Our attorneys help clients navigate the divorce process in King County Superior Court. We understand that filing for a divorce can be a challenging and frustrating process.

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.

Attorneys for Divorce in Seattle, WA

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 appeared to represent clients in family law cases in that court. We know the Commissioners and Judges and they know us. We are known for our strong and dedicated advocacy for our clients.

When you hire a matrimonial law firm 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. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your case today. Call Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson.

Information Center on Divorce Cases

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Types of Divorce Cases in King County, WA

Our attorneys 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.

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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.

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Temporary Hearings in Divorce Cases

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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The Division of Property in a Divorce Case

In a divorce case, the parties must agree on a way to divide their property and debts. 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.

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. In other cases, the parties agree to enter arbitration so that a neutral third person can decide the outcome of the divorce case outside of court.

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Jurisdictional Issues in a Washington Divorce Case

Certain jurisdictional requirements must be met for a court in King County to decide family law matters for divorce. First, a sufficient nexus must exist between the marriage and the state of Washington.

Jurisdiction also provides full faith and credit to the final decree, which enables it to be enforced in other states. If a person has their domicile or residency in the state of Washington, that nexus is met. To meet this requirement only one spouse must be a resident. 

For military families going through a divorce, special rules in RCW 26.09.030 can be used to establish domicile for purposes of the divorce or other family law matters.

Additional Resources

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.

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Trustworthy Divorce Attorney in King County, WA

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. Our goal is to help you get the best outcome possible in your case. Experience matters. Our attorneys have seen virtually every type of divorce and family law case in King County, WA.

Our offices are conveniently located in Seattle. We serve clients living in Ballard, Greenlake, Phinney Ridge, Northgate, Shoreline, Bothell, Lake City Way, North Bend, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, and Vashon Island. We also represent clients in family law cases in the city of Kent, WA, and the surrounding areas in the heart of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area and in Everett in Snohomish County.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, March 16, 2021.