ALWAYS DO WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU
We only want to work with you if we can provide the best solution for you. Feel free to check in with a free 30-minute consultation where you can ask questions and get a feel for how we would work together. If you want a feel for a divorce process, here is a link to our checklist for a divorce with children in Seattle/King County.
Our process is simple and our fees are capped. We can help you customize every part of your divorce for your individual situation. First we help you understand your options. Then we file your paperwork for you, so you never have to go to court.
WRITE YOUR OWN DIVORCE AGREEMENT
In an uncontested, amicable divorce, the court forms and paperwork are like the ingredients in a pie. You need the ingredients, and you also need to know how to put everything together.
In a Seattle, Kent, and King County divorce, your court forms come together with a settlement agreement. Your settlement agreement divides your finances and sets up your co-parenting relationship, including child support, spousal support, pets, refinancing your home, and any other decision you have to make.
At Divorce Without Court, we help you with the court forms and we can also help you “bake the pie” with a fair, legally enforceable agreement that protects your assets and your relationships. Learn more here.
PRIVATE, FAIR, AND REASONABLE
If you are able to agree to an uncontested divorce, and you already know you want to keep your divorce as private and easy as possible, then sit down together to work this out - either on your own or in our office.
We offer settlement agreements, mediation, legal review, asset/debt division, parenting plans, support order calculations, and all other services connected to an out of court, uncontested, amicable divorce. We help you create an optimal agreement in a way that is calm and fair. Learn more here.
We've collected all the information you need to start a divorce in Seattle. Click here for more.
UNDERSTAND YOUR OPTIONS
Everyone starts their divorce thinking, “I can just fill out divorce forms and we're done.” And if you have no assets to divide, and you both completely agree on what you want in the future, then this option could work for you. If you choose to fill out your own divorce forms, then you don't need to pay a lawyer. The King County Clerk has all the forms available for free here and the Court Facilitator will help you with the forms for $30.
Many people find, however, that the forms have legal repercussions. Filing a divorce can change the rate a bank will offer you for a loan, or even hurt your credit score. And a financial asset/debt division that's left to be sorted out after the divorce can easily leave you in a less than ideal situation for several years after your divorce. Many women, in particular, end up losing their home, or having to sell at an inconvenient time, because the paperwork wasn't handled correctly. Divorce rules are confusing and counter-intuitive. And even if you hire a divorce lawyer, most lawyers tend to focus on fighting in court, not on you and your needs.
We can help you sort out what you want and save money in the long run. In Washington State, it is family law “best practices” to use a Settlement Agreement as a contract. The Settlement Agreement sets up everything that you both agree to do and pay in the future. This keeps everything clear, and everyone is on the same page. It lowers stress because you know what's going to happen and how you will work out any future issues.
This Settlement Agreement can be customized to fit your situation. The state sets a minimum for child support, and there are some legal requirements for your property and asset division. Outside of these guidelines, your divorce is up to you. You can use our services to make your divorce work for you.
Courts in Washington will not allow children to testify about what they want. Children can only participate in your divorce through interviews with third-party professionals, such as a child specialist or Guardian Ad Litem. These professionals interview everyone in your family, your friends, school teachers, any therapist or other professionals, and then make a recommendation, usually based mostly on whatever the professional evaluation from a therapist listed as a recommendation. These child specialist and Guardian Ad Litem reports are expensive and time consuming. Most people find the process pretty stressful - no one wants your child's teacher to know anything more than necessary about your divorce, for example. And these reports cost several thousand dollars. Sometimes professionals charge as much as six figures for one report, and the process can last up to a year.
We can help you include your child, legally, in a way that's private, fair, and respectful of all your family's relationships. We help you set parameters for when you will bring in a therapist, counselor, or other professional - who will pay for it, how the professional will be selected, and other factors can all help reduce the stress. Then both of you can decide how the therapist or counselor's advice will be used, privately, to improve your family relationships and help your children feel more comfortable during the divorce process.
BUILD ON THE GOTTMAN INSTITUTE'S RESEARCH IN YOUR DIVORCE
Dr. John Gottman was divorced twice before he met his current wife, and together, they became famous for his research on successful relationships.
A successful relationship is not necessarily one where two people live together forever. A successful relationship during a divorce is one where each person can listen and help each other write the “story of your divorce” in a way that helps both partners, and any children, to grow and feel safe during the family's transition.
Our mediator has taken the training offered by The Gottman Institute to professionals who want to work under the framework developed by Dr. John Gottman's research into couples and their relationships. Learn more about the Gottman-Rapaport Intervention style here. If it's time to start a new life, you and your partner can find a way to both feel heard.
HOW WE HELP YOU
- You don't know what you don't know when you start a divorce. We help you fill in data points and create workable budgets. Who will keep the house? How much money will be needed to cover the mortgage? What is a reasonable child support? How does the state calculate child support? What four factors increase the total amount of the transfer payment from one parent to the other? What expenses can you include in child support? How is spousal support worked out? How do you split your retirement assets? What are the tax implications of your decisions? We can help you make sure that both partners will be comfortable and able to move on. Divorce is a huge economic decision, and we're here to help you focus on ways to lessen the impact as much as possible. We always frame discussions around keeping you both comfortable.
- You can plan your budget, since we set a limit on fees.
- You can find neutral help because we work as a third-party mediator. We don't represent either one of you, and we have no incentive to tell anyone to ask for more than you would reasonably be expected to get in court. Focusing on reasonable goals from the start will help you both. In divorce, once you start fighting, the fees add up quickly. The average divorce lawyer in King County asks for a retainer of $4500 to $7500 and then continues to charge several thousand each month as the litigation drags on and on. Your lawyers will tell you to ask for "twice what you think you can get" and otherwise blow up the situation. You end up paying a lawyer to write a brief for support levels that you already know that you can't get, just so that hopefully a judge will give you something in the middle. It's not the best use of your time or money. We can help you focus on goals that make sense all the way through the process.
- You never have to go to court. We help you to set up your agreements and your paperwork, then we file everything for you in court.
- Your process is private and involves much less paperwork. A litigated divorce requires a full financial declaration filed with the court. The financial declaration includes all of your financial information, including bank accounts, past tax returns, retirement accounts, revolving credit, mortgage payments, everything. Couples in court often end up hiding assets, too, because it's pretty easy to fool a litigation system that operates the same as it did in the 1950s. We still cover your financial information, and make a list of your assets and debts. But we rely on computer records and other updated means to verify income and make sure that both of you can fully understand everything connected to your finances without involving multiple other people who don't even know you.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS?
Lots of people want to know the answers to questions such as, "What's fair?" "Do we have to get along?' and "What are the steps in the process?" Check out our FAQ page and feel free to call with any other questions you might have - our number is 206-747-3029