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The Steps to Divorce in Seattle

The Steps to Divorce in Seattle

Divorce in Seattle has mandatory forms that can't be changed; we can help you work with the court's forms to get what you want, and avoid any future hassles with your finances or support payments.

There are four parts to a divorce in Washington State and King County: Petition, Parenting Plan, Final Orders, and a Settlement Contract.

A litigated divorce begins with a Petition filed by one partner. The other partner answers the petition. Then both sides ask the court for motions to settle their finances and parenting decisions. Each party will file competing parenting plans, support orders, and proposed final orders with the court. This means both partners will pay an attorney to create two sets of every single part of the divorce. Most of that effort is wasted. Only one version of each set of paperwork will be filed.

Mandatory mediation means almost all divorces end with a Settlement Agreement.

Washington state has mandatory mediation for all family law orders. About a month or so before trial, both sides will have to sit down with a mediator. (This usually happens about a year after the petition was filed). After a session, or sometimes two sessions, of mediation, the parties will write a Settlement Agreement. That agreement becomes the final divorce order. The agreement covers child support, financial arrangements, and all other decisions connected to the divorce. All of the court forms refer to the Settlement Agreement, and the partners can sue each other for fees if either one of them breaks the Settlement Agreement.

In King County, 96% of all divorce petitions settle before trial with a Settlement Agreement signed by both partners. The remaining 4% of cases will have a judge decide their settlement and enter Final Orders for them. This is a tremendous amount of wasted time, effort, and money.

Divorce Without Court lets you take control of this process.

We let you skip the extra steps and paperwork. People who sue each other pay two lawyers to fight and then write a Settlement Agreement together. We let you jump into a Settlement Agreement without the wasted efforts and fees spent fighting and writing drafts that won't be used. You can work out your Settlement Agreement with our office, or on your own. The Settlement Agreement will settle the house, support payments, maintenance, and anything else connected to your family's transition. Once signed, your Settlement Contract is enforceable immediately.

There's no reason to spend money on lawyers who will fight about your life in court. If you know what you want to do with your house, your children, and your other assets and debts, then you can decide for yourself.

Divorce Without Court changes the order of the steps to divorce.

We start with your parenting plan, so you can picture how your children will be taken care of and manage your transition. Then we create your Settlement Contract and establish your financial future in a way that makes both parents comfortable. Finally, we set up your petition, parenting plan, support order, and final orders, adjusting the court forms to match the separation contract you've agreed on together. You're in charge.

We help you start with the settlement instead of fighting each other in court until the lawyers end your fight with a settlement. We help you create agreed orders for an uncontested divorce or a mediated divorce.


Divorce Without Court: Westside Collaborative Law PLLC is committed to answering your questions about divorce law issues in Seattle.

We offer a free consultation and we’ll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.