When considering divorce, people typically have questions and concerns
about how to get started and how to obtain the resolutions they want.
These are important issues. However, understanding what happens during
the divorce process (from the time you file to when the divorce is finalized)
is also important and sometimes overlooked.
Our Washington divorce attorneys at McKinley Irvin feel it is in a client’s
best interest to understand how a wide range of issues and consequences
that arise from divorce are handled, which is why we always take the time
to help clients understand and prepare for what may happen during the
During the divorce process, spouses often wish to physically separate and
live apart from one another. While this can be healthy or necessary, it
should also be carefully considered and executed properly. For example,
spouses who leave their home should take a full inventory of their property
and assets, including marital and separate property, which can be referred
to later if any property is removed.
When children are involved, steps will need to be taken to establish parenting
time or temporary orders, especially for the parent who moves out of the
If physical separation has occurred before the decision to divorce is made,
it is important to speak to your attorney about what steps you need to
take regarding your property and children.
Temporary orders during the divorce process commonly apply to parent-children
relationships. It is important to note that each parent generally has
a right to reasonable parenting time and contact with their children during
a divorce. In some cases, parents who wish to obtain immediate changes
to custody or parenting time will need to obtain temporary custody orders,
including emergency orders if there is “immediate danger,”
in order to have a court order that outlines the parental situation. Temporary
orders may be obtained for restraining orders in cases involving domestic
violence. In some cases, temporary orders may also be used to restrict
spending or liquidation of assets.
Financial issues during divorce often coincide with physical separation,
as spouses will often choose to divide financial accounts and assets before
either party leaves the home. If there are joint accounts, money taken
from these accounts may have to be accounted for or reimbursed during
divorce proceedings. Spouses should strongly consider cancelling joint
credit cards to avoid incurring new debt. As physical separation may also
introduce the need for new purchases, such as a new residence or new property,
these purchases will also need to be taken into account. In Washington
State, property purchased during the divorce may need to be reviewed to
determine if the purchase was made using money earned during a marriage,
as it can impact property division.
Negotiation, Mediation, or Trial
While there are many technical issues to consider, documents to collect,
and other changes to make to your daily life during a divorce, one of
the most important things to consider is how you view and handle the process.
- Some divorcing spouses may be able to agree upon plans and decisions through
negotiation and communication. This can save both time and money, as well
as stress for families and children.
- Settlement agreements can also be worked on using mediation, a process
where an impartial third party works with both spouses to facilitate agreement.
- If agreements cannot be made, then the issues must be taken to court where
a judge will review the evidence and make an official decision.
We counsel our clients to evaluate these options carefully so they can
make informed decisions throughout the divorce process. While most divorces
are settled outside of a courtroom, going to trial is sometimes the right
choice. Before making that decision, it’s important to understand
how the trial process works and how long it may take.
McKinley Irvin provides step-by-step, personalized legal guidance throughout
the entirety of divorce proceedings. If you have questions about divorce
and wish to discuss your situation with an attorney from our firm, contact
us today to schedule an initial consultation