Best Divorce Lawyer in Seattle

In light of a possible divorce, it’s essential to learn as much as you can about your rights by speaking with an experienced divorce attorney.

That’s where Envision Family Law comes into play. Our divorce lawyers are here to provide you with compassionate, thoughtful care during this unexpected moment in your life. Whether you’ve contested a divorce or are going through complex property or custody issues, our Seattle divorce attorneys are there with you every step of the way.

We understand that one of the main stressors of divorce is living in limbo for what feels like a lifetime. That’s why each of our talented divorce lawyers will help you get through this process as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Give us a call at (253) 201-1019 to connect with one of our Seattle divorce lawyers and learn about our legal services.

Read on to learn more about how to begin a divorce filing:

  • What to know about divorce preparation
  • How to prepare for divorce
  • FAQs about filing for divorce

What to Know about Divorce Preparation

Some people choose to inform their spouses about getting a divorce. However, keep in mind that your partner may use this information as a defense tactic.

Your partner may hide or conceal important information and property from you. Common actions include:

  • Concealing assets
  • Withdrawing money from the bank
  • Hiding income information
  • Receiving legal aid without you knowing

Because of the possible repercussions, it’s best to not reveal your plans until you have talked with a divorce lawyer and have received all of the information you need. Please be advised that all communication with our attorneys is confidential and we will not disclose that you’ve met with us.

How to Prepare for Divorce

As you prepare for your divorce filings, it’s of utmost importance that you gather as much information as you can. This includes making copies of the below private documents.

Sample documents to collect:

  • Tax returns and W-2 tax forms from the last two years for you, your spouse, and any businesses.
  • The last six months of pay stubs for you and your spouse
  • Any other income documents (e.g., interest, stock dividends, and retirement compensation) Note: If your spouse owns a business, get a copy of income and expense records from the last three years
  • Deed to real estate and mortgage documents
  • Pension, stock, or retirement fund papers and statements
  • Bank statements for all accounts held in your or your spouse’s name
  • Any account statements for funds held at financial institutions
  • Any other papers showing what you and your spouse earn, own, or owe

Keep in mind that this paperwork may be needed if your case is contested or if your spouse doesn’t provide any relevant information.

If you’re served with paperwork, on the other hand, don’t wait to contact a divorce lawyer. This is because there are short deadlines in responding to the paperwork to avoid the other party defaulting you or obtaining court orders that you likely do not agree with.

FAQs about Filing for Divorce

What issues are usually resolved in divorces?

The following describes the main issues typically resolved in a divorce:

  • Your marriage contract is legally broken
  • Custody, child support, and visitation with respect to any children you may have are determined
  • Property and debts are divided

Do you need your spouse’s consent to get a divorce?

You do not need your spouse’s consent to obtain a divorce. Washington is a “no fault” divorce state, which means it only takes one party to believe that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

How long does a divorce take?

It typically takes 91 days after you file and serve your spouse with papers for the divorce to be finalized. However, this is based on the following criteria:

  • If you and your spouse agree on how property and debts will be divided
  • If both of you agree on any alimony payments
  • If both of you agree on child custody, support, and visitation

If you two do not agree on any of these issues, it can take anywhere from eight months to a year for a divorce to be finalized. This is because a judge will then have to resolve any disputed issues in a trial.

How much does a divorce cost?

The cost of a divorce will always vary depending on the situation. For example, it may cost less if both you and your spouse agree on a reasonable settlement for all legal issues presented during your divorce proceedings. There are also certain fees set by the court and a cost associated with serving your spouse.

Reaching an agreement on all divorce issues can also result in a more cost-effective divorce process for both parties and eliminate the need for a judge to intervene.

What do I do if I want to reach an agreement but my spouse is not cooperating?

If your significant other is not willing to reach an agreement, a trial may be the only resolution. However, there may be other alternatives you can try. Contact Envision Family Law to receive a free legal guide for more information on settlement negotiations.

How is property and debt distribution in a divorce handled?

A judge will typically evaluate any property and debts acquired by both parties during the marriage and divide them “fairly,” but this doesn’t always mean a fifty-fifty split. The general rule is that all property and debt acquired during the marriage should be divided fairly between you and your partner. These property and debt types are called “community property” and “community debt.”

All property and debt acquired prior to the marriage and after you separated is normally yours to keep. These property and debt types are called “separate property” and “separate debt.” Again, these are general rules, and there are exceptions.

The court will consider other factors when dividing property and debt such as:

  • The nature and extent of community property
  • The nature and extent of separate property
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each party’s economic circumstances

Are there any other relevant factors I should know about divorce?

It’s important to be fully prepared when presenting your case to a judge to ensure that a reasonable solution is reached and you’re given your portion of property assets during the divorce proceeding. There are various techniques and strategies that you can use when making your case to the judge. This is where having an experienced and confident legal counsel by your side can make all the difference.

What is a legal separation?

A legal separation is similar to a divorce in that all property and debt are divided by the court; however, you’re still legally married. Additionally, if the parties have children, the court orders child support and enters a parenting plan which determines custody and visitation within the separation case.

What’s legal separation vs. divorce?

The main difference between the two is that in a legal separation both people remain legally married until one party starts the divorce process. It’s crucial to note that once a legal separation is initiated, either party can convert it to a divorce but must wait six months before it takes effect. If the decree of legal separation hasn’t been introduced, on the other hand, then 90 days must pass before you can file for a divorce.

One of the main reasons why some people may choose to stay legally separated is to remain on a spouse’s health insurance and receive other tax breaks. Another reason is that you may need to quickly enter a final separation order that divides your assets/debts without having to wait the mandatory 90-day waiting period in a divorce.

Envision Family Law is committed to providing thoughtful legal advice so that you’re not left in the dark during this delicate time in your life. We’re also proud to help the LGBTQ community with divorce, custody, and other child support issues.

Call us at (253) 201-1019 to connect with one of our divorce lawyers in Seattle today!