How to Obtain a Divorce in Bellevue, WA

July 31, 2020

Recognizing that you need a divorce is the first important step in obtaining a divorce, but you may not have any idea about how to move forward from here. Although every divorce is as unique as the family members and the circumstances involved, there are some basic next steps that apply across the board. If you’re facing a divorce, it’s time to consult with an experienced Bellevue divorce attorney.

Step One: Consult with a Dedicated Bellevue Divorce Attorney

After you’ve made the decision to obtain a divorce, your next step should be consulting with an experienced divorce attorney. The fact is that the terms of your divorce will significantly affect you and your children’s future. Focusing on the important elements involved from the outset is the best way to help ensure that you obtain terms that protect your financial and parental rights. The elements of every divorce include (as applicable):

  • Child custody arrangements (called conservatorship in WA)
  • The division of community property (that property that you acquired together as a married couple)
  • Child support
  • Spousal maintenance (also known as alimony)

The outcome of any one of these can profoundly affect your post-divorce future, and each should receive the legal attention it deserves.

Step Two: Filing for Divorce

After retaining a divorce attorney with whom you are comfortable working, you’ll proceed with filing your Original Petition for divorce. This is a document that asks the court to grant you a divorce, which can either be a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. While the vast majority of divorces are not based on the fault of either spouse, there are instances when pursuing a fault-based divorce is the most appropriate path forward. A copy of your petition must then be served upon your spouse, which can be accomplished through a waiver (your spouse waives the need for service), through a sheriff’s magistrate, through a process server, or via publication if you don’t know your spouse’s whereabouts. Your spouse is then granted a specific amount of time to respond.

Step Three: Hammering out the Details

The next step in the divorce process is negotiating the terms for all four elements that apply. Toward this end, you have several options available to you, including:

  • You and your divorcing spouse can negotiate between yourselves (with your respective divorce attorney’s guidance). If you are fairly close on all the terms, this may be all the intervention you need to complete this important task.
  • Your respective divorce attorneys can negotiate with one another on your behalf in an attempt to find mutually acceptable compromises.
  • You can proceed to mediation – where a professional mediator who, as a neutral third-party, will help you explore alternatives that you may not have even taken into consideration and help you find any middle ground between the two of you.

If you are able to come to a consensus regarding all of the terms that need to be resolved – regardless of how you get there – yours will be an uncontested divorce. This means that the court will almost certainly sign off on your terms and will not need to intervene on your behalf. If any one of the primary elements that needs to be resolved remains unresolved after you’ve exhausted your negotiation options, you’ll need to turn to the court to do so on your behalf.

Step Four: Taking Your Case to Court

The more elements of your divorce that you are able to resolve between yourselves, the fewer you’ll need to address at court. When you go to court, you cede decision-making power over important elements of your own life, which is obviously less than ideal. In certain situations, however, there is no other option. It’s important to recognize that, regarding issues related to your children, the court is always motivated by their best interests, and when it comes to the division of marital property, the court will attempt to affect a just and right – or fair – division (given the circumstances of your marriage and divorce).

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Bellevue Divorce Attorney

The formidable divorce attorneys at Citadel Family Law in Bellevue are committed to employing their impressive experience and skill to help you obtain divorce terms that are in sync with your needs. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 206-790-6430 today.

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