The majority of my practice is family law, including divorce, legal separation, custody and child support. I also handle parentage cases and third party custody actions. Approximately half of my cases involve military or former military members, or PSNS employees.
Depending on the level of support you need, I can assist you in putting together your own documents (unbundled legal services) or you may choose to hire me to fully represent you. One attorney cannot represent both parties to a family law matter, but I have frequently drafted documents in a non-contested divorce for one of the parties where the other party is satisfied that the agreement is fully set out; documents are signed and entered without a lengthy process. Of course each party is entitled to be represented, and in contentious cases, or situations where there has been domestic violence, representation is important.
Washington is a “no-fault” state, which means one doesn’t have to articulate a reason for getting divorced other than that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Ninety days must elapse from the later of filing or serving the action, before a judge will sign agreed orders. Of course the process may be much longer than that, depending on the situation. After the process is started, some people need ground rules in place to maintain the status quo, to ensure each respects the other’s boundaries and to put temporary child support and/or maintenance (alimony) in place. To do this, either party makes a Motion for Temporary Orders and the Commissioner will rule on temporary issues until the final resolution is put in place.
There is a mandatory Parenting Class for parties with minor children, which is required to be completed before final orders will be signed. That information can be found at parenting class.
For clients who think they want to start themselves, or at least take a closer look at the process (including the mandatory forms), this site http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org is very helpful.