It can be a long and complicated process to end a marriage. There are both legal and financial matters to navigate, and in addition to these things, there are significant emotional implications for this decision as well. It is not easy to go through a divorce, even if you and the other party resolve to remain amicable and cooperative. If you are facing the prospect of a divorce, you will benefit from understanding what to expect and how you can pursue the best possible outcome.
You will need to resolve the issues in a parenting plan, child support order, division of assets and debts, spousal maintenance, and a restraining order (if needed). The court orders must use the mandatory forms for family law cases. The parenting plan must address who can make decisions for education and medical care, the residential schedule for children, and many other issues. Very often the parties agree on most issues, but have a few items they just cannot agree on. In those cases, mediation is often a very effective and relatively inexpensive way to avoid many thousands of dollars in court.
Divorce can be particularly complicated when you have children. Protecting the best interests of your kids will naturally be your primary concern, and you will want to make decisions that will shield them from unnecessary duress and emotional strain. Preparing for what is ahead will allow you to make thoughtful decisions that will be meaningful and sustainable for years to come.
Matters to address during divorce
The first step in the divorce process is filing the divorce petition. After this, there may be hearings regarding temporary orders for child custody, visitation, financial support and more. With an uncontested divorce, the process may be relatively simple and straightforward, but there are times when parents are unable to reach amicable solutions regarding child custody and visitation. In these cases, a Washington family court will make the final decision regarding custody and visitation, and you will have the right to present your side and pursue a specific outcome.
In a child custody order, there should be terms that address legal custody and physical custody. This is the legal right to make decisions for the child and how the child will split time between parents. In addition to custody-related concerns, you will also have to seek a settlement regarding the division of your marital property, spousal support and other matters.
The details matter
The details and terms of your final divorce order matter. It is critical to be thoughtful and careful as you negotiate terms, pursue a specific outcome or review the terms of a proposed settlement. Acting out of emotions could lead to decisions that will not make much sense years into the future. It may be helpful to have experienced guidance at every step so that you can ensure your choices will allow you to move ahead with confidence.