What To Ask For In A Divorce

What to Ask for in Divorce - Seattle Divorce Services

The main thing you need to be aware of (at least in Washington State): you don’t need to know every detail about what you will ask for at the time the divorce is filed.

The Petition, or Response to Petition, can be framed in very general terms. All you need to know are the broad categories. For instance, the Petition should state whether or not you are requesting:

  • property to be divided
  • a parenting plan
  • child support
  • spousal maintenance (alimony)
  • restraining orders
  • a name change

As the divorce process progresses, you and your attorney will work together to determine what specific settlement terms are appropriate to request in negotiations. And of course as the negotiations progress, the terms will likely change.

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Questions For Your Attorney About Divorce

Questions to ask your divorce attorney

Last week I discussed questions to help you decide which attorney to hire. This week, I wanted to suggest some questions to ask to help you be better informed about the divorce process itself and to help you make decisions about the divorce.

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Questions For Your Attorney Before Divorcing

Questions to ask your Lawyer before a divorce - how to choose your lawyer - Seattle Divorce Services

Next week I plan to write about questions for your attorney about the divorce. This week I am focusing on questions to ask to help you decide which attorney to hire.

One very important thing when hiring an attorney is deciding whether they are a good fit for you. Every attorney is different and every client is different. No matter how good the attorney is, they may or may not be a good fit for you. When the fit is not good, it is going to be a frustrating experience for you both.

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How To Navigate Divorce With Children

How To Navigate Divorce With Children - Seattle Divorce Services

Children do make divorce harder.

Because they are so easily hurt by the divorce, we have to work much harder to create an outcome that will not only be positive for ourselves, but positive for them as well – and sometimes those two goals are not well matched. [Read more…]

Can You Stop A Divorce After Filing?

Can you stop a divorce> - Seattle Divorce Services

At least here in Washington, and I imagine in any state, you can stop a divorce action before the divorce has been finalized if both parties agree to the dismissal.

A dismissal ends the case so that the divorce does not move forward. Also, if the other party has responded to the Petition for Dissolution, the party who filed can dismiss on their own. [Read more…]

Can We Divorce Without A Lawyer?

can I get a divorce without a lawyer - Seattle Divorce Services

It certainly is possible in Washington State to divorce without a lawyer, although as a lawyer I need to clarify that I do not recommend it. I have had clients spend a lot of money trying to undo mistakes they made writing their own court orders (remember the old car care commercial “Pay me now, or pay me later”?).

For those who are considering a divorce without a lawyer, there is a state website where most of the forms that you would need are available. Also, you should review the court rules. For some local forms, you may need to go to the superior court website for your county. Here are some links to King County forms, local court rules, and information about Family Court. Finally, you should also review the laws regarding divorce in Washington. [Read more…]

How is Property and Debt Split During a Divorce?

Property and Debt Split during Divorce - Seattle Divorce Services

In Washington the courts are instructed to make a “just and equitable” division of all property and debt, both community and separate.

Some factors the court is to consider include the nature and extent of the property, the duration of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse.

You can see that this gives the court a HUGE amount of discretion in terms of deciding what is “just and equitable”. Because the law is so open on this, we lawyers tend to come up with our own rules of thumb, based on our experiences and the experiences of other lawyers we talk to.

Settlement discussions are usually based on our common understanding of what is LIKELY to happen at court, because we cannot KNOW what would happen at court in a given case. [Read more…]

Who Pays for the Divorce?

Who pays for the divorce? - Seattle Divorce Services

Image by Cordell and Cordell – Background added

In Washington State, each party is responsible for hiring and paying their own attorney, including any initial deposits as well as any subsequent bills. So this means that each spouse pays for the divorce based on their personal choice of attorney. However, the court does have the authority to allocate divorce costs between the parties.

Typically such an allocation would happen at either a motion hearing on temporary orders, or at trial. [Read more…]

How Do I Get A Divorce Without My Spouse?

How Can I Get a Divorce Without My Spouse - Seattle Divorce Services Blog

You can get a divorce in Washington whether or not your spouse chooses to cooperate, but you cannot get a divorce without notifying your spouse that you are seeking a divorce. Notification means serving the divorce papers on your spouse (see my previous article on serving divorce papers).

Many people think that if the spouse won’t sign the the divorce papers, they can’t get divorced. However, at least under Washington law, the spouse’s consent is not needed for a divorce. If the spouse refuses to deal with the divorce at all, then you can obtain a default order after their period to respond to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage has expired. [Read more…]

Serving Divorce Papers

Divorce Papers - How to Serve them - Seattle Divorce Services

When a divorce is started in Washington, the other spouse has to be notified of the divorce action.

This is done by serving him or her with a copy of the Summons and Petition, or ‘divorce papers’. ‘Service’ means delivering a copy to them, and there are rules around how this must be done. Once your spouse has been served, they have a set period of time to file a Response to the Petition. If they fail to do so, you may be able to finalize the case through obtaining an Order of Default.

The divorce papers papers need to be personally delivered, not just mailed, and must be delivered by someone who is not a party to the action (i.e. you cannot do the service yourself). Then a declaration has to be filed with the court stating the date and location of the service. Generally we hire a professional process server for this. [Read more…]