Divorce: A Dissolution of Your Marriage
A divorce action (called “dissolution” in Washington State) begins when one spouse (or both spouses jointly) files a petition for dissolution of marriage. Washington is a “no fault” divorce state meaning that so long as one spouse alleges the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” the divorce will be granted.
There is no way to prevent your spouse from obtaining a divorce if that is what they want. After the petition is filed, there is a 90 day waiting period from the date of filing in our state. No divorce can be finalized sooner than that, even if the spouses are in agreement on all the financial and parenting issues.
Divorce cases can involve several considerations, such as property division and spousal support, and we are prepared to protect your rights in these matters. Know that we will stand up for your interests, give you candid and objective advice, and secure the best possible outcome in your case. This is our number-one priority at the Lustick Law Firm, and we are committed to doing so with compassionate and diligent representation.
Temporary Orders Help You Gain Control
In our clients’ cases, it is typical for us to rapidly seek temporary orders to be put in place soon after the action begins. These orders will govern conduct until the divorce is final, including: who will pay the bills, who will live in the marital residence, spousal support, child support, the temporary visitation schedule for the children, and can even enter orders to protect one spouse from the other during the proceedings. Temporary orders are important because they help to give you some measure of control in your case.
When you meet with our family law attorney, be prepared to discuss what arrangements you want to see put in place temporarily while your case is pending. If a temporary order already exists and you are unhappy with it, we can also help you modify it.
How Will This Divorce Case End?
The vast majority of divorce cases are settled by agreement of the parties. Over time, and with the help of a lawyer, the parties can usually reach agreement on all of the financial and parenting issues. We will work with you to determine your ideal outcome, the likelihood of obtaining it at trial, and where there is room to negotiate with your spouse.
The courts in both Whatcom and Skagit Counties mandate mediation in divorce cases, except where there is a history of domestic violence. This means that if the parties are not able to reach agreement on their own through legal counsel, the parties must go before a private mediator who will attempt to work out a settlement.
Taking Your Future Ex to Trial
If negotiations between you and your future ex-spouse fail and mediation produces no acceptable result, the case may go on to be decided by a trial. In the divorce arena, dissolutions are decided at “bench trials”, which means your case is heard by a judge alone, sitting without a jury. The duty of the trial judge is to apply state law to decide what is an equitable division of the property; put in place a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the children; and to order child support and/or spousal support pursuant to our state’s child support schedule. Most people prefer to have control over the outcome of their divorce by avoiding trial altogether, and that is why if you hire the Lustick Law Firm, we will seek to fight for your desired outcome and win before any trial is needed.
Call Us So We Can Start Helping You
Our skilled and experienced Bellingham divorce lawyers and Mount Vernon divorce lawyers stand ready to smoothly guide you through the divorce process. Call the Lustick Law Firm today to schedule your confidential family law consultation. This one-hour consultation with our family law attorneys is very comprehensive, helpful, and informative and will give you a better understanding of the domestic relations law process.
In Bellingham, call (360) 685-4221 and in Mount Vernon, call (360) 873-8882 to schedule your initial consultation today.