Trusted Divorce Attorneys in Vancouver, Washington
Filing for a Divorce in Washington
With over 50 Years of Combined Experience, we are known in the local community for being fierce advocates!
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Types of Divorce
Divorce without Children
Divorce is the ending of your marriage. Our attorneys can get you through the process. A divorce includes the division of your assets, debts, and potential spousal support (aka alimony or maintenance). Your divorce may be agreed or contested – we can help with either. Our attorneys are masters of strategizing, counseling, giving legal advice, negotiating, explaining difficult concepts, drafting legal documents, and litigating. We are here to assist you with whatever is thrown your way during your divorce – simple or complex.
Divorce with Children
Everything explained for Divorce without Children holds true in a divorce with children, except divorce with children adds more complexity. If you are divorcing with children, you will have to come up with a plan to co-parent and share time with the children. Our attorneys can help you craft a plan that is unique to your family’s needs while also being strategic in the short-term and long-term. We are here to help with anything from navigating court documents, calculations for a Child Support Order, to assisting in situations where you may want to limit the contact of the other parent, and everything in between – our divorce attorneys are here for you!
An agreed divorce occurs when both parties are amicable and agree on all terms of the divorce (i.e., you agree on how everything will be divided/shared). Our lawyers are collaborative, cooperative, and help amicable couples smoothly move through the divorce process with their agreement intact.
A mediated divorce is where the parties attend mediation in an effort to reach agreed terms outside of court. A mediator assists the parties with reaching a resolution on all aspects of the divorce. Once a final agreement is reached, an attorney will usually step in to draft the pleadings necessary to complete the divorce.
A contested divorce is when one or both parties do not agree with the divorce and/or has an issue with the divorce process or what is being requested. Contested divorces often end up in Court, which is called litigation. We are skilled in the courtroom and will be there to protect you in and out of Court.
A litigated divorce means that your divorce is contested and there is active litigation in Court. Litigation usually happens in the form of hearings, and can ultimately end in a trial. We can represent you in any form of litigation that happens in your family law matter.
How Can We Help?
Matters that our Divorce Attorneys Specialize in Vancouver, WA
Spousal Support (Alimony)
Spousal support (alimony) is the term for money that is paid to one spouse from the other spouse for financial support. This can either be temporary or permanent support, depending on the facts and circumstances. Spousal support (alimony) is not guaranteed in family law cases, as it is very case-specific and depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to length of marriage, financial position of both parties, age/health, lifestyle during the marriage, etc. Our attorneys can help you analyze whether alimony/spousal support applies to your situation, and if so, to what degree.
Child support is the financial responsibility of both parents to support their child. Child support is mandated by law, and it is where one parent pays financial support to the other parent for the care of the child unless an exception applies or a reduction is granted by the Court. The Court will consider the child’s needs and the parties’ incomes. Child support can also be assessed when non-parents have custody of children. Child support issues come up in a variety of different family law cases mentioned on this page, and our attorneys are skilled with these issues.
Child Support for College
Post-secondary support (aka child support for college) is additional financial support paid by parents for their child to go to college. If requested by the applicable deadline, the Court may order both parents and the child to contribute to college financial support. Post-secondary support extends beyond the Child Support Order for minor children. You want to make sure you are making a formal request for post-secondary support before the deadline – generally child support for a minor child will terminate when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, which ever occurs last, and the request for post-secondary support must be made before that time. A parent looking to make a request for post-secondary support should review the current Child Support Order for details, and Navigate attorneys can help to ensure this request is made properly.
Immediate Restraining Order
Contempt is when there is a failure to comply with a valid court order, even a temporary one, and the other party had the ability to do so. This is a legal cause of action that a party can bring if the other party is refusing to follow the court order regarding any aspect of the parties’ divorce, including but not limited to a Temporary Parenting Plan, Temporary Child Support Order, or Temporary Family Law Order. Potential severe penalties can apply to the party found in contempt, including court fines, attorney’s fees, loss of parenting time, and jail. Our attorneys are experienced advocates when dealing with order violations.
Why Choose Our Divorce Attorneys in Vancouver, Washington?
Our family law attorneys have over a combined 50 years worth of experience. Navigate Law Group is known in the local community for our volunteer work and for being fierce advocates. Our Vancouver divorce attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience inside and outside of the courtroom, we can help you navigate every step of the way.
We take pride in making sure everyone is on the same page, so you can make informed and educated decisions about your legal matters.
We have knowledgeable and skilled divorce attorneys in Vancouver who practice in all areas of family law. Whatever your needs are, we can help!
Our team has a client-centered approach to advocacy and we advocate zealously for the best outcome in our client’s family law matter.
We have reasonable fees, and work with our clients to provide the scope of legal help they actually need and want.
How To Start A Divorce in Washington?
Washington is forms based, meaning you need to use the forms helpfully provided by the state. You can find PDF and Word versions of the forms you need at www.courts.wa.gov/forms. The basic documents needed to start a divorce are:
- Petition for Divorce (Dissolution)
- Summons: Notice about a Marriage or Domestic Partnership
- Confidential Information Form
- Certificate of Dissolution, Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, or Legal Separation
If you have children, you will also need:
- Parenting Plan
- Washington State Child Support Schedule Worksheets
- Child Support Order
Each case is different, so it is best to speak with an attorney about what the next step is for your case. For more information, read this blog, “How to start a divorce in Washington state?“, written by attorney Chelsie Elliott.
Our Family Law Attorneys in Vancouver WA:
Relationships are complicated. Our experienced family law attorneys in our Vancouver office are here to help if you are experiencing issues in your personal relationships. From drafting a prenuptial agreement to filing for a divorce in Washington, we help you strategize, protect you and watch out for your best interests. Our family law attorneys focus their practice on these sensitive and dynamic issues to ensure you have the best representation and advice.
Divorce | Child Support | Alimony and Spousal Support | Cohabitation Agreement| Prenuptial Agreement | Committed Intimate Relationship | Minor Guardianship | Parenting Plan Modification | Adoptions | Surrogacy and MORE!
Amber M. Rushbanks (Rush)
Anna K. Russo
Chelsie M. Elliott
Tanya M. Green
Frequently Asked Questions
Filing for Divorce Is Stressful. Our Divorce Attorneys in Vancouver, WA, Are Here to Help!
How much does a divorce cost in Washington?
The filing fee for a divorce in Washington is $314.00, and if you pay a professional third party to assist with serving the other party there is usually a cost associated with that as well. However, if you hire an attorney, you will also be paying for the attorney’s retainer and fees.
Is Washington a “community property” state?
Yes, Washington is a “community property” state. This means that anything and everything acquired during (and sometimes before) the marriage is considered community and should be accounted for during the divorce process.
What is a no-fault divorce?
A “no-fault” divorce means that the Court does not care about the reason for the divorce. No one is “at fault,” and anyone can ask for a divorce, no matter what the reason.
How long do I have to live in Washington to get a divorce?
There is no set period of time you have to live in Washington before being able to file for a divorce. The issue becomes whether Washington has jurisdiction over your spouse or the children (if any). If your spouse never lived in Washington then Washington likely doesn’t have jurisdiction over them and it could be an issue when dividing property, among other things. If the children haven’t lived in Washington for at least the 6 months prior to filing, then another state likely has jurisdiction over them.
How do I know if an annulment is an option?
In Washington, there are specific factors that need to be met before a marriage can be annulled. The factors are set forth in RCW 26.09.040: “The marriage or domestic partnership should not have been contracted because of age of one or both of the parties, lack of required parental or court approval, a prior undissolved marriage of one or both of the parties, a prior domestic partnership of one or both parties that has not been terminated or dissolved, reasons of consanguinity, or because a party lacked capacity to consent to the marriage or domestic partnership, either because of mental incapacity or because of the influence of alcohol or other incapacitating substances, or because a party was induced to enter into the marriage or domestic partnership by force or duress, or by fraud involving the essentials of marriage or domestic partnership, and that the parties have not ratified their marriage or domestic partnership by voluntarily cohabiting after attaining the age of consent, or after attaining capacity to consent, or after cessation of the force or duress or discovery of the fraud, shall declare the marriage or domestic partnership invalid as of the date it was purportedly contracted.”
How do I serve divorce papers?
You must serve the opposing party with copies of all pleadings that you file. After you file the initial paperwork, you must have the opposing party personally served with it (especially the Summons and Petition). Most other pleadings can be served by mail or email (if agreed).
Can I personally serve divorce papers?
No, you as a party to the case cannot personally serve the other party with pleadings. However, you can either hire a process server to serve the other party, or have an uninterested third-party who is over the age of 18, like a family member or friend, serve the pleadings.
What can I do if my spouse doesn't respond?
If you file the initial paperwork, have your spouse properly served, and 20 days (60 days if service is done outside of the state and 90 days if service is done outside of the country) pass from the date they were served, you could be eligible to file a Motion for Default. This means that you will be requesting that the Court enter final orders based on what you initially filed without the other party participating.
How long is the divorce process after the papers have been served?
The minimum waiting period (usually for uncontested matters) is 90 days. This is the shortest amount of time a divorce can take in Washington. However, for contested matters, the time it takes to finalize a divorce can be much longer, sometimes up to three or four years.
What is an Acceptance of Service?
An Acceptance of Service is a court pleading that a party signs if they are willing to accept pleadings in a way other than what is required under the law. For example, if you file the initial paperwork and the other side agrees to accept the pleadings from you directly without going through a third party, the other party will need to fill out the Acceptance of Service stating when they accepted the pleadings and what pleadings they received, among other things. It is then signed, and filed at the courthouse.
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