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Divorce Law in Washington

How to Find a Washington Divorce Attorney

Because you’re not likely Bill Gates, you may be concerned about your financial future if you get divorced. That’s normal. If you are considering divorce and are researching Washington divorce lawyers, this article is for you. We’ll highlight actions you can take to keep your legal fees to a minimum.

In addition to showing you how you can get divorced without losing your shirt, we’ll discuss:

  • Washington state specific divorce law requirements;
  • What you need to know about divorce, in general;
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a Washington divorce attorney;
  • How to find and select a qualified divorce lawyer; and
  • How to prepare to work with your lawyer.

Washington Divorce Law Specifics

  • If you or your spouse reside in the state of Washington, or in the military and are stationed in Washington, you’re entitled to file for divorce in the state.
  • Washington law requires that divorce filings cite the grounds for divorce.
    However, the only ground available is the “Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage”.
  • Washington divorce law terms, which identify you and your spouse, are “petitioner” for the spouse who files the first divorce papers and “respondent” for the other spouse.
  • Divorce filings are made in county courts.
  • Property distribution will be 50/50, unless otherwise agreed, because Washington is a community property state.
  • Spousal support (i.e. alimony) may be awarded in some cases and child support in based upon the Income Shares Model.

What You Need to Know About Divorce in a Nutshell

This information will help you get through divorce and all the changes that come with it with the least about of wear and tear on your children, emotions, life, and pocketbook.

  • Get good legal counsel about your individual situation.
  • Hire a qualified divorce lawyer.
  • Work cooperatively and let your lawyer know that you expect the same from him or her. Be sure your lawyer will encourage you and your spouse to negotiate a marital settlement agreement.
  • Keep in mind that if you communicate, cooperate, compromise, collaborate and follow your attorney’s direction, you will pay lower legal fees and get more of what you want in the divorce.
  • Keep in mind that going to court is a complete loss of control, will further antagonize you and your spouse, causes increased stress and stress related health problems, and needlessly costs a lot of money.
  • Remember that your children and your divorce lawyer are not your therapists.

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a Washington Divorce Lawyer?

If you are sure that divorce is the best path for you; then, absolutely, hire a divorce lawyer. If Washington attorneys who get divorced hire their own divorce lawyers, doesn’t it make sense for you to do so also?

These attorneys know that they are not experts in divorce law and that they need impartial advice. They also know that if they give up marital rights during a divorce, they lose those rights forever.

Think about what just one or two mistakes could cost you. Think about what’s at stake. Trying to save money by avoiding legal fees altogether will backfire.

How to Find and Select a Washington Divorce Attorney

Google “How to Find a Washington Divorce Attorney” or ask people you trust for referrals.

To narrow down your list, focus on those attorney who themselves focus on divorce law and family law and do so in a collaborative manner.

  • This means that your attorney will work together with your spouse’s attorney to negotiate a marital settlement agreement that is a win/win for all.
  • We know it’s super tempting to hire an attorney who will make your spouse pay big time, but this will backfire and you’ll likely end up in court.
  • Court means that you have no control over the outcome; instead your future is dictated to you at a very high emotional and financial cost.

Being happy is truly the best revenge.

How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney

This might surprise you, but much work created by divorce is mental and emotional. The better you can mentally prepare, the more smoothly the divorce will proceed. This means lower legal fees, more you’ll get what you want, and less stress.

  • Consider reconciliation.
  • Meet with a therapist.
  • Practice the mantra “cooperation, communication, collaboration, and compromise”.
  • Gather family financial documents.
  • Make a divorce wish list.
  • Make a question list.

I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.

– Bill Gates

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