Is Contested or Uncontested Divorce Right For Me?

Divorce in Washington

Uncontested Divorce

Navigating the process of Divorce in Washington is not easy, and the US has the third highest divorce rate in the world. Due to the complex nature of divorces, the procedure is long, costly, and emotionally taxing. These circumstances frequently lead to lingering resentment between parties, which can make it even harder to reach a swift and positive resolution. It may be extremely expensive and inefficient for both parties to battle against one another unnecessarily during a contested divorce. Filing for an uncontested divorce is one way to handle your divorce more efficiently. If this is the choice you make and is best suited to your situation, our experienced attorneys would be pleased to work with you. We hope to alleviate the stress that comes with divorce and look forward to consulting with you.

Cons of a contested divorce

A contested divorce may take staggering financial expenditures, combined with mental and emotional exhaustion. Between attorney fees, splitting of assets and retirement accounts, and factoring in child and spousal support, a contested divorce can typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, involve more hearings, time commitments, and result in greater hostility between the parties. In the process of settling you may also lose some of your bargaining power over the divorce process due to the strenuous efforts to fight against the other party rather than work with them. Due to the nature of family law, the more hostile and contested a divorce is will result in uncertainty for how the case will resolve. This is due to inherent bias in the court system, emotions taking hold of the parties, and a wide variety of issues that are sometimes unforeseeable. Additionally, it may be extremely inconvenient for you if a judge’s ruling results in a negative impact on your daily life. Ultimately, you could feel that you have little influence over how your case will resolve. In an unpredictable environment, it is often difficult to predict a contested divorce’s outcome, so knowing all your options is important.

Pro of a contested Divorce in Washington

In many cases there may be a valid reason to pursue a contested divorce. Some concerns that may prompt a contested divorce include protecting the interests of your children, hidden assets, and other factors like poor treatment within the marriage that may negatively affect a certain party. In filing a contested divorce a judge may rule in your favor to grant certain requests that otherwise may have not been settled in an uncontested divorce. However, filing a contested divorce also poses many risks and no guarantee of success which can lead to a win some-lose some situation.

Cons of an uncontested divorce

While an uncontested divorce may be less difficult, there are factors to consider before making that decision. If there has been a pattern of emotional abuse, domestic violence, or abuse of power in the marriage, you should retain the services of a lawyer in this instance to ensure that the divorce is as fair as possible and to give you safety between you and the other party. Further, uncontested divorces generally don’t require both parties to give and take equitably. It is also almost ever allowed or a good idea to pursue if you have children.

Pros of an uncontested divorce

Uncontested divorces are far less time and money-consuming than contested divorces. While some stress may be alleviated due to the shortened process of an uncontested divorce, it can still be emotionally taxing and difficult to go through. To help you navigate these emotions and negotiate with the opposing side for the best result, our attorneys will support you and be there for you at every step of the journey. Since you are making the decisions and working directly with the other party, you may have greater control over the outcome when the decision is not left to a third party. If you chose to go about this course of action or need legal advice on your particular circumstance, the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer would be happy to discuss your options.

As always you can contact the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer to get more information. One of our knowledgeable attorneys will gladly answer any questions you may have.

Why Would You Get a Legal Separation vs. a Divorce?

Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Washington

Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Washington

Deciding to leave your partner is rarely easy. It often comes with a lot of back-and-forth, decision-making, and overthinking every move.

You might have a million questions, such as:

Today, we will review everything you need to know about getting a legal separation vs. a divorce so that you can make the right decision for your family.

Legal Separation vs. Divorce: What is the difference?

If you are not fully behind a divorce, but you want time away from your partner to think it over, you may file for legal separation. What is a legal separation? It is the avenue spouses take when they would like to live on their own.

In Washington State, there are few small differences between a legal separation (temporarily relocating from your spouse) vs. a divorce (dissolving your marriage by legal standards). Your assets are divided the same in a separation as they are in a divorce.

You may also still need to pay spousal maintenance or child support. You may even need a parenting plan to outline your child’s living arrangements.

The largest differences between a legal separation and divorce are that you must wait until your divorce is finalized before you can marry anyone else. You are also still “married” when legally separated, which can affect your benefits.

Besides that, the wording can be intimidating. Divorce feels permanent, whereas legal separation is temporary and can change. Separation is a viable divorce alternative while you decide what you would like to do with your marriage.

How long do you need to be separated before getting a divorce in Washington State?

You must be legally separated for 90 days before filing for divorce. (RCW 26.09.030) That ensures that the spouse who filed for the legal separation has a chance to process life alone before dissolving the marriage. This is a good way to prevent hasty decisions.

The Washington State divorce laws state that at least one of the parties may indicate that the marriage is broken beyond repair. Once the judge approves this, you can begin the process of dissolving your marriage.

On or before this step, it is helpful to retain a divorce  attorney. That will ensure your assets are split in the fairest way possible and that the process is amicable. Not only can this make things easier on you, but it can also make things easier on the little ones.

Key Takeaway

Knowing the differences between a legal separation vs. a divorce is paramount if you are considering leaving your partner. In Washington State, legal separations and divorces are similar. However, if you choose the legal separation route, you must be separated for at least 90 days before you can dissolve your marriage.