Port Orchard Divorce Lawyer
We are an experienced team of family law attorneys who understand the special challenges men face in divorce – and we have a local office located right here in Port Orchard.
Port Orchard divorce attorney
Men often feel as though they have the cards stacked against them in divorce proceedings. Whether you anticipate a quick and amicable split or are facing a contested divorce, you need an ally to fight for your rights and protect your interests.
At Divorce Lawyers for Men, we are committed to helping men through their divorce by protecting their rights and finances. We have the experience, legal insight, and resources to help level the playing field for men in divorce proceedings. If you are facing a divorce, call (360) 866-7393 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
Divorce process in Washington State
No two divorce cases are the same, but all divorces in Washington State follow the same general process.
1. Determine jurisdiction
The first step in the divorce process is to determine which court has the jurisdiction to hear your case. In Washington State, this will typically be the county where either you or your spouse currently resides.
2. File and serve the petition
One spouse, the petitioner, must file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Petition must then be served on the other spouse, the respondent. There are multiple ways to do this, but a common option is to use an approved process server or through the Sheriff’s office.
3. File a response
When the respondent receives service of the petition, they usually have 20 days to file a response. This response can either agree with all the terms of the petition or argue against them.
4. Establish temporary orders
If necessary, the court may issue temporary orders during the early stages of the divorce. These orders dictate how certain matters, such as child custody and visitation, should be handled until a final divorce decree is issued.
5. Attend required parent education classes
If your divorce involves minor children, the state and county require that both parents attend parent education classes before the court can issue a divorce decree. This class teaches parents about the effects divorce has on children and provides information about how to help them cope with these changes.
While there is no requirement to take the class at any particular stage in your divorce, it is wise to enroll as early as possible.
6. Discovery phase
The discovery phase of the divorce process is a period of information exchange. During this time, both parties may be ordered to turn over documents and provide answers to questions under oath. This ensures that each party has access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their divorce during mediation or to proceed with trial.
7. Participate in mediation
While you wait for your trial date, the court may suggest that you and your spouse participate in mediation to try to reach an agreement on all or some issues. Although this is a voluntary step, it can help save time and expenses if an agreement is reached.
During mediation, the parties will meet with a neutral third-party mediator whose role is to help them come to a mutually beneficial agreement on key matters. If both parties agree on all issues through mediation, they may submit a settlement agreement to the court and avoid trial.
8. Move forward with trial
If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then they will proceed to trial. The trial is held in front of a judge and involves the presentation of evidence and testimony from each of the parties and their witnesses. Both parties’ attorneys will have the opportunity to present evidence and make arguments in support of their client’s positions.
9. Obtain your final orders
Once the judge has heard all sides and reviewed the evidence, they will decide on the contested matters in the divorce. These decisions will be incorporated into a divorce decree, which officially ends the marriage and concludes the divorce process.
Cost of divorce
The cost of divorce in Port Orchard varies greatly and depends on many factors, such as the complexity of the case and whether or not you have an attorney.
Contested or uncontested divorce is the greatest factor affecting costs
The most significant factor affecting the cost of a divorce is whether it is contested or uncontested. A contested divorce means that both parties disagree on one or more issues, and the court must intervene to make a final decision. This type of divorce often requires more time and resources to resolve, driving up the cost.
An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, is when both parties have reached an agreement on all issues and have submitted a settlement agreement to the court. Even when either party has an attorney, this type of case requires fewer court appearances, less paperwork, and a quicker resolution, making it a more affordable option.
Who pays the attorney’s fees and costs?
In some divorce cases, one party will be ordered to pay the other party’s attorney fees and other divorce-related costs. This is uncommon, but when it does happen, it is usually because the party with greater financial resources is deemed to have a substantial economic advantage over the other party. In even rarer cases, the court may order one party to pay attorney fees if they are found to have acted in bad faith.
Ultimately, it is up to the court to decide who will pay attorney fees and other costs. However, if you believe you are entitled to reimbursement of your attorney fees, we may be able to advocate on your behalf in court. Similarly, if you are at risk of being ordered to pay the other party’s attorney fees, we will work hard to make sure you are not taken advantage of.
Legal separation vs. divorce
Legal separation is a less permanent status than divorce, and it is an option for couples who wish to separate without formally ending their marriage. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not terminate the marriage, so neither party is free to remarry.
It also has some advantages over divorce — for example, it allows both parties to retain their spouse’s health insurance, which they would otherwise lose in a divorce.
The process of legal separation is similar to the process of divorce in many respects. For instance, the parties still need to divide their assets and liabilities, decide on child support and/or spousal support if necessary, and determine child custody and visitation schedules. The biggest difference is that the terms will be outlined in a Decree of Legal Separation instead of a divorce decree.
If either party wishes to convert the legal separation to a divorce, they may do so after a six-month waiting period. Once the court approves the conversion, the terms of the Decree of Legal Separation will essentially become the terms of the new divorce decree.
Once a couple has come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce — or the judge has decided on the contested matters — the court will issue several documents outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party. It is essential that you understand their terms thoroughly before signing them because these final documents are legally binding and will greatly affect your life post-divorce.
In divorce cases involving minor children shared by both parties, the court will issue a Parenting Plan. This plan outlines both parents’ obligations to their children, including who will have primary physical custody, who will have legal custody, and how visitation rights and holiday schedules will be handled.
Decree of dissolution of marriage
The Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, less formally known as a divorce decree, is a document that outlines all of the terms and conditions of the divorce. Property division, settlement of debts and liabilities, spousal support obligations, and other topics will all be included in the decree.
From start to finish, here is how long your divorce could take
The amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce depends largely on whether it is contested. An uncontested divorce can be finalized in as little as three months from the day the initial petition is filed.
Washington has a 90-day waiting period that must be observed before the divorce can be finalized. If all of the paperwork is filed correctly and on time, it is possible to finalize an uncontested divorce as soon as the waiting period ends.
A contested divorce, however, could take much longer. Most contested cases take at least six months to finalize, while more complex cases can take one to two years. Trial dates are often scheduled months in advance — and when you throw factors like stalling, lack of cooperation, and hidden assets into the mix, a contested divorce can quickly become a lengthy ordeal.
Why do I need a lawyer for a divorce?
You are going through one of the most life-altering events imaginable, and it is tough to balance the legal side of things with the logistical and emotional aspects of a divorce. That is where a lawyer comes in. With a divorce lawyer in your corner, you can leave the legal details to a professional and focus on building a new life for yourself.
The need for a lawyer becomes even more apparent when you consider the unfair hurdles men often face in divorce proceedings.
For example, courts often favor the mother in child custody disputes, and men can be on the hook for more spousal support even though women are increasingly becoming equal earners in households. Biases like these can be difficult to combat alone, and a divorce lawyer can help you level the playing field.
How we can help
When we represent a client in a divorce case, we are committed to his best interests. As your attorneys, we will do everything in our power to ensure that the terms of your divorce are fair and just. This may include:
- Explaining your legal options
- Assisting with the initial filing of divorce documents
- Negotiating a fair and equitable settlement
- Gathering evidence and preparing for trial
- Representing you in court hearings and at trial
- Helping you understand the terms of the final divorce decree
With our help, many cases that begin as contested divorces can reach a settlement agreement and avoid the costs and added time associated with a trial. We explore the prospect of an uncontested divorce whenever possible, but we will never advise a client to accept an unfair settlement. We are not afraid to go to trial and fight for your interests when necessary.
Why choose Divorce Lawyers for Men
At Divorce Lawyers for Men, we protect the rights of men in Washington State each and every day. With more than 10,000 cases handled in 14+ years, we are uniquely qualified to help you get the results you want and need.
We are not just a law firm — we are a statewide network of attorneys who all share the belief that men deserve fair treatment in divorce proceedings. The difference this makes cannot be understated. When you are up against the powerful family court system, it pays to have an experienced team on your side. We have seen firsthand how antiquated biases can derail a man’s case, and we have the knowledge and experience it takes to push back against those forces.
If you are looking for a lawyer who will fight for you every step of the way, choose Divorce Lawyers for Men.
Local Communities Our Kitsap County Office Serves:
We serve the following areas in and around Port Orchard: Port Orchard, Bremerton, Parkwood, Fernwood, Navy Yard City, Bethel, Banner, Harper, Manchester, East Port Orchard, Fragaria, Southworth, South Colby, Vashon, Sheridan, Gorst, and surrounding areas.
Learn the Divorce Rules
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