Tacoma Divorce Attorney

The decision to separate from a spouse can encompass a wide range of emotions, from hurt, to anger, to sorrow (and eventually, release); a divorce can bring about some of the most emotionally-taxing times of one’s life. Divorce can also cause hardship outside of emotional impact, in that the separation of a married couple involves separating financial assets, and can cause conflict in decisions regarding homes, children, finances, and more.

Divorce Lawyer in Tacoma Washington

Washington Divorce Laws

While Washington divorce laws provide guidelines and regulations about this difficult decision-making process, it is essential that you have an advocate representing your best interests during your divorce process. Here at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, we are well-equipped to handle any legal matter regarding a divorce, including those involving litigation. Perhaps more importantly, our attorneys stand ready to help you fight for your claims to property, assets, and custody.

Washington law provides various options to those seeking a separation of their marriage. In Washington, a divorce is referred to as a “dissolution of marriage.” Our state is also a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that there is no requirement to prove that the other party in the marriage is to blame or caused the failure of the marriage. Additionally, only one spouse must desire a divorce in order for one to be granted according to Washington law. The spouse who seeks the divorce must declare the marriage “irretrievably broken,” indicating that there is no hope for any kind of reconciliation and that the marriage should be terminated.

A key strategic question for divorce attorneys are where to start the action. In Washington, where the person lives will largely control what county the action may commence: If either spouse currently lives in the state, the divorce may be filed in the county in which they reside. If both spouses live in Washington, the divorce can be filed in either county in which the two parties live, if it is not the same for both.

As is the case with many types of legal actions, the process is purposely deliberate. After filing, Washington state law requires a waiting period of ninety (90) days before finalization of the divorce can occur. If there are complications or disputes about the divorce and division of assets, custody, or other disputes, this time period may be extended to provide sufficient time to resolved those issues.

In some cases, the divorce is complicated or hostile enough that the divorce must be brought before a judge. (When parties fight in court, this is typically called “litigation.”) Litigation can be a time-consuming and frustrating process for many; a large part of this is due to the unpredictability inherent with having a legal opposition. In those instances, having an experienced attorney representing you can make a significant difference on not only the ultimate outcome of your divorce, but the amount of stress and personal strain on throughout the dissolution process.

At Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, our attorneys are well-equipped to handle your case in a timely, efficient, and aggressive manner, such that your divorce is accomplished as smoothly as possible.

How a Tacoma Divorce Attorney Can Help

While litigation may be necessary for some cases, particularly when assets are complex or when the separation is especially hostile, mediation can be another a great option for those whose case is more easily resolved, and it helps save on the expense of taking the issue of separation to court. Mediation involves a neutral third party, a mediator, who assists in settling the issues of dividing assets, spousal maintenance, custody, and more, without going to court. It often ends in both sides signing an agreement to act in accordance with the terms negotiated and set forth in the mediation process.

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, often also plays a large role in divorce proceedings and outcomes. Alimony is paid from one former spouse to the other, based on needs and the ability to pay off each party. Maintenance can be in the form of one lump sum payment, often to compensate for property or other assets given to the other former spouse, or can be continuous, such as in the case of a mother who stayed home to raise children rather than gaining employment skills. Alimony can also be influenced by disability, reimbursement for large costs that largely impacted only one spouse (for example, the cost of a college education for one spouse which was largely paid for by the other), and many more factors. Having an attorney who is knowledgeable about these factors can help ensure that you are awarded the maximum amount of funds that you deserve, or that you avoid paying money out where it is undeserved. Alimony is typically either decided by a judge or negotiated in mediation.

Overall, divorce can be a stressful and difficult process for all involved; however, having an attorney who is knowledgeable and invested in serving you can make all the difference. No matter the complexity of your individual situation, the attorneys at the Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess law firm are able to aggressively fight for your interests and resolve your case in the most advantageous way possible.

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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile
    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.

    attorney profile


    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.