Divorce

Filing for a divorce can be challenging and frustrating. It is a process that requires patience, especially when there are several unsettled issues. Discussing issues such as fair division of assets and child custody property division are very complex. This is where the help of a skilled Washington divorce attorney can benefit both parties.

The attorneys at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson are experienced in filing actions under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 26.09, including dissolutions of marriage, legal separations, and parenting plan modifications. We also understand what's at stake in every divorce case and family law matter, so we always treat it with the importance it deserves. Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson can help you with all types of divorce cases in the state of Washington including:

  • Contested Divorce;
  • Uncontested Divorce;
  • Military Divorce;
  • Same Sex/LGTB Divorce;
  • High Income Divorce; and
  • High Asset | Net Worth Divorce.

Seattle Divorce Attorneys in Washington

If you are considering a divorce in the state of Washington, speaking with a skilled family law attorney will prepare you for the road ahead. Our trained Seattle divorce lawyers know the matrimonial / family courts in Seattle and Kent in King County, Washington. Everyone in our firm has worked for the King County Superior Court as well as represented clients in family law cases in that court. We are known for our strong and dedicated advocacy for our clients.

When you hire a matrimonial law firm such as Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson in Seattle, WA, you want to know that you are hiring the best attorney for your case. You want someone who can get through every stage of the case effectively and efficiently. In addition to the attorneys in the firm, you need a law firm with qualified support staff. We also work with experts that are needed in higher-income or asset divorce cases including the best forensic accountants. Whether you have a simple uncontested divorce or a more complex, high conflict case, we can help.

No divorce or family law case is the same. We know the best ways to approach to the case at every stage. Call (206) 712-2756 today to schedule a free, initial consultation and discuss your case today.


Information Center on Divorce Cases


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Stages of a Divorce Case in King County, WA

As the largest county in Washington, King County has a complex system for divorce cases. King County issues a case schedule upon the filing of a Petition, which requires parties to prepare documents, appear for hearings, and even take a parenting seminar if there are minor children involved. The case schedules indicate your trial date, which is typically set almost a year out from the filing date, and provide the deadlines for discovery as well as require the parties to engage in mediation.

Special family law courts have judges assigned to hear pre-trial motions for temporary parenting plans, restraining orders, division of property, spousal maintenance and child support. Depending on the nature of those motions, many of them are heard before a Family Law Commissioner. Some types of pre-trial motions must be heard before a judge. 

Most cases resolve at the mediation stage, not only because of the expense associated with trial, but because parties maintain some control over the outcome of a case at mediation, and are more likely to follow orders that they prepared themselves.

Most parties do not see a Judges in the family courts in King County in Seattle or Kent, WA, unless they are moving to revise a Commissioner’s order within the 10 day revision hearing window. Those cases are held in open court, though issues that are particularly sensitive in nature or require the testimony of a minor child might be heard in private. 

The family law attorneys at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson can help you during every stage of the case including:

  • Legal Separation;
  • Temporary Hearing;
  • Mediation;
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution;
  • Arbitration;
  • Filing the Confirmation of Issues;
  • Status Conference;
  • Settlement Conference;
  • Final Hearing / Trial Date; and
  • Post Degree Modifications.

For many of our clients, the temporary hearing is the most important part of the case. One side may seek a temporary order early in the divorce case. The temporary order requires each side to do certain things while the dissolution case is pending. The temporary order often address issues such as who will live in the marital home, who will pay the bills, attorney fees, temporary child support, and temporary alimony (also known as maintenance or spousal support).


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Division of Property in a Divorce Case

Many issues can arise during the process of a divorce. In several instances, spouses can't agree on certain divorce-related issues in their case such as child cusody or fair division of assets. The way property is divided depends on a wide variety of issues including whether the property is classified as marital property or separate property. The types of assets that are divided during a divorce can include:

  • the marital home;
  • real estate other than the marital home;
  • retirement accounts;
  • military benefits;
  • assets of a small business; and
  • assets of a closely-held corporation.

Especially in high income or high net worth divorce cases, your family law attorney must help you value the property correctly. The division of assets can impact other complicated aspects of the case such as temporary or permanent alimony (often called maintenance and spousal support).


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Alternative Ways to Resolve a Divorce Case in Washington State

In some cases, people in a divorce or family law case might seek out alternative ways to resolve their case short of a trial in front of a judge. Those alternative methods of resolving a family law case can include ADR, mediation or arbitration.

Some family law cases are resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) before trial. The court will require ADR in all divorces and cases that involve residential time with children unless the court waives the ADR requirement. By using alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR), parties can resolve a civil dispute without the time or expense of trial.

In some cases, the parties will use mediation with a neutral third person that helps each side agree to some or all of the issues in the case. This type of alternative dispute resolution is common in family courts, small claims courts, and some criminal court programs. Mediation is generally considered more inexpensive than formal litigation.

In other cases, the parties can agree to enter arbitration so that a neutral third person can decide the outcome of the divorce case outside of court. In arbitration, a dispute is submitted by both individuals to one or more arbitrators who make a binding or non-binding decision on the dispute. This process allows for a private dispute resolution procedure instead of going to court.


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Additional Resources for Divorce

Divorce (Dissolution) Forms for Washington Courts - Visit the website of the Washington Courts to find free court forms that can be downloaded and are related to ending a marriage including forms for divorce or dissolution, legal separation, converting a legal separation to a divorce, invalid marriage, and temporary alimony. Find general information and instructions for ending your marriage.

Brochure on Dissolution in Washington - Visit the website of the Washington State Bar Association on what you should know about dissolution. Find information on the division of property, the division of bills and debts, and tax consequences that occur with divorce.

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – Visit the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) website to view valuable resources on divorce. Click the link to view FAQS parents ask about divorce, a guide for joint custody and more.

American Bar Association – Visit the American Bar Association (ABA) page to learn about dispute resolution. Click the link to learn what are the different types of dispute resolution processes. The ABA’s mission is to increase public understanding of and respect for the rule of law, the legal process, and the role of the legal profession at home and throughout the world.


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King County Matrimonial Attorneys

If you are considering a divorce, it's best to seek quality legal representation. Our Seattle Divorce attorneys represent our clients at every stage of the case including a Settlement Conference, Mediation or other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes, Pretrial Conference, and trial or final hearing. When an agreement cannot be reached, your family law attorney can be your voice in the courtroom during a temporary hearing or at the final hearing.

We have years of experience helping families get through a divorce, child custody dispute, or the distribution of assets acquired during the marriage. We are passionate about helping our clients through this process successfully. We bring our dedication and passion to each case. We help men and women through a divorce when their assets are at risk and their children need to transition to a new normal.

Our Seattle matrimonial attorneys understand both the financial and emotional burden associated with a divorce case. We have seen virtually every type of divorce and family law case in King County, WA. Our goal is to help you obtain the best outcome possible in your case. Experience matters. 

Our offices are conveniently located in Seattle. Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson also serves clients living in Ballard, Greenlake, Phinney Ridge, Northgate, Shoreline, Bothell, Lake City Way, North Bend, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, and Vashon Island. Call (206) 712-2756 today to schedule an initial consultation free of charge.


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