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Federal Way Divorce for Women

Divorce for Women in Federal Way

Divorce is undoubtedly considered one of the most taxing events one will experience in life. The process can be emotionally, financially, and legally complex, especially for women in King County.

Let’s dive into the legal framework involved in divorce and address some of the more commonly asked questions that pop up when talking about divorce for women in King County.

The Legal Framework for Divorce in King County

In King County, divorce is governed by Washington State laws, which outline the procedures and requirements for dissolution of marriage. Also known as dissolution of marriage or legal separation, it can be initiated by either spouse upon meeting certain residency requirements, according to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Title 26.09.

To petition for divorce in King County, at least one spouse must be a member of the armed forces stationed in Washington for at least 90 days before filing the petition or a resident of the state.

Once the residency requirement is met, the divorce process typically begins with one spouse filing for dissolution of marriage with the King County Superior Court. The petitioner must serve the other spouse with a copy of the petition and summons, initiating the legal proceedings.

Washington is a no fault divorce state, which means that neither spouse is required to prove fault or wrongdoing to file for divorce, allowing the petitioner to state reasons such as “irreconcilable differences” or an “irretrievably broken marriage.”

Under RCW 26.09, the court addresses various issues during divorce proceedings. These include property division, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), and any other relevant matters.

In Washington, the principle of equitable distribution is followed. This means a fair but not necessarily equal division of marital property between spouses. To illustrate, marital assets acquired during the marriage are subject to division, while separate property remains with the respective spouse.

Child support and custody arrangements are determined based on the child’s best interest, with factors such as parental involvement, the child's preferences, and the child's well-being considered.

As for spousal maintenance, the court may grant it depending on several factors, such as the full length of the marriage, each spouse's financial resources, and the standard of living established during the marriage.

How Long Does the Divorce Process Take in King County?

In King County, the process for an uncontested divorce typically takes about 90 days from the date of the filing. On the other hand, the process for a contested divorce or a case with more complex issues at play can take significantly longer, sometimes up to a year or more.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for My Divorce?

Whether or not you need to hire a lawyer for your divorce comes down to a few factors, including the complexity of the case, the level of conflict that exists between you and your spouse, and your comfort level when it comes to navigating these legal processes.

Some people can successfully handle their Federal Way divorce without a lawyer; however, it is generally advisable to consult with at least one, especially if there are huge assets, child custody issues, or any other disputes involved. A King County family law attorney can provide guidance, protect your rights, and ensure the entire process from start to finish is handled the right way.

What Happens if My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on Major Issues?

A divorce may be contested if you and your spouse fail to agree on major issues such as asset division, child custody, or spousal support.

In these cases, you must go through mediation, negotiation, or even litigation to resolve any disagreements. Litigation can be incredibly costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining for everyone, which is why it is advisable to seek legal representation to navigate all these complexities and protect your interests as much as possible. Ultimately, if you can’t come to an agreement, a judge will make decisions on these matters based on all the evidence presented in court.

You can learn more about mediation proceedings in RCW 26.09.015, which states that “Any agreement reached by the parties as a result of mediation shall be reported to the court and to counsel for the parties by the mediator on the day set for mediation or any time thereafter designated by the court.”

Will I Be Entitled to Spousal Support?

Spousal support, also known as maintenance, may be awarded based on different factors as outlined in RCW 26.09.090 Maintenance Orders for Either Spouse or Either Domestic Partner − Factors. The court will assess the financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance and their ability to meet their needs independently.

Additionally, the court will determine how much time is needed for education and training to find appropriate employment; the standard of living during the marriage; the duration of the marriage; the age, health, and financial obligations of both spouses; and the ability of the supporting spouse to meet their own needs while supporting the other spouse.

Ultimately, all of these factors are weighed by the court to determine if spousal support is warranted and in what amount and duration it should be awarded.

How Are Debts Divided in a Divorce?

In divorce proceedings, debts are typically divided through a process known as equitable distribution. This means that debts acquired during the marriage are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, between the spouses.

When dividing debts, several factors are considered. These include each spouse’s financial situation, who incurred the debts, the purpose of the debt, and any agreements made between the spouses.

As outlined in RCW 26.09.080 Disposition of Property and Liabilities, equitable distribution doesn’t always mean an equal 50/50 split. Rather, it aims to ensure a fair distribution based on the circumstances of the marriage and each spouse’s financial position.

The court can intervene to make a decision if the spouses can’t agree on how to divide these debts. To navigate the process more smoothly, it is highly encouraged to consult with a King County lawyer who is experienced in family law.

What Happens to Our Shared Property if My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on Its Division?

Similar to dividing debts, the court will decide for you and your spouse if you can’t agree on how shared property will be split. It will strive to reach a division of property that is considered fair and equitable, evaluating the specific details of each case.

Will I Lose Custody of My Kids if I File for Divorce?

Filing for divorce doesn’t automatically result in losing custody of your children, as child custody decisions in divorce cases are based on the child’s best interests. You can learn more about the designation of child custody for other state and federal statutes in RCW 26.09.285.

The relationship between each parent and the child; the child’s preferences (as long as they are old enough to express them); the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs; and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse are some of the factors the court considers when determining custody arrangements.

How Can I Protect My Financial Interests During the Divorce Process?

To protect your financial interests during the divorce process, you may take the following steps:

  1. Collect all of your financial records
  2. Make sure to gain a thorough understanding of your financial situation
  3. Open individual bank and credit accounts
  4. Seek advice from legal professionals
  5. Explore mediation or collaborative divorce
  6. Work with a skilled family law attorney in Federal Way to advocate on your behalf

By taking proactive steps like these to protect your financial interests, you can get through the divorce process with greater confidence while ensuring a more secure financial future for yourself. Women have equal legal rights to property division, spousal support, and child custody, and it is important to understand this during divorce proceedings.

Building a network of friends and family can provide some much-needed emotional support and practical advice during what can prove to be an extremely challenging time.

Additionally, you can navigate this transition smoothly and achieve a more favorable outcome by familiarizing yourself with the state statutes and laws governing divorce for women in King County. Remember, while divorce marks the end of one chapter in your life, it also presents many opportunities for new beginnings and personal growth.

Client Reviews
Laurie has worked on my very challenging and contentious divorce and I could not have asked for a better family law attorney. She was able to handle all of the twists and turns of my case with ease. I highly recommend Laurie to anyone looking for an excellent, ethical and hard working counselor. Chandler
Laurie is an incredible divorce lawyer! She did an amazing job with my divorce, and it was a real dog fight the whole way. She is a true fighter. And you can tell that she really cares about her family law clients and the results that she achieves for them. John
My lawyer guided me through a very challenging time in my life when I was going through my divorce. She worked hard and explained every step of the way what was going on so I could understand the process. I was very happy with her work. Barbel