Justia Lawyer Rating
Top One
Avvo Rating 10.0 Top Attorney
Lead Counsel Rating
The National Trial Lawyers
The Avvo Clients' Choice Awards
Expertise - Seattle
The National Advocates
10 Best American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 2016
Client Champion badge
Expertise - Tacoma
Expertise - Olympia
Client Champion Platinum 2021
Best of the Best Attorneys 2023 - Divorce Law Firm
Expertise Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in Everett 2021
Top 10 Family Law
Best of the Best Attorneys 2023 - Family Law Firm
Best of South Sound
American Association of Attorney Advocates - Divorce
American Association of Attorney Advocates - Family Law
2024 Judicial Edition
mylegalwin 2023 Distinguished Attorney
mylegalwin 2024 Distinguished Attorney
mylegalwin 2023 Featured Attorney
mylegalwin 2024 Featured Attorney

Lakewood Divorce for Women

Lakewood's Best Divorce Attorneys For Women

Our Lakewood attorneys specialize in representing women in divorce cases. We offer personalized legal guidance and compassionate support and provide the expertise needed throughout the proceedings, ensuring comprehensive assistance tailored to the unique needs of women. With our dedicated team advocating fiercely for our clients, they can navigate the process with confidence. Rest assured, women facing divorce can trust that their rights and interests will be protected, allowing them to move forward with peace of mind. Contact us today for expert legal representation tailored to your needs during this challenging time.

The Basics Of Washington's Property Division Laws

Washington State adheres to the principle of equitable distribution when dividing property during divorce. This means assets and debts are divided fairly, not necessarily equally, between spouses. Let's delve into the specifics:

Washington is a community property state, meaning property obtained during marriage is generally deemed community property, subject to equal division in divorce. Conversely, separate property comprises assets owned before marriage, acquired as a gift or inherited during marriage, or obtained with separate funds during marriage.

Despite being a community property state, Washington employs equitable distribution principles over equal distribution. Pierce County Courts divide marital property fairly, considering factors like marriage duration, financial standing, contributions, and children's needs.

Marital property encompasses assets acquired during marriage—real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments, and personal belongings. Additionally, debts accrued during marriage are deemed marital property and divided accordingly.

To divide marital property fairly, the Court must determine the value of assets and debts. They may do this through real estate appraisals and personal property and evaluations of financial accounts and investments.

Just like assets, marital debts, including mortgages, credit card debt, and loans, undergo division in Washington State. Separate property, encompassing assets owned pre-marriage or acquired via gift or inheritance during marriage, typically retains its separate status and isn't divided in divorce. However, blending separate property with marital assets can complicate division.

Divorcing couples in Washington State must grasp their rights and responsibilities concerning property division, seeking legal counsel if necessary to secure a just and equitable distribution of assets and debts.

Child Custody And Parenting Plans For Mothers

Washington State aims to prioritize the child's best interests while also considering both parents' rights through child custody and parenting plans. Let’s delve into the details:

1. Legal Custody Vs. Physical Custody

In Washington, legal custody grants the authority to make crucial decisions concerning the child's upbringing, encompassing education, healthcare, and religious affairs. Meanwhile, physical custody concerns the child's primary residence and day-to-day living arrangements.

2. Types of Custody Arrangements

Washington State recognizes both sole custody and joint custody arrangements:

  • Sole Custody: One parent assumes primary physical custody of the child, while the other usually maintains visitation rights.
  • Joint Custody: Both parents actively share physical and/or legal custody of the child. Talk to your attorney to explore your options, as this arrangement can manifest in various forms.
3. Parenting Plans

In Washington State, divorcing or separating parents must draft a parenting plan delineating custody and visitation arrangements for their children. It must cover various aspects of co-parenting, including:

  • Residential Schedule: Specifies the residential time each parent will have with the child, including weekdays, weekends, holidays, and vacations
  • Decision-Making Authority: Determines how major decisions about the child's upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities, will be made
  • Communication and Dispute Resolution: Establish guidelines for communication between parents and outline how to resolve parenting plan disagreements
  • Transportation and Exchanges: Addresses logistics for transporting the child between parents' homes for visitation
  • Financial Support: Outlines the arrangements for child support, including the amount, the frequency of payments, and any provisions for adjustments based on changes in circumstances
4. Best Interests Of The Child

Washington State law mandates that all custody and parenting determinations prioritize the child's best interests, which are determined by assessing their relationship with each parent, their preferences (if mature enough to articulate them), the parents' cooperation and communication abilities, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

5. Modification Of Custody Orders

Custody and parenting plans are subject to change and can be adjusted if circumstances change or the court deems it in the child's best interests. For instance, a custody order modification may be required if one parent relocates, or concerns arise regarding the child's safety or welfare.

In Washington State, mothers possess equal rights and obligations as fathers regarding child custody and parenting plans. This is because court determinations are based on the child's best interests, irrespective of the parent's gender.

How Washington Calculates Child Support

The Washington State Child Support Schedule (WSCSS), a set of guidelines established by state law, is used to calculate child support. Here's how it works:

  • Income Consideration: The primary factor in determining child support in Washington is the income of both parents, which encompasses salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, pension payments, social security benefits, and other sources.
  • Basic Support Obligation: The WSCSS provides a standard calculation for the basic support obligation using the combined income of both parents and the number of children. This calculation considers the income of both parents and the number of children they share.
  • Income Shares Model: In Washington State, an income shares model is used to calculate child support. It considers both parents' incomes to determine the total child support obligation. Courts base each parent's share of the total obligation on their proportionate income contribution.
  • Adjustments and Deviations: While the WSCSS provides a standard calculation, adjustments and deviations may be made based on certain factors, including:
  • Additional expenses related to childcare, health insurance, and extraordinary medical expenses for the child
  • The time each parent spends with the child
  • Extraordinary income or expenses of either parent
  • Children from other relationships.
  • In cases where a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may impute income based on the parent's earning capacity rather than their actual income to ensure that child support obligations are fair and reasonable.
  • Child Support Worksheets: Parents typically complete child support worksheets provided by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to calculate child support. These worksheets require information about each parent's income, parenting time, and applicable adjustments or deviations.
  • Court Approval: Once you complete the child support calculation, it will be approved and made legally binding by the Pierce County Courts. It has a discretion to deviate from the standard calculation if it determines that doing so is in the child's best interests.

To estimate your child support payments, check the Washington Child Support calculator or speak to your attorney.

How Washington Calculates Alimony

In Washington State, unlike child support which has a set formula in Pierce County, spousal maintenance or alimony is determined by court discretion. The court decides whether awarding spousal support is appropriate, and if so, they will determine the duration and amount of the award. Here's how to calculate spousal support in Washington:

  • Need-Based Analysis: When considering whether to award spousal support, courts in Washington typically conduct a need-based analysis to determine if one spouse requires financial support from the other. The process involves assessing each spouse's financial resources and needs, including income, assets, earning capacity, and expenses.
  • Standard of Living During Marriage: Courts may consider the standard of living established during the marriage when determining the appropriate amount of spousal support. The objective is to assist the receiving spouse in maintaining a standard of living reasonably comparable to that experienced during the marriage within the constraints of the available resources.
  • Duration of Marriage: The length of your marriage is a major factor in spousal support determinations. Longer marriages may result in longer-lasting or indefinite spousal support awards, while shorter marriages may result in shorter-term or no support.
  • Financial Contributions and Non-Financial Contributions: When determining spousal support, courts evaluate spouses' contributions to the marriage, considering factors such as each spouse's income, earning capacity, career sacrifices made for the benefit of the family, and contributions to homemaking and childcare.
  • Ability to Pay: Courts also consider the paying spouse's ability to pay spousal support. Determining the ability to pay involves assessing the paying spouse's income, assets, and financial obligations, including child support and other marital debts.

In addition to the above considerations, courts may take into account other relevant factors, such as the age and health of each spouse, the presence of minor children, and any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements addressing spousal support.

Benefit from the extensive expertise our specialized team in Lakewood accumulated over three decades. Our attorneys are dedicated exclusively to representing women in divorce cases. We understand your unique challenges and are committed to providing unwavering support throughout your journey. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and experience personalized legal guidance tailored to your needs. Let us passionately advocate for your rights and interests, ensuring you receive the comprehensive representation and compassionate support you deserve throughout the divorce process.

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