Established Washington Trial Attorney

Gloria Finn Porter began her career almost twenty years ago when she accepted an internship in the criminal law arena.  Soon into her internship and prior to graduating law school she began learning the art of trial advocacy.

Since that time Gloria has expanded into the arena of family law, accepting both highly contested cases, as well as cases that settle almost immediately.  A divorce does not need to be hotly litigated or end in a trial, but it certainly can.  When child custody or assets of a marriage are critical to the outcome of the case, the most important decision you may make is who you choose as your counsel.

The same is true for criminal matters.  A criminal charge does not need to end up in a jury or bench trial, but it certainly can, and the most important decision you may make is who you choose as your counsel.

Gloria graduated from Gonzaga Law School in 1994.  In 2002 she received the prestigious Myra Bradwell Award from Gonzaga Law School for her work at a local non-profit law firm.

Gloria’s Attorney Profile has additional information about this capable, competent, and aggressive attorney who is located right across the street from the Spokane County Superior Courthouse.


High-Profile Divorces and “Divorce Wars”: Hiding Assets

CNBC takes a look at high-profile and celebrity divorces in the series “Divorce Wars.”  Here’s a preview:

The allegation that a spouse is hiding money is not unusual in a divorce. It took Margaret Spenlinhauer 18 years to prove her ex-husband hid assets from her during their divorce. When it was finally over, she settled for $15 million.

Here’s more on hiding assets from a forensic accountant:


High-Conlict Divorces

Child custody battles, parental alienation, hidden assets, physical violence and hostility are just some of the issues surrounding high conflict divorces.  People who have experienced high conflict divorce often describe it as feeling like they were in a war zone.  The following articles demonstrate how stressful a high conflict divorce can be:

High Conflict Divorce or Stalking by Way of Family Court?
High Conflict Custody Cases and Domestic Violence
High Conflict Divorce, Violence and Abuse
Is Your High Conflict Divorce Causing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?


Calculating Child Support in WA

Approximately 50% of American children live in single-parent families at some point. Child support is essential for keeping children out of poverty.  Washington State has child support calculation guidelines, but an experienced lawyer can help ensure the child’s best interest is served.

To learn more:
Washington State Child Support Schedule
Washington State Division of Child Support
NCSL: Child Support 101
Child Support Substantially Increases Economic Well-Being of Low- and Moderate-Income Families


Foster Parents Sue WA State


The Foster Parent Association of Washington State filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court alleging that the State of Washington violates the federal Child Welfare Act by failing to reimburse foster parents for the cost of basic care provided to foster children.

The group says Washington’s basic foster care maintenance rates do not comply with the Child Welfare Act because they do not cover the “cost of (and cost of providing) food, clothing, shelter, daily supervision, school supplies, a child’s personal incidentals, liability insurance with respect to a child and reasonable travel to the child’s (biological) home for visitation and reasonable travel for the child to remain in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.”

Read more at: Q13Fox: Foster Parents Suing State for More Money or The New Tribune: Foster Parents Sue State.



WA State Custody Information for Non-Custodial Parents

A non-custodial parent does not have physical and/or legal custody of their child, but they still have responsibilities to their children, such as child support, medical bills, and visitation.  However, according to the Washington State Division of Child Support, “only about one-half of the custodial parents due child support receive full payment. About twenty-five percent receive partial payment and twenty-five percent receive nothing.”  Non-custodial parents who try to avoid their child support obligations can be subject to wage garnishments, liens on property, and seizure of vehicles and other personal property, just to name a few of the actions the Division of Child Support may take.  The state has published a brochure to help parents understand their rights:  State of Washington: Non-Custodial Parents’ Rights and Responsibilities.


Contesting Child Protective Services Dependency Actions

Children have rights, such as food, clothing, shelter, health care, protection from physical harm and freedom from emotional abuse. When it is suspected that a child’s rights are being violated through abuse or neglect, Child Protective Services (CPS) will intervene to ensure the child’s safety.  The State of Washington has created the Parents’ Guide to Child Protective Services to help parents’ understand the process.  Parents are entitled to be represented by a lawyer if a dependency petition goes to court.


WA State Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership

Washington State recognizes domestic partnerships, and “provides that for all purposes under state law, state registered domestic partners shall be treated the same as married spouses and that provisions of the act shall be liberally construed to achieve equal treatment, to the extent not in conflict with federal law.”

According to the Washington State Family Law Handbook:

In Washington, a dissolution of marriage, which many people refer to as a divorce, is a legal procedure in superior court that ends the marriage. Washington law now provides that all domestic partnerships be dissolved through an identical court action. Before December 2009, some domestic partnerships could be dissolved or terminated by filing documents with the Secretary of State; after December 2009, this procedure is no longer available. Court action is necessary to dissolve a domestic partnership in Washington.

One or both partners can file for dissolution if a partnership falls apart. The law uses the term “irretrievably broken” to describe this situation. A partnership is “irretrievably broken” if one of the partners says it is. The other partner does not have to agree that the partnership is irretrievably broken in order for one partner to file for dissolution. A partner does not have to prove wrongdoing (such as cruelty or adultery) to dissolve the partnership. This no-fault system is intended to help partners settle matters without unnecessary bitterness or resentment. The court will enter orders for parenting arrangements, how children will be supported, dividing the couple’s property and debts, and possibly for maintenance (alimony).

To read more:
WA Secretary of State: Laws and Regulations pertaining to Domestic Partnerships in Washington State
Family Law Handbook: Understanding the legal implications of domestic partnership and dissolution in Washington State


Child Custody: Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody

Child custody arrangements seek the best interests of the children involved.  Sometimes courts decide that both parents should share custody; other times, one parent is awarded custody.

According to

Sole Custody

One parent can have either sole legal custody or sole physical custody of a child. Courts generally won’t hesitate to award sole physical custody to one parent if the other parent is deemed unfit — for example, because of alcohol or drug dependency, a new partner who is unfit, or charges of child abuse or neglect.

However, in most states, courts are moving away from awarding sole custody to one parent and toward enlarging the role a divorced father plays in his children’s lives. Even where courts do award sole physical custody, the parties often still share joint legal custody, and the noncustodial parent enjoys a generous visitation schedule. In that situation, the parents would make joint decisions about the child’s upbringing, but one parent would be deemed the primary physical caretaker, while the other parent would have visitation rights.

It’s understandable that there may be animosity between you and your ex-spouse. But it’s best not to seek sole custody unless the other parent causes direct harm to the children. Even then, courts may simply allow supervised visitation, while still ordering joint legal custody.

Joint Custody

Parents who don’t live together have joint custody (also called shared custody) when they share the decision-making responsibilities for, and/or physical control and custody of, their children. Joint custody can exist if the parents are divorced, separated, or no longer cohabiting, or even if they never lived together. Joint custody may be:

  • joint legal custody
  • joint physical custody (where the children spend a significant portion of time with each parent), or
  • joint legal and physical custody.

It is common for couples who share physical custody to also share legal custody, but not necessarily the other way around. (Source:

For information on Washington State child custody laws:

Washington State Parenting Plans
Washington State Legislature: Domestic Relations


Contested Divorce & Other Divorce Issues

Dissolution of marriage, or divorce, becomes especially difficult when people are unable to agree to terms.  Reasons for contested divorce include:

  • child custody, visitation & child support negotiations
  • disagreements about property division and payment of debts
  • disagreement over grounds for divorce
  • spousal maintenance & support negotiations

Other divorce issues include:

Financial Issues of Divorce
Military Divorce & Separation
Children & Divorce: Helping Your Kids Deal with the Effects of Separation & Divorce

Contested divorces rely on the courts to help settle disputes.  To protect their rights, each of the parties in the divorce should consider being represented by an experienced lawyer.


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