The Burke Law Group, PLLC
Old City Hall Building
221 N. Wall St., Suite 624
Spokane, WA 99201

Main Office: (509) 466-7770
Collaborative Law: (509) 999-6747

Traditional Family Law

The primary focus of Burke Law Group is on representing clients in family law matters. These can run from complex high net worth divorces through paternity claims and modification of support payments. We use our experience and resources to seek efficient resolution of the legal issues without going to court where possible, and when not possible, Burke Law Group will provide a strong and well developed presentment of your case and desired outcome to the Court. Burke Law Group's client representation includes most areas of domestic relations, including: 

  • Dissolution of Marriage (divorce)
  • Legal Separation
  • Committed Domestic Partnership Dissolution
  • Live-in Relationships (also known as meretricious relationships)
  • Child and Spousal Support
  • Adoption/Non Parental Custody
  • Parenting Plans/Residential Schedules
  • Enforcement of Court Orders
  • Post-Decree Support Modifications
  • Paternity claims
  • Domestic Violence

Dissolution of Marriage/Legal Separation/Committed Domestic Relationships

Burke Law Group uses confidential mediation, collaborative practice, and litigation to obtain the best possible settlement or judgment for individuals going through a divorce, a legal separation or the dissolution of a marriage-like relationship or domestic partnership, including the fair distribution of assets, appropriate spousal and/or child support, and parenting plans that respect both a parent's parental autonomy and a child's best interests.

Child Support

Whether living together or separately, parents have the duty and legal obligation to support their children. Burke Law Group upholds your child’s statutory right to receive the fair and equitable financial support required for a healthy, happy upbringing. A focus of Burke Law Group is to ensure that this financial burden be divided fairly and equitably between all parents, when considering all of the factors permitted by law.  We have purchased the specialized software to be able to accurately perform the statutory calculations, and to utilize all available permitted support calculation deviation methodologies, something often ignored by unrepresented parents.

Spousal Support

From the perspective of Washington law, spousal support is principally both rehabilitative in nature and also used to assist in the transition to post-divorce lifestyles, though the court can utilize spousal support when it is not otherwise possible to achieve an equitable financial dissolution. There are many factors which the court will consider when establishing what it considers to be a fair and equitable support amount and the length of time that spousal support is to be paid.  In order to understand which factors in your particular situation can influence the spousal maintenance determination, you need to consult with an attorney.

Adoption/Non Parental Custody/De Facto Parents

Adopting a child can bring joy to a family. However, there are many rights of a biological parent which can change a joyous occasion into a nightmare, unless the proper legal steps are taken to protect the adoptive parents and their child. Sometimes non-parental custody better fits a particular family due to parental unfitness or harmful environments. Other times, a person is so involved in a child's life with the blessing of a biological parent that this person can be considered de facto parent, with his/her own legal rights potentially rising to the level equivalent of a biological parent. Burke Law Group can help families through the complexities of the legal procedures for granting such rights to individuals, or defend the rights of a biological parent who does not want to give up those parental rights.

Parenting Plans/Residential Schedules

Child placement can be, and often is, the most difficult issue to resolve in a divorce. Burke Law Group will advocate for your parental rights. The right to rear your child(ren) is deeply embedded in our history, and our laws. However, the reality is that parents often have differing opinions of what is best for a child, and may not even intend on living in close proximity of each other, making frequent exchanges between the parents impossible. While there is often no perfect solution, Burke Law Group will advocate for a fair and balanced parenting plan so that you can have the opportunity to spend quality time with your child for a healthy bond to between you and your child.

Enforcement of Orders

Sometimes, a former spouse or partner fails to abide by legal obligations set forth in the court's decrees and orders. While the reasons for this may or may not seem justifiable to you, you have the right to ask the court to protect you, and to enforce those obligations upon your former spouse or partner. Often, the court orders that some or all of the cost for this enforcement be paid by the “offending” person. These enforcement actions can be in any areas directly related to the decree or a current order of the court.

Post-Decree Support Modification

You have a legal obligation to continue with support payments when the unexpected happens, such as a significant reduction in income caused by a job loss or accident. Sometimes, time simply causes changes in the financial picture or income that may or may not have been anticipated. Something often ignored, much to the detriment of one or both parties, is that the obligation to pay spousal and/or child support remains intact and enforceable by the court, unless you pursue a modification of the previously issued court order(s). The attorneys at Burke Law Group can help explain what your rights and obligations are, and will pursue modifications as permitted by the law and the facts of your case.

Paternity

Paternity claims must be looked at from the view of the law, and the constantly changing scientific technology. The attorneys at Burke Law Group can help you understand how the court looks at both the legal presumptions of paternity, and how those presumptions can be changed through DNA testing. Irrespective of whether you are seeking to prove that you or the other party is or is not the child’s biological father, thus establishing parental rights or eliminating the legal obligation to pay child support, Burke Law Group will guide you through the legal steps as your counselor and advocate.

Domestic Violence (Intimate Partner Violence)

The number of reports of domestic violence (DV) is increasing every year across the nation. Most often, the reports are well founded, but sometimes are bogus with the intent that the DV claim jeopardizes the alleged abuser's legal position during a divorce and separation. For the person wronged, it is a shocking, frightening and overwhelming experience. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you have legal protections available to you. If you have been wrongly accused of being an abuser, you will need to vigorously defend yourself to maintain your rights in a divorce or separation. In both scenarios, Burke Law Group can provide you with the legal expertise to seek the protection of the law (and law enforcement, where applicable), and determine the validity of the claim through the court system.

Meet Our Attorneys

Dena Allen

Principal / Member of the Firm, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Collaborative Law Divorce, Cooperative Divorce, Adoptions, Estate Planning, and Probate

John Burke

Of Counsel, practicing in Collaborative Law for Divorce, Uncontested Divorce and Estate Planning. On medical leave.

Matthew Fischer

Principal / Managing Member of the Firm, practicing in all areas of Family Law Litigation, Divorce and Uncontested Divorce. Also serves as a Spokane County Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner

Cathy Helman

Associate Attorney, practicing in Appeals, Probate, Estate Planning, Family Law, and Bankruptcy. Also is an Administrative Law Judge Pro Tem with the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings.

Joseph Linehan

Of Counsel, practicing in Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) appeals, Family Law Litigation, Divorce, and Dependency. Also serves as a Spokane County Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner

Robin Schmahl

Senior Associate Attorney, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Uncontested Divorce, Estate Planning, Probate, and Guardianship

Rhylee Smith

Associate Attorney, admitted to practice in Washington and Idaho, practicing in all aspects of Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Support, and Modifications to Existing Orders

Kenneth Zigler, Jr.

Of Counsel, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Divorce, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and SSI benefits, and Lawsuits and Disputes including Personal Injury

Joanna Stranger

Rule 9 Intern, practicing in Family Law and Divorce