Bellevue is the third largest city in the Seattle metropolitan area and is home to some of the world’s largest technology companies. The city is often referred to as a boomburb or edge city, as it’s composed of suburbs where many of the resident’s commute for work. The area’s median age is 36, an age where most people have settled down. These factors and more mean family law disputes including dissolution of marriage is common in the area.
Divorce or any other type of family law dispute can cause a great deal of inner turmoil for every member of the family. These cases are complicated and can take a long time to resolve. Sometimes during divorce or family law proceedings, you may be faced with difficult choices you’re unsure of how to approach.
When facing a situation in which you’re not an expert, it’s natural to turn to a professional you can trust to finish the job. Well, the same can be said for divorce or any other family law dispute. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney can give you the knowledge and insight you may need to resolve your case.
Family Law Attorney Bellevue | Divorce Lawyer King County, WA
The legal team at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson have extensive experience handling all types of family law disputes including divorce, support modification, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, paternity issues, restraining orders, and more. Our Bellevue divorce attorneys can assist with negotiations so you can agree on a fair compromise with your ex-spouse. We always prefer to utilize our negotiation skills and rarely take a contentious approach, but if necessary, we are experienced litigators who will not back down to protect your interests.
Call Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson to set up a consultation with one of their divorce lawyers in Bellevue, WA today. They can be reached by simply calling this number (206) 712-2756. Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson accepts clients throughout the greater Bellevue and King County area including Seattle, Renton, Kent, Federal Way, Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah. Our attorneys also represent clients in King County and Snohomish County, Washington.
- Common Family Law Disputes in Bellevue, WA
- Filing for Divorce in Washington State
- Is Washington State a 50/50 Divorce State?
- Family Court Resources in Bellevue
- Divorce Resources in Bellevue
Common Family Law Disputes in Bellevue, WA
Family law is a legal practice that deals with family matters and domestic relationships such as dissolution of marriage, establishing paternity, filing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, among other important issues. Many family law cases stem from divorce, but some are related to non-marital relationships including domestic partners or common law partners. The following are some family law cases the Bellevue lawyers at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson frequently take on.
- Child Custody Issues
- Child Support Issues
- Protection Orders for Petitioners
- Protection Orders for Respondents
- Contempt Orders
- Restraining Orders
- Establishing Paternity
- Non-Parental Custody Actions
- Legal Separation
- Committed Intimate Relationship
- State Registered Domestic Partnership Actions
- Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Filing for Divorce in Washington State
In the state of Washington, you don’t need a reason or “fault” as grounds to file your divorce on. Washington is a “no fault” state, meaning you can divorce at any time by stating the marriage was irretrievably broken. The complexity of a divorce case will depend on how contentious it is. Dissolutions that are highly contested can last for months, and in some rare cases even years. Listed below are the different steps to an uncontested or contested divorce.
- Fill Out and File Divorce Papers --Dissolution of any marriage, no matter how long, will require some paperwork. You’ll be required to fill out a petition for dissolution, a summons notice, a confidential information form, and a vital statistics form just to start. If you have shared children with your ex, then you’ll also be expected to fill out additional paperwork including a parenting plan. Once these are filled out, file the forms with the King County Clerk. Please note, you will be required to pay a filing fee of around $250 and can waive the fee if you meet certain income qualifications.
- Serve Your Spouse – Now that you’ve filed your divorce forms with the court, the next step is to serve your ex-spouse. If you’ve both already discussed divorce in detail, then your spouse should expect what’s coming. You may have to hire a process server otherwise if the split with your spouse has been especially contentious.
- If Your Spouse Agrees with the Petition– Not all divorces are messy. Some divorcing couples have already discussed ending their marriage in detail and how they’d like to settle the issues within the divorce. These issues include how assets are divided, child custody, if child support or spousal support is necessary, parenting plans, among others. If this is the case, your divorce will be uncontested and simple to process. You and your ex-spouse must agree on every single divorce-related issue to have an uncontested divorce. That means your spouse will agree with every term and condition on the petition of dissolution you serve them. If they do, they will sign off that not only do they acknowledge they were served but that they agree to the settlement. The final documents will be filed with the county clerk and once the waiting period has passed, your divorce will be finalized by the courts.
- If Your Spouse Disagrees with the Petition – If your spouse responds and disagrees with the terms and conditions of the petition, then your divorce is contested. That means you and your spouse are unable to compromise on important issues such as asset division or child custody without getting lawyers involved. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to court. Most contested divorces are settled outside of court through negotiations through attorneys. However, in some cases, the two parties cannot reach an agreement despite negations or mediation. When this happens, the only option left is to go to trial.
- Finalize Your Divorce – If your divorce is uncontested, then all you’ll need to do is wait 90 days after you’ve filed the papers with the county clerk. Once the waiting period ends, the court will automatically finalize your divorce. Contested dissolutions are much more complicated. If you end up going to trial, you and your ex-spouse will present your arguments for certain divorce-related issues including debt allocation and asset division to a judge. That judge will then make the final decision on these issues in the divorce agreement. Most couples try to avoid trial as they don’t want a judge to decide these important matters and would rather negotiate the issue themselves.
Is Washington State a 50/50 Divorce State?
Washington doesn’t automatically divide everything in a divorce 50/50 between the two spouses. Instead, the court states any property is subject to division that is considered just and equitable. An “equitable and just” division isn’t always equal as the court instead focuses on fairness. Most divorce cases are settled outside the courtroom, so what is considered fair and justifiable will likely be decided during the negotiation process with your attorneys. Many couples will try to protect assets they wish to keep by offering others such as cars, investments, business assets, or the family home.
Divorcing couples who have complex assets including investments, real estate or maybe a shared business tend to seek outside help. Their attorneys may call upon experts including appraisers and accountants to ensure all property’s value has been calculated correctly.
When couples are unable to agree and must go to trial, the court will divide marital property in what they see as a “just and equitable” manner. The judge will consider several factors when divvying up your property, these include:
- The amount of marital assets accumulated over time
- The length of the marriage
- What type of separate property each spouse owns
- The nature of their community property
- The economic and financial situation of each spouse
- Which party will get the family home
Bellevue, WA Family Court Resources
Family Court in King County – Visit the official website for the King County Superior Court and access information about their family court division. The website offers users a chance to file a family law action online, look at their family court services, how to file a protection order or restraining order, and information about various family court programs.
King County Clerk – The court clerk maintains all court records for the King County Superior Court. You will likely have to visit the clerk for your family law matter either online or in-person. You can access their site to file a document online, request a record or copy of one, look up a case number, and view court records.
Washington Family Law Handbook – Visit the official website of the Washington Courts to read their Family Law Handbook provided by the state. Access the pdf to learn how to end a marriage in Washington, child abuse and neglect cases, and how to establish paternity.
Divorce Resources Bellevue Washington
Bellevue Divorce Forms – Visit the official website for the Washington Courts to gain access to divorce forms needed for Bellevue, WA. Access the site to see what forms are needed to initiate a divorce, forms for temporary and immediate restraining orders, and other information.
Divorce Support Groups in Bellevue, WA- Visit the official website for Divorce Care, which connects divorcees with one another to find support in one another. Access the site to look at the current groups that are meeting up, new groups being established, and other possible locations divorce groups may meet up.
Family Law Instructions for King County, WA – Visit the official website for King County, Washington to read the various instructions to family law forms/disputes. Access the site to learn how to divorce your partner, how to ask for child support, how to modify a child support or alimony order, non-parental custody issues, and other important family law issues.
Divorce Resources for Families – Visit the official website for the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) to access their various resources for families going through divorce. Access the site to find co-parenting resources, legal resources, parenting plan information, and other self-help resources.
Developing a Mutual Story of the Divorce – Visit the official website for Mediate, the largest collection of information on mediation in the nation. Access the site to read an article by Donald T. Saposnek about what parents should tell children during divorce proceedings. The article goes into how important it is to have one mutual story to tell your children as to why you are divorcing from your spouse. The article goes into the detriment of what two different stories can do the child and tips on how to create a mutual story for the sake of the child.
Divorce Attorney Bellevue | Washington Family Law Firm
You may be tempted during your divorce or other family law matter to take a “do it yourself” approach. As experienced legal professionals with decades of practice in the family law industry, our team at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson would recommend against this. Family law is a complicated legal practice, and any mistake could create long-lasting consequences for you and your family. Instead, put your family in safe hands with our Bellevue divorce lawyers at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson.
We represent clients in Bellevue in all types of family law disputes including establishing or invalidating paternity, modifying support orders, mediation, and other important matters. We can use our decades of combined experience for your case and help you achieve a favorable outcome. Call Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson today at (206) 712-2756. to set up your first consultation in Bellevue or the greater King County, Washington area.
We also represent clients in the Everett and Snohomish County, Washington area as well.