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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.

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.