ONLY PAY FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Almost everyone settles before a trial, even if they start with litigation and paying a $7500 retainer to an attorney. We have the experience to help you fairly divide your financial assets for your divorce while avoiding any high fees. If you're most likely to settle eventually, why not start with a settlement and skip the hassle and fees?
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.
Call 206-747-3029 or use our online booking to make an appointment for mediation, an uncontested divorce-without-court, or a collaborative divorce.
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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.
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. Call 206-747-3029 today and start taking back control.
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.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DIVORCE WITHOUT COURT:
DO MY EX AND I HAVE TO BE AMICABLE TO FILE AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
No, of course not. It's very rare for both parties to feel completely amicable in a divorce. And it's not necessary for an uncontested divorce. You both need to be willing to sign the same court paperwork - this is how you avoid the increased requirements and paperwork in a contested divorce. But when you first start, you don't need to feel completely amicable, or agree on every issue.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE AND A REGULAR DIVORCE?
An uncontested divorce uses most of the same forms as a regular divorce. But a regular divorce requires much more paperwork. For example, in an uncontested divorce, both parties sign the same petition before filing it with the court. In a contested divorce, one person signs the petition, then pays a company (or asks a friend) to “serve” the other person with a copy of the paperwork. This service requires another round of paperwork to be filed with the court in order to prove that both parties have a copy of the petition that the first party filed. Then the second person has to file a response to the petition before the court's deadline. The second person's response also has to be “served” to the first person, and that paperwork to prove it to the court has to be filed with the court as well. All of this takes time and, usually, money (if you're paying a divorce lawyer).
In an uncontested divorce, both people save time and hassle. They each review the same paperwork and verify the paperwork for the court with their signature. Then the couple completing an uncontested divorce will file one divorce form together, instead of three forms separately. In a contested divorce, the court's verification process requires three rounds of paperwork to accomplish the same thing that a couple completing an uncontested divorce can finish with a single signature on the right form.
COULD WE JUST FILL OUT THE DIVORCE FORMS OURSELVES?
Sure. If you have no assets, you agree on everything, and you're confident that any future paperwork snafus can be handled amicably, then there's no reason to involve a lawyer or a mediator. Fill out court forms FL 201, 231, 241, 140, 130 (if you have children), a support worksheet, a confidential information form, and a vital statistics record for the court clerk. The forms are free and the directions are online here.
Most people who are getting divorced aren't able to do this effectively, however. For example, if you're selling a house and dividing the money, what would happen if one person lost their job and then wanted to keep more than the agreed on amount? What would happen if one person became upset about their ex's new boyfriend, and then refused to sign the deed so the house can be sold at the last minute? What would happen if there's a global pandemic and the house can't be sold right away? It's easier to set up what you want to do as a list, and then check off each item as you go. Then you can negotiate with each other once, and avoid unnecessary conflict in the future.
Most couples are getting divorce because they don't always handle conflict in an optimal way. It's usually cheaper and faster to hire someone to help with your uncontested divorce. We not only know the forms you need, we know how to help you protect your assets, your credit score, and your financial future.
DOES MEDIATION MEAN WORKING THROUGH OUR ISSUES?
No. Mediators are not therapists. You feel how you feel. You're entitled to want whatever it is that you want. Mediation is a process that lets you both find a path forward from wherever you are. Mediators can't change the past and they can't force you to agree. But they can help you clarify your options, reality test your assumptions, and, if all goes well, finally hear each other's needs. Every relationship that doesn't work is one where your needs aren't being met. The relief you can feel when you finally find a way to let go of the conflict and get at least some of what you need is, frankly, really amazing to watch.
HOW DOES THE DIVORCE MEDIATION PROCESS START?
Usually you both book a time to come in, answer some questions and provide some frameworks beforehand, and then spend an hour or so talking through the issues. The mediator is trained to help you check the boxes you need for the court forms, and to frame the discussion so you can end with a path forward. Most people only need one session, or at the most two. Most people find they feel better if they can start moving forward right away, rather than meeting over and over to talk about the same things.
CAN WE STILL SUE EACH OTHER IN COURT?
Yes. If you disagree on any of the issues in your divorce, you can still always sue each other rather than continue with an uncontested divorce. But any information shared as part of the mediation process is confidential. Nothing you say in mediation can be used against you later.
I WANT TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT BUT I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT IS FAIR?
Any money you pay to the other parent is supporting your children. It's normal to be upset and not want to pay more than what feels fair. Most parents also really want their children to be comfortable, and to keep any conflict away from the children. Using a settlement agreement, a lot of people are able to find flexible arrangements that work for both parties. For example, you can work out a monthly payment that is a percentage of income, rather than a flat number, to cover situations where a parent's income fluctuates, or could change without much notice due to the industry, or other considerations that would make a flat-fee payment impractical.