We are committed, experienced family lawyers with an established track record of satisfied clients and a solid reputation for providing quality professional advocacy. We handle marital dissolutions and related property division, custody, child support, and spousal maintenance matters. We also represent unmarried persons in disputes relating to property, parenting and child support. Since becoming licensed to practice in 2006, Gwynna Norman has handled over 500 family law cases.
Every family law case is important. You owe it to yourself and your family members to have determined advocates in your corner to obtain the best result possible. We focus exclusively on family law matters and represent clients with the goal of reaching an amicable settlement. We have the sensitivity and compassion to listen to you and the experience and tenacity to vigorously represent your interests.
We invite you to meet us to discuss your case. We are located on Mercer Island in the Windermere Office Building at 2737 77th Ave SE, #206, Mercer Island. Please park in the back lot and enter through the rear entrance, which will take you directly to the second floor. Please call our office at (206) 745-9900 should you have any questions prior to your appointment.
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 an 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.
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 regularly work in cases involving professionals such as physicians, dentists, and lawyers which present issues of business valuation and professional goodwill. We also frequently work in cases involving business executives which present complicated compensation and deferred compensation issues.
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 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.
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.
Washington has many laws and rules that generally apply when a marriage is terminated by divorce or the death of a party. 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 one of the spouses challenges the validity, or enforceability, of the agreement. 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 negotiated, 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.
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.
We often help unmarried parents establish a parenting plan and child support order, called a parentage action, should they have children together.
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 facts establish that 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.
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 will divide expenses and own property, and how to divide property and if your relationship ends or if one of you dies. We have experience assisting clients with these matters and preparing such agreements.
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 your parenting plan, child support, spousal maintenance, and other obligations.
If you are 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 and current representation. In all cases we respect your desire for confidentiality.
Gwynna Biggers Norman has practiced family law exclusively since 2006. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Yale University in 2002 and her law degree from Seattle University School of Law cum laude in 2006.
As a law student, Gwynna was a member of the Seattle Journal for Social Justice, Dispute Resolution Board, and was elected to the Student Bar Association. She received two CALI awards for the highest performance in her class. As an undergraduate at Yale University, Gwynna majored in American Studies and was a four-year varsity letter winner in rowing.
Before opening the Norman Legal Group, Gwynna practiced family law at the Law Office of Ted D. Billbe, PLLC in Bellevue for 13 years. In 2020, Gwynna established her own law firm choosing Mercer Island for its convenience to both the Bellevue and Seattle metropolitan areas, and to be closer to home where she and husband, Eric, are raising two boys.
Gwynna has a diverse practice in the areas of divorce and family law. Gwynna is a skilled and empathetic lawyer who is sensitive to her clients’ needs and tough in the courtroom. She works tirelessly to help her clients achieve a fair result, and helps them manage the often difficult process of resolving family law disputes.
She has extensive litigation experience in King and Snohomish counties at the ex parte, family law calendar, arbitration and trial level. Gwynna counsels clients on all aspects of the litigation process, including settlement strategies, discovery, and trial planning.
Gwynna can be reached at email@example.com.
Gwynna’s personal interests include spending time with her family, CrossFit, running, biking, hiking, discussing a new novel in book club, traveling, country music concerts, and trying new recipes.
Legal assistant Cory Fritz has joined me in the opening of the Norman Legal Group. Cory relocated to Washington State from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in early 2019. Before moving west, Cory graduated from Bradford School with a specialized associates degree in paralegal studies. Since graduating, he worked for firms big and small as a legal specialist and paralegal - handling many areas of law such as civil collections, criminal defense (state and federal), DUI, and federal workers compensation. Cory gained experience in the family law sector when he started work at the Law office of Ted D. Billbe in January 2019. Cory brings his experience from Mr. Billbe's firm and from his fifteen years of legal office expertise.
Cory can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you first contact us we will ask for some basic information about the nature of your legal issue and schedule an initial consultation. During the consultation we will discuss your needs in greater detail and provide you an hour of our best legal advice at the attorney’s hourly rate.
If there is a legal case filed, or if you have been served with legal documents, bring the court documents with you. If your case involves financial issues, try to bring documents (if you have them) regarding assets, debts and household income. Bring your questions and be prepared to tell us your concerns and priorities.
Yes. Our practice is based on trust and confidentiality which begins the moment you contact us.
We will do our best. If there is a court hearing or any type of deadline, make sure and let us know when you contact us. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.
If a spouse alleges that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court will proceed with the divorce process. There is no requirement that a spouse prove fault or other “grounds” for a divorce.
We work exclusively on divorce and other family law matters. Because of our background in financial matters, we tend to focus on cases that involve complex financial matters involving business or property valuation or tracing issues. Our clients are often professionals or self-employed persons or a spouse of a professional or self-employed person.
Both. Our clients tend to be about half men and half women.
We cannot represent both spouses, but we can represent you and work directly with your spouse to document a settlement if your spouse wishes to proceed without an attorney.
Yes. Mediation is one way of resolving a case out of court. We routinely help our clients’ prepare for and participate in mediation. We have experience with most of the local family law mediators.
We always advocate vigorously for our clients, whether in court or in negotiations, but we are not needlessly aggressive or litigious. Our experience and judgment enable us to achieve the best results through careful preparation and effective, respectful advocacy. We recommend you interview several attorneys to find the best personality fit for you and your case.
When spouses agree on the terms for their divorce, the process can be completed from filing to decree in about three months. If there are disagreements about finances or provisions for the children, it can take a year or longer to conclude the case. In contested cases we work closely with our clients to conclude the case as swiftly as possible while also working hard to achieve the desired outcome.
Every case is different and the final costs depend on many variables. For most cases we charge by the hour at rates that are in line with other experienced family lawyers. We help our clients evaluate and weigh their options so they can make the major decisions that influence costs. We are comfortable having our clients work alongside us where possible to hold down costs.
Yes. We require each new client to pay an advance fee deposit. We generally require a deposit in the range of $3,500 to $10,000. The amount varies depending on the circumstances of each case. We discuss the amount of advance fee deposit during the initial consultation.
Yes, we accept MasterCard, VISA, and Discover.
Gwynna understands the tenuous and potentially hostile nature of divorce and child custody/support. She has a lot of compassion for her clients and with her vast knowledge, she obviously works very hard at protecting her client's rights and abilities through a difficult situation. She is also honest with reasonable expectations of certain situations even if it's not what you want to hear. She's the voice of reason. I would highly recommend Gwynna if you are embarking on the difficult journey of divorce. She will get it done for you and help you not lose yourself in the process.
– Mark, Issaquah
Gwynna assisted me with my divorce two years ago. Her knowledge and assistance were invaluable. Going through a divorce was one of the hardest times in my life. Gwynna's confidence and compassion made the paperwork portion of my divorce pain-free. Even in the face of unexpected circumstances, like default motions and hearings, Gwynna was able to keep me calm and help me understand the entire divorce process. I have since referred one friend to Gwynna and have heard nothing but positive feedback. I will continue to recommend Gwynna with confidence.
- Katie, Seattle
I would recommend Gwynna Biggers Norman in a heart beat to any of my friends or family if they were in need of legal counsel. Gwynna is professional, intelligent, educated, intuitive, resourceful, compassionate, patient and always available. She is serious about serving her client's with excellence and we were in constant contact through the entire divorce process. She never grew tired of my questions and she always had an answer. She helped me get through a crisis in my life and I will be forever grateful.
- Robin, Kirkland
I worked with Gwynna on divorce, child custody, and child support issues. She did an excellent job of preparing me for the process -- I always knew exactly what was going on, and what the next steps were going to be. She was also a fantastic advocate for my children and helped craft a support/settlement/custody agreement that I am very happy with and truly grateful for. I felt she was very attentive and responsive with my case. I would (and have) recommend Gwynna, and would see her first with any future legal needs.
- Allyson, Issaquah
Please fill out the form below, or send us an email at email@example.com
We invite you to contact us, but contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney/client relationship can be established with our firm only after an initial consultation and execution of a written legal services agreement that sets forth the terms of our representation. Any information you convey to us either by email or phone prior to becoming our client is not protected by the attorney/client privilege.
Our office is located in the Windermere Office Building.
From the Eastside/Bellevue: Take I-90 West towards Seattle. Take exit 7 for Island Crest Way. Go straight on North Mercer Way through one stop light. Turn left on 77th Ave SE. After Starbucks on the right, look for the Windermere Building on the right. Please park in the back lot and enter through the rear entrance, which will take you directly to the second floor. Please call should you have any questions prior to your appointment.
From Seattle: Take I-90 East towards Bellevue. Take exit 7a from I-90 E. Turn right on 77th Ave SE. After Starbucks on the right, look for the Windermere Building on the right. Please park in the back lot and enter through the rear entrance, which will take you directly to the second floor. Please call should you have any questions prior to your appointment.