Christy Porter was FVAP Washington’s very first client in Washington state in 2021. After over a year and a half, on December 27, 2022, she finally received the news she’s been waiting to hear.
In a published opinion, the Washington Court of Appeals agreed with Christy — the trial court should not have ordered joint decision-making in her parenting plan because the trial court had found the other party had a history of domestic violence. The trial court mistakenly reasoned that because the other party’s convictions were years in the past, that it had discretion not to follow the plain language of the statute. RCW 26.09.191(1) does not give the court discretion to deviate from the mandatory limitations on decision-making and dispute resolution. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanding to the trial court for entry of a finding of a history of domestic violence, and a parenting plan that follows the statute.
FVAP co-counseled this appeal with FVAP Board member Joanna McCallum, Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, along with Manatt Partner Jessamyn Vedro.
Early in the case, our client also asked the appellate court for an Order of Indigency to cover the costs of the appeal, which includes a transcript quoted at nearly $10,000. This very rare motion was granted by the Washington Supreme Court.
Joanna McCallum made the journey all the way from Atlanta to argue before a panel at the Washington Court of Appeals, Division I, in-person, on November 9, 2022 in Seattle.