Olympia divorce attorney
As a man facing divorce proceedings, it is all too easy to feel alone. Your life is changing faster than you might be able to handle, and the legal system might feel like it is stacked against you. Fortunately, help is available at Divorce Lawyers for Men.
The skilled attorneys in our statewide network help men navigate the complex family court system so they can obtain a fair outcome. We serve as trusted allies and advisors to our clients during the most challenging times of their lives, and we want to do the same for you.
Our Olympia office services clients in Thurston County, Mason County, and Lewis County.
Call us today at (360) 866-7393 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys and start laying the foundation for a brighter future.
Divorce process in Washington State
The exact path of the divorce process in Washington State varies depending on the specific circumstances of each case, but there are several key steps you should be aware of.
1. Determine jurisdiction
All divorce cases in Washington begin by filing a divorce petition. To do this, you must first determine which court has jurisdiction to hear the case. In most cases, this will be the county where either you or your spouse resides.
2. File and serve the petition
One spouse, the petitioner, must file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Petition must then be served on the other spouse, the respondent. There are multiple ways to do this, but a common option is to use an approved process server.
3. File a response
In Washington, the respondent generally has 20 days to formally respond to the divorce petition. This is done by filing an answer with the court detailing whether they agree or disagree with the information in the petition. They can also file a counterclaim which allows them to request their own set of divorce terms.
4. Establish temporary orders
Based on the information included in the initial petition and any applicable counterclaims, the court may issue temporary orders, requested by one party or the other. These orders may address matters such as support payments and child custody and are put in place to protect both parties while the divorce process is underway. Temporary orders are important for many reasons but, most particularly because they tend to become the framework for permanent orders.
5. Attend required parent education classes
Under Washington State law, when a divorce involves minor children, the parents must complete parent education classes before the judge can finalize the divorce.
These classes teach parents about the potential effects divorce might have on their children and how they can support them through the process. This step can be completed at any point during the divorce process, but it is best to do it as soon as possible.
6. Conduct discovery
The discovery phase is an opportunity for both parties to collect evidence from the other side. This often includes obtaining financial records, identifying assets, and gathering other forms of evidence necessary to ensure that both parties have the information they need to make informed decisions during the remaining proceedings.
7. Participate in mediation
By this point, you should have received a trial date from the court. In most cases, the trial will be set several months in the future. While you wait for the trial, you will have the chance to participate in mediation.
Mediation is a formal process where an impartial third party will help both sides negotiate the divorce settlement and hopefully reach a mutually agreeable resolution on key issues. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce before your trial date, you will not need to go to trial and can finalize your settlement for the court’s final approval.
8. Move forward with trial
If you are unable to settle during mediation, then the trial will move forward as scheduled. During the trial, both parties will present their case to the judge and attempt to prove why they should receive what they requested in the petition or counterclaim.
9. Obtain a Decree of Dissolution
After the settlement is signed or after the trial has ended, a Decree of Dissolution will be issued. The Decree will dissolve the marriage and will contain all child custody, support, spousal support, and property division orders.
Cost of divorce
Each divorce case in Olympia is unique, and the cost to finalize it will depend on a variety of factors, including if agreements can be reached or if court intervention is necessary.
For example, if you enlist the help of a lawyer, those fees may make up the largest portion of the cost. Other costs may include court filing fees, process server fees, and expert witness fees, among others.
Contested or uncontested divorce is the greatest factor affecting costs
The most significant factor influencing the cost of a divorce is whether it is contested or uncontested.
A contested divorce is one where the parties do not agree on key aspects of their separation. This means they will need to take their case to trial and let the judge decide the outcome, which usually involves higher costs because of the additional time and resources needed to achieve resolution.
On the other hand, an uncontested divorce is one where both parties are in agreement on all the terms of their settlement. As a result, the case can often be resolved much faster and with lower costs.
While this option is the most financially sound route when both parties can come to a mutually agreeable resolution, pursuing a contested divorce may be necessary if one party refuses to cooperate.
And when the contested matters involve substantial assets or complex financial arrangements, moving forward with the trial may even result in significant cost savings down the line.
Who pays attorney’s fees and costs?
Most of the time, each party is responsible for paying their own costs and attorney fees. In some circumstances, however, the court may order one party to pay all or part of the other’s fees.
This often happens when there are significant discrepancies in income between spouses. It may also occur when one party has acted in bad faith during the proceedings, such as by hiding assets.
Legal separation vs. divorce
Divorce is not always the best option for couples who are looking to end their marriage. For some couples, a legal separation may be more appropriate.
A legal separation acknowledges that the couple is no longer living together and provides a structure for them to manage financial matters, parental responsibilities, and other important issues while they are apart. It involves a legally binding document that outlines the same issues as a divorce, such as child custody and support, spousal support, and property and debt division.
However, unlike those who get divorced, legally separated couples remain legally married, allowing them to retain access to benefits like health insurance.
Additionally, divorce allows either party to remarry, while legally separated couples cannot. This can be easily remedied after six months of being legally separated by converting the separation into a divorce. The conversion simply transposes the language from the Decree of Legal Separation onto a new document called a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, when so requested by either party.
Whether the terms of the divorce are decided by a judge or agreed to by the parties in mediation, the court will include them in the final documents. These documents are legally binding, meaning both parties are obligated to adhere to their provisions.
If minor children are involved in the divorce, the final documents will include a Parenting Plan. This is essentially a detailed schedule that outlines when each parent will have physical custody of the children, as well as how decisions regarding their upbringing will be made.
The plan may also include provisions for co-parenting, such as how the parents will communicate with each other about issues concerning their children.
Decree of dissolution of marriage
The Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is the final court document that officially terminates a marriage. It outlines all the terms and conditions agreed upon between the two parties and any rulings made by the court regarding property division, spousal support, and other matters.
From start to finish, here is how long your divorce could take
The amount of time it will take to finalize your divorce will depend largely on whether it is uncontested or contested. For uncontested cases, the process will take a minimum of three months.
This is due to Washington State’s mandatory 90-day waiting period which starts on the date the petition was filed and must be fulfilled before the judge can issue the final divorce decree. Minimally complicated uncontested divorce cases can often be finalized immediately after the three-month waiting period is over.
Contested divorce cases are more complicated and can take longer to resolve, depending on the issues in dispute and the court’s backlog. It can often take a year or more for a contested divorce to reach a final judgment, but some contested cases may be resolved in a matter of months in certain jurisdictions.
Why do I need a lawyer for a divorce?
Divorce is not just a series of legal proceedings — it is the unraveling of a life shared between two people. The logistical complexities can be overwhelming for a person to handle on their own, especially while navigating the emotional aspect of divorce.
By enlisting the help of a reliable Washington State divorce attorney, you can rest easy knowing that tedious legal matters are being taken care of and that your rights are being protected. Our attorneys are local to your area and familiar with local courts. This allows you to focus on rebuilding your life after this difficult transition.
Men are especially prone to getting an unfair deal in divorce proceedings — representation from a qualified attorney is key to protecting your rights throughout the process. From spousal support to asset division to child custody, the stakes can be high; having an experienced lawyer on your side can make all the difference in getting the outcome you deserve.
How we can help
With our Olympia divorce attorneys in your corner, you can focus on the things that really matter, like your family and your future. As your attorneys, we will represent your best interests at every stage of the divorce process by offering the following services and more:
- Discussing your legal options
- Assisting with the initial filings
- Negotiating a fair settlement
- Building a strong case for trial
- Advocating on your behalf in court
Regardless of the specifics of your case, we will work diligently to resolve it in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner — without compromising on the quality of service. Whether that requires mediation or court intervention, we will not rest until we have achieved the best possible outcome for you.
Why you should choose Divorce Lawyers for Men
More than 10,000 men have already chosen Divorce Lawyers for Men to represent them during divorce proceedings — and it is easy to see why. Our statewide network of family law attorneys shares one common mission: to ensure that men have an equal voice in the divorce process. This can make a profound difference.
For many men, quality representation can mean more quality time with their children, more money in their pockets to provide for their children and pursue their dreams, and a more secure future for themselves and their loved ones.
If you are ready to get started on the road to a better life, contact or call us today at (360) 866-7393 to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your goals, assess your case, and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your future.
Local Communities Our Family Law Attorney Olympia Office Serves:
We serve the following areas: Union Mill, North Olympia, East Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, Beachcrest, Northwest Olympia, Kellys Korner, Mushroom Corner, Lamberts Corner, South Westside Olympia, Governor Stevens area, Indian Creek, Cain Road, Eastside Olympia, North East Olympia, Goldcrest, and surrounding areas in Thurston County, Mason County, Grays Harbor County, and Lewis County.
Learn the Divorce Rules for Men
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