to consult and help you deal with the high emotions and the difficult people and dynamics that so often attend legal disputes; and to help design parenting plans for children that truly meet their developmental age-appropriate needs.

Bruce Pruitt-Hamm

Bruce Pruitt-Hamm is an attorney who can litigate, mediate or collaborate.

Litigation- As an attorney, Bruce Pruitt-Hamm has been awarded the highest rating by the national lawyer-rating service, Avvo.com. Since graduating in 1994 from the University of Washington School of Law near the top of his class, he has litigated over one thousand cases in a wide variety of areas of the law. Bruce volunteers for the Washington State Bar Association's "Moderate Means Program", offering reduced rates to people of moderate means. Bruce's standard rate is $240/hr.; but he offers discounts for those on legal insurance programs and referred through the Moderate Means Program.

Mediation: Bruce is also a mediator, and was in the first class to graduate from the Alternative Dispute Resolution program of the University Of Washington School Of Law in 1994. He was trained through its Mediation Clinic, led by his good friend Associate Professor Michael McCormick. Bruce has been mediating for over two decades, working in the field of mediation and conflict resolution since the mid-1970's. He received his initial training and certification through the Pacific Family Mediation Institute in the mid-1980's. In the late 1980's he began providing mediation training with his wife Janis for lawyers, judges, therapists and other professionals in domestic mediation skills with Pacific Family Mediation Institute. Bruce was Co-President of the Mediation Consortium of Washington State in 1989 (now the Washington Mediation Association).

Bruce offers mediation services in the areas of divorce, parenting plans/custody, property distribution, neighbor/neighbor, and landlord/tenant disputes. His charge for mediations is $180/hr. For more information, see Mediation.

Collaborative Practice: A founding member of the Spokane County Collaborative Professionals, Bruce was trained and certified in collaborative law in 2007 and has since been a member of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals. Since moving to Seattle in 2012, he has become a member of King County Collaborative Law and served as Co-Chair of the Downtown practice group in 2013-2014. To find out more about "collaborative law", see Collaborative Practice.
License
  • Bar Number: 24005
    Washington , 1994
Education
  • University of Washington School of Law
    Juris Doctorate , 1994
    Concentration Degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution;
    Notes Editor, Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal;
    Mediation Clinic

Bruce Pruitt-Hamm

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