Integrative Family Law Seattle – How We Work
Want to know what to expect in a divorce? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about getting a divorce and other family law matters, and how we work with all our clients every step of the way.
I’m thinking of filing for divorce or legal separation. Where do I start?
We start by scheduling an initial consultation at our office with one of our attorneys. Our office number is 206-859-6800. Please take a look at the biographies of our attorneys to see which attorney might be a good fit for you. If the attorney you think is the best fit is available on your timeframe, we’ll then schedule an appointment with that attorney. Otherwise, we’ll match you with the best attorney available.
What is the cost of a family law consultation and how long do they last?
The cost of a consultation is charged at the attorney’s hourly rate. The consultation typically lasts an hour and a half, the charge will be calculated at the end of your visit, and it is based on the amount of time the consultation lasts. We also accept Visa, Mastercard, AMEX and Discover for payment.
Do you offer free divorce consultations?
Unfortunately, we do not. During our initial consultations, you will receive valuable legal advice that you will find beneficial even if you don’t decide to retain our firm to represent you. For this reason, we do not offer free consultations.
What information do I need to gather?
If you were served legal paperwork, or have court orders from a prior legal proceeding, be sure to bring all of these papers with you or email them in advance. If nothing has been filed, you should gather financial information. In King County you will need to provide two years of IRS returns, six months of bank statements and six months of wage statements (if you have them).
You need to have income information such as income tax returns and pay stubs, expense information such as bank account records and credit card statements and a list of all assets and liabilities. You will also need records that bear on issues related to your children such as physician records if there are medical issues and school records if there are academic issues. We will let you know what other records we need after we meet with you.
Can I have a consultation over the phone?
An in-person visit gives you the best sense of who we are and if we are a good fit for your needs. If you are unable to come into our Seattle offices, we do schedule phone consultations.
What will the retainer be for my case?
To retain an attorney for your divorce or family law matter we require a deposit, also known as a retainer, before we begin to work on your legal matter. A retainer is determined during your initial consultation and will be based on your particular needs and situation. The average retainer amount for a Dissolution of Marriage or divorce is $5,000 but could be more or less, depending on your situation and needs. The full retainer is due upfront, and then we bill against it.
What counties does your firm practice in?
We practice family law and handle divorces in King and Snohomish counties.
How long does it take to get a divorce in WA?
After the necessary paperwork is filed with the court, the law requires you to wait 90 days before you can be divorced. You can settle your case and be divorced any time after 90 days. If you do not settle your case, you will be divorced by a Superior Court judge after a trial. Generally trials take place 11-12 months after the initial filing of necessary paperwork. We have a more detailed timeline posted on our resources page.
What kind of divorce is best for me?
We believe that the best divorce or best outcome to any legal proceeding is to work cooperatively without bringing too much emotion into the legal process. The legal process cannot resolve the highly emotional issues involved in family law cases. It can only resolve the legal issues.
We offer services for all types of divorces, child support and child custody cases:
- Traditional litigation
- Mediation between the couple
- Cooperative law working with other attorneys
- Collaborative law, a more formal process of resolving issues outside of the traditional litigation system.
What will happen to my assets in a divorce?
Both separate property (which is generally property that you owned before marriage, inherited or were gifted) and community property (which is generally property acquired during the marriage that is not separate property) are before the court for division. You will agree on a division of assets and settle your case or the judge will make a “fair and equitable” division of community and separate property. This is not necessarily a 50/50 division. The property division depends entirely on the situation in each individual family so there are no clear guidelines we can give you.
What if I am not ready to file for divorce yet?
It is best to talk to an attorney when you are considering divorce so that you know your options and what choices may affect your case. The actions you take before and during the separation phase can impact you throughout the divorce and on into your future. Learn more about divorce and what it entails on our resources page.
We have children, and know we need a parenting plan. What is the best schedule for them?
The attorney can explain different options for scheduling the children’s time with each parent. Washington has a mandatory Parenting Plan that must be filed with the court. You can look at the mandatory forms for Family Law cases. What parenting plan is in the best interest of children depends on the specific circumstances of each family, the children’s needs, the children’s ages, the parent’s work schedules, where the parents live, and a variety of other factors that may impact the children.
Can you help me with adjustments or changes to child support?
Yes, after the court issues the final order of child support, our firm can assist you with changes to child support if there is a basis for seeking the change.
Can you help me if I think that our parenting plan needs to be changed?
Yes, our firm handles negotiation of changes to parenting plans and litigation as well.
I cannot afford an attorney, what can I do?
There are resources for self-help options and for low cost or free help for limited income family law participants. You can contact the King County Family Law Facilitator in Seattle or in Kent at 206-296-9092 or 206-205-2526. The King County Bar offers self-help options, lawyer referrals, and lists neighborhood clinics. In addition, the King County Court Clerk has a Divorce Road Map available on line for informational purposes and has a list of resources.
I am scared my partner will hurt me if I leave, what can I do?
If you are in immediate danger, you should call 911. If you are afraid of what might happen based on what has happened in the past, you can request a Domestic Violence Protection Order. DV Victim Advocates can help you at each courthouse. You can also obtain help through:
- Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) Advocacy & Crisis Hotline: 425-656-7867
- King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence 206-568-5454
- New Beginnings, Seattle/King County Domestic Violence Protection Order
- The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) Hotline: 1-800-562-6025
Call Integrative Family Law for Help with Your Divorce in Washington State – 206.859.6800
Nothing on this page is intended as legal advice for an individual. Call us now to learn more about how we can assist in your specific situation.