Spokane Family Law and Divorce Attorneys

A Better Way to Get Divorced with Less Emotional Chaos...Start Being Happy and Feeling Good Again.

This is a very emotional time in your life. You've got a range of emotions, doubts, and worries. You may be wondering, "Should I", "Can I", or "How do I get divorced?"

One thing is for sure...you know (in your heart and mind) that you need a change to become a happy and healthy person again. Your marriage needs to end for the good of everyone involved...

What I want you to know is that there is a better way to handle your divorce. A way that involves less emotional pain...that helps you find the clarity that you need...and helps you transition to a happier and healthier person in the end. And isn't that the point of all this...to get through this and end up happier?

Ready to find out more?

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Spokane Family Law Attorney Information Center

Divorces & Separations

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Other Family Law Help

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Ask a Spokane Family Law Attorney: General Questions and Answers

*These are only general answers to get you started. The specifics of your case could change these answers.

Which Of The 3 Divorce Phases Are You In Right Now?

"The Should I Get Divorced Phase?"

You probably better start out with the basics first. It would be helpful to know what the general issues for divorce even are. You'd like answers to what you might be getting yourself into?

"The Could I Get Divorced Phase?"

Are you wondering if you could do it? Survive and not be entirely worse off? Are you worried about breaking the status quo? What will you do for income, housing, kids, and the bills...how will life progress?

"The How Do I Get Divorced Phase?"

You've probably made up your mind to end the marriage. You just need to know what to. How to do it? And who you should hire to handle your divorce. Does that sound about right?

The Entire Spokane Divorce Process In a Nutshell

You may get an overwhelming feeling when you even try and think about the divorce process.  You may have even put it off because you don’t know where to begin.  Having a clear understanding of the process is the first step to overcoming your fear.

A divorce proceeding begins with one party filing a “petition”.  This is a formal request for the court to take some action.  The first person to file will be called the “petitioner”.  The other party is the “respondent”.

This first round of documents you file will be called “proposed orders”.  It is what you want the court to do.  There may be advantages to filing first and it is a good idea to discuss this strategy with an experience attorney.

Included with your petition will be several other documents and at the time of filing, you will be given a status hearing date with the court.  It is important that you have the other party served timely and appropriately. This also starts the clock.  90 days must pass before a court will enter any final rulings and documents.

At the time of filing, you may also need to ask the court to take some immediate, temporary action pending the outcome of the case.

The other party then has an opportunity to file their proposed documents.  Depending on the level of agreement, disagreement, amount of property and assets, and if there are children involved or not there will be other documents and other requirements the court will impose on you.

If parties are not in agreement, a court will want to see if a resolution can be reached through mediation first.  As a last resort, a matter may go to trial before a judge who will hear both parties’ reasons for why they are asking for what they are and make a final ruling.

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced?

From the time of filing a petition for divorce, 90 days must pass before it can be finalized. But, if there are disputed issues it could take longer...

Who'll Get The Kids, During the Divorce?

At the time of filing for divorce, temporary orders and proposed orders may be entered.  These would include a parenting plan and/or residential schedule which would specifically outline the time children would spend with each parent.

If the parties can agree, a court will usually approve their arrangement as long as it is in the best interest of the children.  If parents cannot agree, the court will decide again, based on the best interest of the children.

Factors that go into “best interest” are things like the developmental needs of the children, current relationships to each parent, whether or not the parent can provide for the children, just to name a few.

A court may consider a child’s wishes only if the child is mature and old enough to give their opinion.  If a child is not mature enough to make this choice, then a person can be appointed by the court to make a recommendation of what would be best.

Am I Going to be able to Stay In Our Home?

When dividing assets and debts, a court will not automatically divide things equally (50/50).  Instead, the Court looks at what is “equitable.”  One spouse may be allowed to stay in the home, but have their share of the assets offset by something else.

The Court may require one party buy out the other party’s interest in the home.  If there are children, a Court may look at the disruption of changing schools as a factor.  However, if it cannot be financially worked out, the home may need to be sold.

I Don't Work What Will I Do For Income, During the Divorce?

If you file for divorce, you can ask the Court to grant you spousal maintenance.  This is based on financial and economic need.  Maintenance may be ordered when there is a substantial financial difference between the parties.  The goal of maintenance is to help the unequal party achieve financial independence.

The amount of maintenance and length of time a person can receive it is based on factors like the length of time the parties were married, the ages of the parties and their employment history.

If the parties have children together, then one parent may receive child support.  Although these things can be granted on a temporary basis, they can also be ordered to continue even after a divorce is final.

What Will I Do For Income, After the Divorce?

The amount of maintenance and length of time a person may receive it may vary, depending on how long it could take for one party to become financially independent.

If there are children involved and child support is ordered, it will usually continue until the child reaches the age of 18, or graduates from high school.  A parent can also ask a court to order the other parent to assist with post educational expenses.

I'm Worried Our Assets/Savings Will Disappear Before the Divorce is Final?

If you believe that your spouse will max out credit cards, or drain your savings account, you can address these concerns with the Court and the Court can order the parties to not do anything that would negatively impact the community.

If “waste” or destruction does occur, then a Court may grant the other spouse more property to make up for the other person’s bad actions.

I Have Sweat Equity in Our Home or Business. How Do I Get the Divorce Court to Give Me Credit for That?

Washington is a community property state, which means that all money, possessions, and debts accumulated during the marriage is presumed to belong to the marital community.  If one spouse works in the other’s business, but is not compensated, the increased value of the business can be seen as belonging to the community and the value be distributed accordingly.

I'm in an Abusive or Hostile Situation.

Your safety and the safety of your children is the number one priority.  When you file your petition for divorce, you are able to ask the court to issue a temporary no contact order (restraining order) for you and your children.

If you are not ready to file your petition for divorce just yet, you may still go into court and request a civil no contact order (restraining order) for yourself and any minor children in your care.

These hearings are usually held once a day.  A temporary order will generally be issued at this time (also called a TRO or temporary restraining order).

But, there will be another required court hearing that gives the restrained person a chance to explain their side of the story. That court date is generally set no less than 14 days, after the "TRO" was granted. At this final hearing, the judge will decide if the "TRO" should become permanent.

The Spouse I'm Divorcing has a Substance Abuse Issue.

In a proposed parenting plan, there is a section which can limit or restrict a parent’s interactions with children.  These restrictions can be based on a parent’s neglect, substance abuse, and emotional problems to name a few.

Once identified, a party can ask to have limitations placed on that parent.  An example would be to restrict visitation, require supervision, or even ask the Court to order an evaluation or treatment.  The concerned parent can also ask to have the other’s decision making limited.

How Much Does a Spokane Divorce Attorney Cost?

Most divorces attorneys are going to charge a minimum of $2,500 to $3,500. But, if things are hostile or complicated, it can cost much more.

The main issue with legal costs and fees is time. Your family law attorney will spend more time on your case, if you have lots of disputed issues (custody, property, or just overall hostility).

Most attorneys charge anywhere from $175/hr to $250/hr. But it really just depends on the lawyer, the city, and the issues.

It's always best to get the attorneys opinion on how many hours they estimate it will take them to finish your divorce. It's just an estimate, but you should ask.


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Contact Us For Your FREE Case Evaluation!

Lutgen & Crull, PLLC

111 S. Post St., Suite 2282

Spokane, WA 99201


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