What should you look for when seeking a divorce attorney?
Much of that will be based on how effectively you feel they will manage your divorce. Obviously, if children are involved, there will be child custody issues. If community property is involved, there will be a division of assets. A good divorce attorney can make all the difference in the world when representing your interests. Here are some things we offer counsel on to those seeking a divorce attorney.
Our divorce attorneys have an abundance of expertise with all manner of divorce cases, as well as with all of the legal issues which relate to a divorce. The five main issues in a divorce case are:
- Dissolution of the marriage
- Property and debt division
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal maintenance
Because a divorce case involves the breakup of the family, it can be fraught with emotional decision making by the divorcing parties. That can get in the way of properly resolving the dissolution of the marriage and its related issues. Our firm encourages you to try to leave your emotions aside – and, instead, make sober and responsible decisions about how to resolve your divorce issues. If both parties do that, it will keep the legal fees and costs down for both sides, which is a good thing. It is better for the divorcing parties to spend their money on themselves and their family, rather than spending it on emotional efforts to “beat” the other side. In the end, nobody hits a grand slam home-run in a divorce case. A good divorce attorney recognizes these things and will protect you from wasting money that could be better spent.
Washington State is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the only grounds for divorce is that “the marriage is irretrievably broken.” So, in terms of a married person’s entitlement to obtain a divorce, other ground for divorce which historically (but no longer) had to be proven in order to obtain a divorce – e.g., mental cruelty, adultery, physical abuse, or etc. – are irrelevant. Any married person is entitled to obtain a divorce, so long as the person asserts in the divorce petition that “the marriage is irretrievably broken.”
Once the divorce petition is filed and served on the other side, there is a statutory 90-day waiting period which must run before your divorce case can be finalized. Our local court system has procedures in place to assist the parties with moving their case along to completion. For example, there is an in-court Mandatory Status Conference process which is designed to keep the court apprised about any particular issues in your case which might require special handling. For another example, the parties will be required to participate in a Mediation, which is designed to assist the parties with reaching a global settlement of all of their issues, so they won’t have to bear the additional time and expense of going to trial. If the parties are unable to resolve their issues via Mediation, their case will be set for a trial – at which a judge will decide how the parties’ various issues will be resolved. (Jury trials are inapplicable to divorce cases.) We will advise and assist you during all of the stages of your case when we become your trusted divorce attorney.