Seattle Family Law Attorney

We’ve designed our website to provide useful information for people facing family law challenges. Please click on the links below and learn more about your legal options.

The attorneys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess have over 100 years combined legal experience, together with a knowledgeable staff of family law attorneys and legal assistants. Over the past two and a half decades, we’ve helped many Washingtonians find solutions to their family’s legal issues. Please call for a consultation to discuss your options: (206) 621-1110 or (253) 572-1000.

What Kind of Family Law Issues Can We Help You With?

Divorce Basics

Seattle divorce attorneys perform similar functions to attorneys in other categories of law. The primary difference they face, however, is the inherently personal nature of the legal subject matter they are working with. Similar to attorneys who work within the criminal law realm, family law attorneys in Seattle rely heavily on the statutory mandates to guide them in representing their clients. While certainly all types of law have important implication for the clients affected by their dictates, the nature of family law is different.

A family law attorney in Seattle must not only understand the legal realities impacting his or her clients, but also be sensitive to the underlying personal realities at stake between the parties who are dissolving their marriage. This is especially true considering that many marriages involve children, not to mention the mingling of assets (and liabilities) between the spouses. Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess’s Seattle family law practice is specifically designed to assist clients in both advocating for the legal rights of its clients, but also in helping them with making difficult decisions which are naturally impacted by the personally-connected elements of family law.

Divorce Process Overview

The law in Washington refers to divorce as a “dissolution” of marriage. Like other legal proceedings, a dissolution (divorce) follows a specific set of procedural steps. The purpose of these procedures is to assure that the legal process is applied consistently, and fairly, as between the divorcing spouses. Seattle family law attorneys must not only understand the core subject matter of their chosen category of law, but also be capable of facilitating the dissolution process within the required procedures outlined by law.

The following is a concise summary of the main steps of a dissolution:

Summons and Petition for Dissolution: To initiate a dissolution, a divorce lawyer must prepare a summons and petition for dissolution. A summons essentially serves as a formal notice to the responding party which outlines how to respond to the accompanying petition. This document is primarily procedural in its emphasis. A petition for dissolution, however, contains the core subject matter of the dissolution. It is within the petition that the details and conditions of the divorce are detailed. While the documents (summons and petition) are different documents, created for serving different purposes, they are one side of each coin needed to start the divorce process. It is imperative, that when looking to hire a divorce lawyer in Seattle, a prospective client is comfortable with both the process and subject matter of the dissolution.

Note: family law matters title their participants differently than in civil, and of course criminal, matters. Within a civil case, the complaint titles the petitioning party as the “plaintiff” and responding party as the “defendant.” For divorce attorneys, the designation of the spouse initiating the divorce is referred to as the “petitioner” while the other spouse is called the “respondent.”

Filing with the Superior Court and Service upon Respondent:

Family law attorneys in Seattle (and the rest of the state, of course) know that the actual dissolution will only begin when the petition has been filed with the proper court, and service of process has been effectuated on the responding party. The summons and petition must be properly served following the methods and procedures prescribed within statute. While there are alternative methods of service, a Seattle family law attorney knows that personal service upon the responding spouse is the most effective method. This is typically done through a process server, who is essentially a professional that delivers summons and complaints (petitions, in his case) professionally.

Additional Forms:

Unlike civil matters, additional forms are required by statute in order for the dissolution to proceed. Specifically, the divorce attorney must provide both a Vital Statistics Form, as well as Confidentiality Information Form.

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When Washington Family Law Affects You, Turn to Knowledgeable, Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Seattle.

Family law problems are complicated and often difficult matter. From alimony disputes, to dividing marital assets, to the details of child support, and child visitation plans, and more, you need a competent family law attorney in Seattle or Tacoma who can help. An experienced attorney will assist you in understanding the law, the various aspects of your situation, and will have your best interest in mind in preparing your documents or fighting your case in a court of law. If Washington family law has you in need of legal counsel, give us a call now for a phone consultation at 206-621-1110. Our legal team is eagerly waiting to assist you. While there are many people who think they can go it alone in preparing legal documents or battling in court, this is not always a wise decision. Not all do-it-yourself documents turn out to be valid, and an experienced real estate attorney in Seattle will have the knowledge to ensure you get a fair deal or favorable outcome in court.

Client Testimonial

”After speaking with Rob for a short period of time, an immense amount of stress and confusion was lifted from me and my wife while navigating an unfortunate boundary line dispute. We had no idea how to deal with the issue, but Rob was super friendly and walked us through all aspects of boundary line disputes. He taught us about typical disputes, how they tend to go, all the legal rules, and how much legal guidance and work tends to cost. But above and beyond that, Rob took an active interest in OUR particular case and took time to understand it in depth. He’s such a wonderful guy to work with, and while we never wish for additional legal troubles in the future, we’re much less worried about it knowing that Rob would be on our side.” – Robert Warren (Google Review)

Attorney Robert Dickson

Attorney Robert DicksonThe core of Rob’s legal practice is civil litigation, with an emphasis on construction, real estate, and business law. He represents a wide range of clients, from large construction companies to individual homeowners. His is a practical approach to law, which strives to balance the need for a successful legal outcome with a client’s financial goals (or constraints). Outside of his private practice, Rob serves as an adjunct professor at the Seattle University School of Law where he teaches real estate litigation. [ Attorney Bio ]

    our firm

    Attorney Thomas L. Dickson

    Thomas L. Dickson

    Tom is an experienced litigator and the founding partner of the firm. For over 30 years, he’s helped clients prevail in their real estate, construction, and business law matters.

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    Attorney Heather Burgess

    Heather Burgess

    Heather represents property owners and developers in all phases of real estate development, from pre-acquisition due diligence through local permitting and appeals.

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    Attorney Robert P. Dickson

    Robert P. Dickson

    The core of Rob’s legal practice is civil litigation, with an emphasis on construction, real estate, and business law. He represents a wide range of clients, from large construction companies to individual homeowners.

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    Attorney Daniel J. Frohlich

    Daniel J. Frohlich

    Dan’s legal practice focuses on civil litigation, real estate law, business law and probate law. He has more than 10 years of experience as an attorney serving clients throughout Western Washington.

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    Attorney Mark S. Johnson

    Mark S. Johnson

    Mark’s legal practice focuses on civil litigation, real estate law, business law and family law. He works tirelessly to help his clients achieve the outcome they are looking for.

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    Attorney Trevor A. Zandell

    Trevor A. Zandell

    Since graduating with honors from law school in 2005, Trevor has been serving the legal needs of businesses, individuals, and families across Southwest Washington.

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    Attorney Daniel E. Pizarro

    Daniel E. Pizarro

    As an associate at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, Daniel is active in the firm’s civil litigation department. His practice is mainly centered around real estate law, landlord-tenant law, construction law, and probate law.

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    Attorney Alexander J. Wisbey

    Alexander J. Wisbey

    Alexander Wisbey comes to the firm with 5 years of experience as a litigator and trial attorney. He has first chaired several jury trials and has extensive experience handling arbitrations, mediations, depositions, and settlements.

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    Attorney Andrew Hata

    Andrew Hata

    Andrew is the head of our Transactional Department and focuses his practice on corporate governance, real estate transactions, commercial contracts, and corporate finance.

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    Attorney Cambria A. Queen

    Cambria A. Queen

    Cambria is an Associate with Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess in the civil litigation department, where she practices primarily real estate and probate law.

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    Attorney George Knight

    George Knight

    As an associate at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, George is active in the firm’s civil litigation and transactional departments. His practice is mainly centered around business law, real estate law, construction law, employment law, and probate law.

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    Attorney Chris Pierce-Wright

    Chris Pierce-Wright

    Chris comes to Phillips Burgess Tacoma from Seattle, where he served as an associate attorney focused on insurance litigation with Wilson Smith Cochran Dickerson.

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    Attorney Jennifer Yoo

    Jennifer Yoo

    Jennifer is an associate attorney at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess where her current practice focuses on real estate law, contract and commercial disputes, and business law.

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    Attorney Kenneth Chan

    Kenneth Chan

    As an associate at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, PLLC, Kenny is active in the firm’s civil litigation and transactional departments. Prior to working at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, Kenny was an in-house attorney for a Fortune 100 company.

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    Attorney Brian Buske

    Brian Buske

    Following his graduation from Lewis & Clark Law School, Brian garnered valuable client experience working on international compliance and intellectual property issues.

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    Attorney Matt Wand

    Matt Wand

    Matt was born and raised in East Multnomah County in the Gresham area where he lives and has raised his family. His wife of more than twenty-five years is Anne Wand and they have three children together.

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    I highly recommend Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess and if I ever need a lawyer again they will be my first call.

    - Jeremy H.

    I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate this firm! These guys helped me through one of the most challenging legal situations I’ve faced in my life. Their skill and expertise literally saved my business. I’ve dealt with other counsel in the past but the Dickson firm was by far the most competent and tactful counsel I’ve ever received. I would recommend this group to anyone!

    - Keith D.

    It’s a pleasure to work with the guys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess. One of the first things that stood out to me was how down to earth and friendly everyone at the firm is. I would definitely recommend them.

    - Den L.