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    January 18, 2024
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    Steven A. Hemmat

Things to Contemplate Before Divorce in Washington State

As you prepare for a divorce in Washington State, take some time to think through critical aspects like property division, child custody, and more. Enlisting the support of a trusted and caring Seattle divorce lawyer can help you navigate the divorce process with greater clarity and confidence.

Not every marriage is built to last forever. Some couples simply drift apart over time, while others may grapple with an infidelity or loss that erodes trust. Whether you and your spouse have only been married for a few months or your marriage has lasted for several decades, you may find yourself exploring your divorce options because this partnership is no longer serving you. Although the prospect of navigating the divorce process in Washington State may seem intimidating and daunting at first, it’s essential to recognize that you do not have to go through each step completely alone. Enlisting the guidance of a seasoned and compassionate Seattle divorce attorney is the best way to ensure that you are making well-informed decisions that lay a solid foundation for your life’s next chapter. It’s natural to have several questions about what to expect from the divorce process, so working with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer can provide you with the customized legal support you need during this challenging time. Before you start down the road to legally dissolving your marriage, it helps to take some time to contemplate and think through several aspects of your separation. Most people find that preparing to face some of these monumental questions and decisions empowers them to move through each step of the divorce process with greater certainty and confidence. Let’s take a look at some of these important considerations to explore before you start moving forward with the divorce process. Familiarizing yourself with these key aspects will give you more control over your decisions and reassure you that a brighter future awaits you on the other side.

Determining Whether Divorce is Your Best Option

It’s completely natural for spouses to disagree from time to time. Minor disagreements can escalate into larger arguments, but many couples are able to work through these differences and move forward. However, if you and your spouse have drifted too far apart, you may start thinking about walking away. Sometimes, attending marriage counseling sessions can provide you and your spouse with the tools and language you need to work through difficult conversations and improve your communication skills. Working with an experienced relationship therapist can even help some couples work through painful incidents like infidelity or pregnancy loss. Other times, the spouses may decide to take some time to focus on themselves before they return to the relationship with a renewed sense of commitment and dedication. While these options may help some marriages continue to grow and evolve, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to saving a marriage from coming to an inevitable end.

 In many cases, you just have an intuitive understanding that divorce is the best option for helping you move forward and live the life you always wanted to live. It’s also essential to recognize that divorce is often the best tool for helping someone escape a marriage that involves domestic abuse, physical violence, emotional manipulation, or other forms of coercive control. If you are living in fear of an abusive spouse, reach out to an empathetic and understanding Seattle divorce attorney right away to explore your options for putting protection orders in place to keep you safe as you leave your marriage. 

Exploring Different Paths to Obtain a Divorce

When people picture the divorce process, many see a contentious courtroom battle in which the judge determines every aspect of the separation. While litigation may be necessary for some couples to obtain a divorce, this lengthy, stressful, and costly option is often a last resort reserved for particularly complex and emotionally charged divorces. It’s essential to recognize that there are several ways to obtain a divorce in Washington State, and many couples are able to complete the process without appearing in court. When the spouses are willing to remain amicable and collaborative during the process, they may navigate the divorce process on their own and file their divorce agreement with the court for approval in order to make it final. However, many separating couples find that they need a bit of help to negotiate the terms of their divorce agreement in an open and productive manner. Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), allows the parties to work together to determine the terms of their agreement with the guidance and support of a neutral third party called the mediator. The mediator will encourage both parties to voice their points of view and invite them to collaborate on a mutually agreeable solution. Most couples that participate in mediation report feeling satisfied with and even empowered by the process, as it allows the parties to play a direct role in shaping the outcome (in contrast to litigation, where the judge has the final say). Once the parties reach an agreement, they will present it to the court for the judge’s approval. Ultimately, it’s helpful to understand that there are many pathways to obtaining a divorce, so take some time to explore your options and identify the one that best supports your needs and goals. 

Picture Your Post-Divorce Future

As your marriage ends, it’s natural to remain swept up in feelings of loss and grief. However, it’s equally important to give yourself the time and space you need to identify your goals for your life’s next chapter. Transitioning to your post-divorce life can be a monumental shift from what you have been used to during the course of your marriage. Suddenly, you may find yourself with less financial support and childcare challenges. Carve out some time to set goals for your newly independent future. What does it look like? Where will you live? How will you support yourself? Once you have identified your goals and concerns, you can start making an action plan for setting yourself up for success. Most importantly, you do not have to take on this task all by yourself—enlist the help of a seasoned and compassionate Seattle divorce lawyer to guide you through these steps. Your attorney can use this list of goals as a tool to negotiate a fair and favorable divorce agreement that allows you to move forward and into the future you envision.

Examine Your Finances

One of the most complicated and time-consuming aspects of the divorce process is working through the division of assets, debts, and other financial considerations. Marriages that have lasted several years are usually more difficult to unravel than those that have endured for under a year, simply because longer marriages have made it easier for the commingling of finances and assets. Before you can start negotiating the terms of your divorce, you will want to have an idea of the monthly income you will need to support your post-divorce lifestyle. Consider working with a financial planner to help you assess your financial situation and articulate your goals. Enlisting the guidance of a financial planning professional is a great way to keep you and your spouse focused on untangling your lives from one another and setting you both up for success once the divorce has been finalized. For instance, the financial advisor may determine that a spousal maintenance agreement is necessary to ensure that your soon-to-be ex-spouse continues to support you as you look for a job with a steady income. Once you have a clear understanding of your financial situation, you can work with your divorce attorney to determine the most strategic path forward.

Organization is Everything

Many people are surprised by how much paperwork is involved in the divorce process. In addition to the required legal documents you will need to complete and file, you will need to compile a list of your marital and separate property. Bank statements, stock portfolios, credit card statements, and numerous other documents will be used to determine the specific details of your divorce agreement. The sooner you can start locating and organizing this paperwork, the better prepared you will be to move through each step of the process as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Since every marriage is different, every divorce will vary from couple to couple. Consider working with a knowledgeable and empathetic Seattle divorce attorney for clear and effective guidance that is customized to address your unique needs.

Creating a Strong Support System

Divorce is far more than a legal process—it’s the end of a relationship, with all of the accompanying emotions and challenges. As overwhelmed as you may feel right now, you do not have to go through these trying times alone. Start reaching out to loved ones you can turn to for the emotional support you need to move forward. You may want to consider working with a therapist who can help you with the transition from married life to your independent future. Additionally, take some time to find a divorce attorney who truly supports you and who seems genuinely invested in helping you lay the foundation for a brighter future. 

Making the decision to end your marriage is rarely simple or straightforward. There are so many aspects to consider, ranging from financial decisions to child custody agreements and everything in between. If you are ready to explore your divorce options in the Seattle area, reach out to the Hemmat Law Group today at (206) 682-5200 to discuss your goals with a dedicated and caring attorney.

We Help Good People in Bad Situations

The Hemmat Law Group (HLG) was founded in 1994 by Steven Amir Hemmat, a former DOJ Trial Attorney. We specialize in family law, supporting victims of the legal system.

Divorce and Separation

Hemmat Law Group help good people in bad situations.

Our divorce lawyers provide expert legal advice for all aspects of divorce, including child custody, support and property division. Contact us today.

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Article by Steven A. Hemmat
Founder, CEO