Divorce & Legal Separation
Divorce can be a painful process, but it can also be an opportunity to make a new start. My goal as a divorce lawyer is to ensure that your interests are protected in the dissolution of your marriage so you have what you need to move on.
I have more than 30 years of experience helping clients pursue their desired divorce outcomes. If you are considering divorce and want to know more about your rights and options, don't hesitate to contact me at my offices in Lynnwood.
Handling the Range of Important Divorce Issues
Each divorce is unique, and the legal standards applicable to each individual circumstances may very from case to case. Among the major issues are the following:
Child custody and visitation: In Washington, a "parenting plan" is required to designate child custody and establish a visitation schedule. The parenting plan is approved by the court and has the force of law. The parenting plan must give priority to the best interests of the child.
Child support: Washington state law sets child support according to a formula based on the income of both parents. Child support, like other divorce issues, is subject to modification and enforcement.
Spousal maintenance: Also known as spousal support or alimony, this is a temporary or permanent obligation intended to assist a spouse economically for a period of time. The length and extent of maintenance depend on several factors.
Property division: Under Washington law, the property of the parties is subject to division upon divorce. The property division must be "fair and equitable" (not necessarily equal).
The spouses may be able to reach an agreement on some or all of these issues, especially with the help of skilled attorneys who are familiar with the range of likely outcomes in a court case. If it is necessary to go to court, I will be a staunch advocate for your needs and goals.
Contact me to discuss how we can make the divorce process work for you.
Considering the Legal Separation Option
There is an alternative to marriage dissolution in Washington State. This proceeding is similar, but a different legal process called a "legal separation action."
You may wish to separate from your spouse without a divorce, either because you hope to repair the marriage, do not believe in divorce or wish to be able to continue to receive medical insurance benefits through your spouse. I have helped many clients through Washington's process of legal separation.
A legal separation action deals with the same matters that are addressed in a divorce action. Once there is a decree of legal separation, the terms of that decree are legally enforceable. Legal separation may be advisable for religious, tax, or other reasons. A legal separation may be converted to a divorce.