Des Moines Divorce Lawyer
We are an experienced team of family law attorneys who understand the special challenges faced in divorce – and we have a local office located right here in Des Moines, Washington.
Experienced Des Moines divorce attorneys
A team that gets the legal results that men want and need
Our Des Moines divorce lawyers know that men in Washington are not always given equal consideration for custody and can often end up paying excessive child and spousal support. They have also been ordered to pay more than their fair share of the debts while being awarded less than their fair share of the property.
At Divorce Lawyers for Men, we fight for men’s rights during and after divorce, in creating parenting plans in a divorce or paternity action, and when support is at issue. As a full-service family law firm, we provide service for all relevant divorce and family law practice areas.
Local Communities our Des Moines Divorce Lawyers Serve
The divorce attorneys in Washington state at our Des Moines office have protected men’s rights in Lakeland, Dash Point, Burien, Auburn, Fife Heights, Edgewood, Pacific, Algona, Kitts Corner, Lakota, Mirror Lake, Normandy Park, SeaTac, Buenna, Adelaide, and other surrounding areas in south King County, northern Pierce County, and Kitsap County — we are ready to do the same for you.
Cost of divorce
No two divorces are the same, and it is impossible to estimate exactly how much a divorce may cost. However, our attorneys can work with you to find the most cost-effective solution for your legal needs, whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce.
Contested or uncontested divorce is the greatest factor affecting costs
The single greatest factor affecting the potential cost of your case is whether or not you and your spouse have agreed to the terms of your divorce.
If you both agree on all issues, your divorce can be done as uncontested, which can reduce the total cost of your divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the incurred costs are often only for the attorney’s time to negotiate, draft, and review the agreement, and the costs of filing the paperwork with the court.
Contested divorces, on the other hand, can involve a much greater outlay of time and money. Your attorney fees will increase as a result of the need to:
- Submit or respond to legal arguments
- Obtain records or evidence
- Participate in negotiations or court hearings
- Obtain expert witnesses
- Obtain appraisal services to accurately value marital property or assess parenting abilities
All of these activities can add additional costs that might not be necessary for an uncontested divorce.
Pursuing an uncontested divorce is one of the ways we aim to keep costs low for our clients, however, it is not always possible. Still, many once-heated cases can be resolved through mediation or a collaborative process, and our experienced attorneys can help you decide if one of these methods may be right for you.
If a contested divorce is still necessary, we will find the best strategy to get the results you want and the financial relief you need.
Who pays costs and attorney fees for Des Moines Divorce Lawyers?
In most divorce cases, each party pays for their own attorney’s fees, filing fees, and other expenses. However, Washington state law does provide for the possibility of one spouse being ordered to pay some or all of the other spouse’s fees and expenses.
This most commonly occurs when one spouse has significantly more income or assets than the other. A spouse may also be ordered to pay the other’s fees if the court believes they acted in bad faith. Anything from hiding assets to not complying with court orders can fall under this category of behavior.
While women who stayed home and did not work are more likely to be awarded fees, men may also be eligible as gender should not be a factor considered by the court. Seeking fees from your spouse is not something you will have to do alone — our attorneys can evaluate the facts of your case and advise you on how to proceed.
For example, seeking fees from your spouse in order to hire an attorney might be an option available to you. We can help explore that possibility during your consultation.
Legal separation vs. divorce
Some couples may be interested in legal separation as an alternative to divorce. This typically involves a court order that lays out the couple’s responsibilities while they live apart from one another, such as who will pay which bills, awarding certain property to either spouse, and how parenting time will be divided.
In some cases, couples use legal separation as a way to test out the waters of living apart without fully committing to divorce. Others may choose this option to continue receiving health insurance benefits from their spouse’s plan.
A divorce attorney in Washington state can help you determine the path that is best for your current situation and for your future.
Differences between legal separation and divorce
Unlike divorce, legal separations do not terminate the marriage. This means that neither party is free to remarry while they are legally separated.
The type of documents or orders issued in a legal separation differs slightly from those for a divorce. A Decree of Dissolution is used to legally terminate a marriage, while a Decree of Legal Separation outlines the couple’s rights and duties without ending the marriage.
Similarities in legal separation and divorce
The division of property or assets, debt, child custody, child support, and spousal support is handled in the same way for both legal separation and divorce. The parties are expected to agree on how assets and debts will be divided, how their parental responsibilities will be divided, and what support (if any) should be paid to either party. If they cannot agree, the court can step in and make those decisions. Either way, the outcome is legally binding and both parties must comply with it.
Right to conversion
Washington state law provides couples who are legally separated with the option of converting their legal separation into a divorce. This may be done at least six months after a Decree of Legal Separation is signed.
Only one party needs to request the conversion, and the other cannot refuse that request. The same terms that were established in the legal separation agreement will be transferred into the divorce decree. This means that in most cases the couple will not need to renegotiate any of the issues agreed upon during their legal separation.
Divorce Process in Des Moines
Divorce in Washington begins with the petitioner filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court in their county of residence. The petition must outline the issues the petitioner would like addressed in the divorce such as spousal support, asset division, and child custody. The other spouse, the respondent, must then be served with the petition and other documents.
The respondent has an opportunity to respond to the petition. If the divorce is uncontested, the respondent does not need to respond, but instead can simply sign a document that they agree with the petitioner’s terms. The court will then review the paperwork, and if everything is in order, it will issue a Decree of Dissolution to officially end the marriage.
If the respondent does not agree to the petitioner’s terms, they will need to file a response outlining their objections. The court will set a trial date several months in the future. In the meantime, the spouses will have the opportunity to negotiate a settlement agreement or work through the discovery process to gather the documents and information they need for trial.
If they are unable to reach an agreement before trial, they will present their issues to a judge who will listen to all evidence and testimony and will then make a decision on the disputed matters before issuing the Decree of Dissolution.
From start to finish, here is how long your divorce could take in Des Moines
The timeline for a divorce depends on whether it is contested or uncontested. Washington state has a 90-day waiting period for all divorces, which means the earliest a Decree of Dissolution could be issued is three months after the petition was filed and served. This also means that if the parties are in agreement, the entire process could take as little as three months.
If the divorce is contested, it could take six months or more to reach an agreement or go to court and obtain a Decree of Dissolution. Court backlogs mean trial dates can be set further out, which means the divorce can take longer. If the couple reaches an agreement before their trial date, they can submit their settlement paperwork to the court and get their divorce finalized much sooner. This outcome is more likely when represented by a divorce attorney in Washington state who is a skilled negotiator.
Upon the finalization of a divorce, both parties will receive copies of their final documents. The terms included in these documents will significantly influence both parties’ lives, so it is important to understand their contents and make sure the details are correct before you sign. Our experienced divorce attorneys can review your final documents with you and make sure they accurately reflect your wishes before you sign them.
If the couple has minor children, they must create a parenting plan that outlines how they will share legal and physical custody of them. These plans will address matters such as school schedules, vacation times, and decision-making duties. Ideally, both parents should agree on the terms of the parenting plan and make sure their children’s best interests are considered.
Decree of dissolution of marriage
The Decree of Dissolution is the official document that finalizes the divorce. It contains orders from the court regarding spousal support, asset division, and other matters. It also dissolves the marital relationship. Both parties are required to comply with their divorce decree or risk being held in contempt of court.
Why Do I Need a Des Moines Divorce Lawyer?
You may be tempted to handle your divorce without a lawyer, especially if you have an uncontested case. But even in uncontested divorces, it is vital to have a lawyer review your separation agreement and make sure all the details are in your best interest.
The terms of divorce will affect your life for many years to come, and you do not want to take any chances. Having an experienced Washington state divorce attorney on your side can help you get the best result possible.
Navigating the intricacies of court hearings, negotiations, and settlements requires a comprehensive knowledge of the law. One small mistake can prove disastrous, so it is best to leave delicate legal matters in the capable hands of an experienced professional who understands how best to protect your interests. By offering sound legal advice and aggressive advocacy for your rights, an experienced lawyer is your best asset in a Washington state divorce.
Why Choose Divorce Lawyers for Men in Des Moines?
Men deserve equal representation in their divorces, and that is precisely what Divorce Lawyers for Men provides. We are committed to helping men get their fair share, whether that means fighting for a larger portion of the assets or pursuing a more favorable custody arrangement. Biases against men in the court system mean they require a lawyer who is willing to go the extra mile to make sure their interests are adequately represented — that is exactly what we are prepared to do.
We are not just a law firm — we are a statewide network of dedicated legal professionals who fight for our client’s rights every day. Only attorneys with a track record of successfully representing men in Washington state divorces are invited to join our network.
If you are going through a divorce, the time to act is now. Schedule your consultation by calling (360) 866-7393 to get the legal help you need. We will explore your legal options and handle your case with the care and dedication it deserves.
Local Communities Our King County Office Serves:
We serve the following areas in and around Des Moines: Lakeland, Dash Point, Auburn, Fife Heights, Milton, Edgewood, Pacific, Algona, Kitts Corner, Lakota, Mirror Lake, Buenna, Adelaide, and surrounding areas in King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County, and Kitsap County.
Learn the Divorce Rules for Men
Avoid Costly Mistakes with our Divorce Rules for Men Video
Watch as expert divorce attorney and co-founder of DLFM Law, Frank Morris, teaches you the 11 Divorce Rules for Men that he developed over his 35+ years of representing men in Washington divorce cases. Download the Printable ‘Divorce Rules for Men‘ Checklist. Click the link below, enter your email address and we will send it straight to your inbox!