Why Hire a Divorce Attorney?

Family Law Attorney Serving Individuals in the Seattle Area

Whether you are considering filing for divorce or responding to papers filed by your spouse, dissolving a marriage can be stressful under any circumstances. Your life is about to change dramatically, and the papers you file in connection with the proceedings need to be filled out correctly and carefully. This can be difficult to ensure, particularly if you and your spouse disagree about important matters. To protect your interests during a divorce, you should consult Seattle divorce law lawyer Sara Kim at Blair & Kim. She can explore the details of your situation and craft a strategy that is tailored to your needs and goals.

The Importance of Legal Representation when Dissolving a Marriage

Attorneys may be crucial to divorce proceedings not only because they are knowledgeable about the laws surrounding matters such as property division, child support, and child custody but also because of their experience presenting issues to the court and negotiating in mediation. In general, working with your spouse to achieve a resolution short of litigation is less expensive than taking issues to trial.

To file for divorce in the state of Washington, you or your spouse must meet the residency requirements. One of you must be a resident of the state or be a member of the armed forces stationed in the state. In the state of Washington, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the only basis for divorce.

The court will not act upon a divorce petition until 90 days have elapsed after filing and service on the filing party's spouse. If the responding spouse does not file an answer denying that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or joins the petition, the court will enter a divorce decree. However, if the other party denies the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court will consider all relevant factors, including the prospect of reconciliation.

Washington is a community property state. This means that any assets or debts you and your spouse acquired during your marriage are owned equally by both of you. In Washington, community property is divided based on "equitable and just distribution," as set forth in section 26.09.080 of the Revised Code of Washington. This allows the court to divide the community property in a way it considers fair, unless you reach a different agreement with your spouse.

Although the court usually does divide community property equally, if it determines that an equal division would leave one spouse in a much worse position than the other, it has the flexibility to award an unequal share to the spouses so that the distribution is equitable. The court can consider many factors, including the length of the marriage, the nature of the community property, the nature of the couple's separate property, and the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division would become effective.

Some divorcing spouses can agree to the amount and length of alimony payments through negotiation. However, if one spouse wants alimony and the other will not agree, the court has the authority to determine the size and frequency of the payments. There is no formula for this determination. Instead, the court will consider factors such as the financial resources of the spouse who requests maintenance, the financial needs of the requesting spouse, the time it would take for the requesting spouse to get education or training that would allow for employment appropriate to his or her skills and lifestyle, the duration of the marriage, the marital standard of living, and the age and condition of the requesting spouse.

Consult an Experienced Seattle Lawyer during a Divorce Proceeding

Most couples who are dissolving a marriage prefer to retain a measure of control over how their property will be divided, who their children will live with, and how much alimony is paid. In many cases, however, emotions run too high for divorcing spouses to come to agreement on all the important issues on their own. An attorney can make a difference in whether you are able to reach a settlement. Experienced Seattle divorce attorney Sara Kim can provide you with knowledgeable legal representation. At Blair & Kim, we serve residents of communities throughout Kings County, including Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or use our online form to set up a free consultation.

Seattle Attorneys Blog - Divorce Attorney
Seattle Attorneys Blog - Preparing for Divorce