Archive for divorce law

Top Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging things you ever have to face. Financial stress can be difficult enough, but the emotional and mental impact can take a heavy toll – sometimes leading to even physical health issues. Splitting assets and figuring out how to start over is rough, and it’s worse if you have children involved.

Considering everything you already have to deal with, it’s essential that you find a good divorce attorney to help lighten the load. The following are some of the most important things to look for when looking for your attorney.


It’s vital that you hire an attorney that knows how to handle your case. The best way to do this is to first look for someone who has experience in family law in general.

After narrowing down your options, dig in more deeply to determine who has experience with any specifics involved in your divorce, such as child custody or your particular financial assets. The more familiar they are with your type of situation, the better they’ll be able to manage it.

Good Client Reviews

Next, you’ll want to look into reviews from former and current clients. You can typically find these on their websites, but you can also check Google and even ask others who live in your area on community social media pages.

Open and Honest Communication

You need an attorney that will be open with you from the start. You don’t need any surprises coming from the person who is supposed to have your interests in mind. A consultation with an attorney should provide you with a good feel for them, as should any reviews you find.

Reasonable Price of Services

There are several things that can determine how much an attorney charges. For example, if you’re able to complete your divorce in family court, it will cost less than it will if you take it in front of a judge or a jury. The amount of prep it takes your lawyer will also play a role.

The attorney’s experience level can also impact their rates. Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t go to a less experienced attorney just to save money. You want your case handled properly. Instead, consider hiring an attorney that offers a reasonable set rate instead of working for an hourly one.

This is a sensitive time for you, so it’s important that you have representation that’s truly on your side. Take some time to research your options and set up consultations before making a final decision.

The Timeline of a Divorce: What To Know

If you are in the process of dissolving a marriage, you might be wondering how long it will take. No matter how amicable a divorce might be, it will take some time. There are a lot of factors involved in how long it will take you to finalize your divorce, and it is not unusual for a divorce to take more than a year to become final. For this reason, it is always prudent to have solid legal representation that can not only help you navigate the court system but also make sure your rights are vigorously defended.

If you go through the process as quickly as possible, it will still take at least two months. Typically, this only happens if both parties can agree on everything and there are no children involved. If there are minor children involved in the divorce, the process could take six months or more.

There are a lot of factors involved in establishing a child custody arrangement. The legal system will try to figure out the safest place for the child to live, which parent took care of the children the most, and whether the children will have adequate emotional support. It is virtually unheard of for the court system to split up children between parents.

There are several other reasons why a divorce might take longer. For example, you may have a lot of shared property that you have to divide. Just as dividing your assets can be complicated, dividing your debt can be an issue as well. Some of the most common sources of debt include credit cards, cars, student loans, and mortgages. If you have to divide assets and debt through the legal system, it can drag out the process.

Even though you probably want your divorce to be finalized as quickly as possible, it is just as important for you to make sure your rights are represented. The divorce process is going to lead to adjustments, compromises, and possible changes in your lifestyle. If you have a divorce attorney in your corner, the process can proceed as smoothly as possible. That is why you must hire an experienced divorce lawyer if you are going through a divorce.

Valuing Real Estate in Washington State Divorces

Washington State’s divorce laws require that the trial court justly and equitably distribute the spouses’ property and liabilities, whether community or separate.  That property will include real estate, which must be valued to figure into a just and equitable distribution of property.  The parties will not be likely to agree on the worth of the property.  The party that wants the asset wants it to be worth virtually nothing, while the party giving it up wants it to be worth the universe.

So, the court must determine how to reach a fair valuation.  The court must award each party an asset of roughly equal value each time it makes a distribution.  It can only do this if it can determine the value of those assets.

In Washington, the value of property is a question of fact.  This status means that the trial court’s asset valuations will be affirmed so long as they are based on the evidence presented in the case.  Generally, a challenger will review the record to determine whether substantial evidence exists to support the court’s valuation of a particular asset, reviewing it in the light most favorable to the party in whose favor the findings were entered.  Substantial evidence is sufficient to persuade a fair-minded person.

The most common valuation used in divorce is “fair market value” (FMV).  FMV, in Washington State, is the amount of money a willing but not obligated purchaser would pay an owner willing but not obligated to sell, considering all uses for the property.  In other words, FMV is the price objective persons in the marketplace would agree upon for a given asset.

However, the court is not locked into using FMV.  Deciding value is at the court’s discretion and is usually set at the price for which a spouse could sell the asset.

If the disputed asset has significant value and the parties are widely apart in their respective valuables, a joint appraisal may be obtained, with either party entitled to a second opinion if dissatisfied.  Accredited appraisers may be the best option, especially with real estate.

In the end, the valuation must be supported by evidence and, hopefully, by an appraisal.  This objectivity will be helpful in the emotional context of a divorce.

Washington Divorce Laws and Regulations

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW), Title 26, governs divorce law, known as dissolution of marriage. A person who wants to pursue dissolution of marriage in Washington is likely to have questions about divorce, child custody, or domestic violence protection orders.

What are the Grounds for a Divorce in Washington?

The sole grounds for a divorce in the State of Washington is “irreconcilable differences.” Washington is a no-fault state, so one spouse needs only to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” to start the divorce.

What are the Grounds of Jurisdiction for Divorce?

The RCW, Chapter 26.09.030 allows a spouse who is a resident of Washington, who is married to a resident of Washington or who is a member of the military and stationed in Washington for 90 days prior to the filing of the case to seek a divorce. A Court of Appeals case upheld the subject matter jurisdiction statute.

How Do I Obtain Custody of Minor Children?

Either party to the dissolution of marriage may seek custody of minor children. The RCW 26.09.270 requires that a party “seeking a temporary custody order or a temporary parenting plan or modification of a custody decree or parenting plan” submit an affidavit with their motion.

The affidavit needs to state facts supporting the order or modification. The party also provides notice to other parties of the divorce proceedings.

What does the Court Consider When Making Orders Related to Children?

The objectives of a permanent parenting plan are to provide for physical care of children, for maintaining their emotional stability and to provide for the changing needs of children. The court sets forth the responsibilities and authority of each parent and encourages parents to abide by their responsibilities set forth in the permanent parenting plan.

What Financial Orders Does the Court Make in a Divorce Case?

The court makes financial orders related to the disposition of property and liability, communal or separate, in an equitable manner. One exception is that property acquired by inheritance or gift remains solely with the person given the property.

The primary parent of the minor children usually retains the matrimonial home.

The court may order either parent to pay child support.

How does the Court Protect Domestic Violence Victims?

Either party has the right to ask the court for a temporary restraining order under RCW 26.09.060. The court may issue orders restraining a person from transferring, removing or destroying property, or from entering the home, school or workplace of the other party or minor children.

The court may issue domestic violence protection or anti-harassment orders.