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Puyallup Divorce for Women

How Puyallup's Women-Focused Divorce Lawyers Protect Your Rights

Our divorce attorneys in Puyallup specialize in addressing the unique legal concerns of women, ensuring they receive tailored guidance and support throughout the divorce process. We prioritize empowerment and informed decision-making for our clients, providing comprehensive assistance at every step.

Understanding No-Fault Divorce In Washington State

In Washington State, divorces operate under a no-fault system, eliminating the need for either party to prove fault for the marriage breakdown. Instead, divorce is based on the concept of irretrievable breakdown, signifying that the marriage is beyond repair. This "no-fault" approach streamlines the divorce process and allows couples to dissolve their marriage without engaging in contentious fault-based proceedings.

Initiating divorce proceedings in Washington requires one spouse (the petitioner) to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the relevant county court. This document outlines essential information about the marriage, including the parties' names, any children, and the grounds for divorce, typically cited as irretrievable breakdown.

Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Debts

Washington State follows the principle of equitable distribution when dividing marital assets and debts. Contrary to popular belief, equitable distribution does not always result in a 50/50 split of assets. Instead, the court aims for a fair distribution using several factors, guaranteeing both parties a fair portion of the marital assets by accounting for the individual circumstances of each case.

Determining Spousal Maintenance In Puyallup

In divorces where one spouse has notably higher income or financial assets than the other, the court may award spousal maintenance, also known as alimony. Factors such as each spouse's earning capacity, the length of the marriage, and their respective financial needs determine the amount and duration of spousal support payments. Spousal maintenance aims to provide financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse, enabling them to maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce.

How To File Divorce In Puyallup

Filing for divorce in Puyallup, Washington involves several procedural steps:

  1. Meet Residency Requirements: Ensure that you or your spouse meet Washington state's residency requirements, typically involving a minimum period of six months of residency before filing for divorce.
  2. Determine Grounds for Divorce: Understand that Washington State allows for "no-fault" divorces, with irretrievable breakdown as the most common ground for divorce.
  3. Prepare Divorce Forms: Fill out the required paperwork for initiating a divorce, which you can obtain from the Washington Courts or Pierce County Superior Court websites. The paperwork might differ on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.
  4. File Divorce Forms: Submit the completed forms to the Pierce County Superior Court, which typically occurs at the Clerk's Office. Remember to retain copies of all documents for personal records.
  5. Serve Your Spouse: If your spouse is not filing jointly with you, you must serve them with copies of the divorce paperwork. You may do so through various methods, such as hiring a professional process server or having an individual over 18 not involved in the case deliver the documents.
  6. Wait for Response: Allow your spouse a specified period to respond to the divorce petition. If they contest the divorce or disagree with any terms, they must file a response within the designated time frame. Failure to respond may result in the court proceeding with the divorce being uncontested.
  7. Negotiate Settlement (if applicable): If there are unresolved issues concerning your divorce, you and your spouse may opt to negotiate a settlement directly or through mediation. This collaborative approach can facilitate amicable resolution and minimize conflict during divorce.
  8. Finalize Divorce: Upon resolution of any disputes and agreement on all terms, the court will issue a final divorce decree, officially terminating the marriage. This document serves as a legal confirmation of the divorce and outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties moving forward.
  9. Follow Court Orders: Adhere to any court orders issued throughout the divorce process, including those related to property division, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and other matters. Not complying with court orders will result in legal consequences, so fulfilling all obligations as the court instructs is essential.
What To Do If You Have Been Served Divorce Papers In Puyallup?

If you have been served with divorce papers in Puyallup, it is essential to take the following steps:

  1. Review the Papers: Carefully review all documents in the divorce packet, including the summons, petition for dissolution of marriage, and any other relevant forms. Pay close attention to any deadlines or requirements outlined in the paperwork.
  2. Respond Within the Required Timeframe: In Washington State, you typically have a specific period to respond to the divorce petition once served. If you agree with the divorce terms and have no objections, you may file a response indicating your agreement. Otherwise, you must file a response stating your objections within the designated time frame.
  3. Seek Legal Advice: Consider seeking legal advice from a qualified divorce attorney to understand your rights and options. They will provide personalized guidance based on your unique situation and help you navigate the divorce process effectively and protect your interests.
  4. Gather Relevant Documents: Gather important financial documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, mortgage documents, and other records relevant to your marital assets and liabilities. Since these will be necessary for property division and other financial matters during the divorce proceedings, it is essential to have them organized and readily available.
  5. Consider Mediation or Negotiation: If you and your spouse are willing to work together to reach a mutually acceptable agreement, you may consider mediation or negotiation as an alternative dispute resolution method. These approaches can help facilitate constructive communication and cooperation between both parties, potentially resulting in a more amicable and efficient resolution of divorce-related issues.
  6. Attending Court Hearings: If necessary, attend any court hearings that are related to your divorce case as scheduled by the court. Be prepared to provide the requested information or documentation to support your position and present your case.
  7. Comply with Court Orders: Once the divorce process is underway, it is crucial to comply with court orders. You must follow directives related to property division, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and any other matters the court addresses. Failure to comply with Pierce County Court orders has serious consequences.

Every divorce case in Pierce County is unique, and your specific legal steps depend on your circumstances. Nevertheless, by following these general guidelines and seeking appropriate legal advice when necessary, you can confidently navigate the divorce process in Pierce County.

Top Five Things Every Woman Needs To Know About Pierce County Divorce

If you are facing divorce in Puyallup for the first time, here are the top five things you need to know:

  1. Washington State Follows Community Property Laws: In Washington, community property laws decree that assets and debts from the marriage belong equally to both spouses and undergo equitable distribution in divorce. However, equitable distribution does not always result in a 50/50 split, as the court considers various factors when dividing marital property.
  2. The Importance of Financial Documentation During Divorce: Comprehensive financial documentation is essential when preparing for divorce in Washington. Documentation involves gathering bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, investment account statements, retirement account information, property valuations, and other relevant financial records. Accurate financial documentation is crucial for determining property division, calculating child support and spousal maintenance, and ensuring a fair resolution of financial matters during divorce proceedings.
  3. Understanding Spousal Maintenance: In divorces with a notable disparity in income or financial resources between spouses, spousal maintenance or alimony may be granted. The court decides the amount and duration of payments, considering factors like marriage duration, earning capacity, and financial requirements. Spousal maintenance aims to provide financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse, enabling them to maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce.
  4. Prioritizing the Best Interests of The Child: In child custody and visitation decisions, Washington courts prioritize the child's best interests. Considerations encompass the child's bond with each parent, the parents' work routines, the child's adaptation to home, school, and community, and each parent's capability to foster a favorable relationship between the child and the other parent. A standard formula that considers both parents' income, the number of children, and other relevant factors is used to calculate child support.
  5. Mandatory Waiting Period: Washington law mandates a waiting period of at least 90 days from when the divorce petition is filed and served on the other spouse before the Courts can finalize the divorce. This period permits reconciliation and gives both parties time to deliberate their decisions. However, the actual time to finalize a divorce can be longer, depending on the complexity of the case and the level of agreement or disagreement between the spouses.

Our Puyallup women's divorce attorneys protect your rights and guide you through every step of the divorce process. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve a fair and favorable outcome in your divorce case.

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