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Tacoma Divorce Lawyers

Experienced Pierce County Family Lawyers on Your Side

At Seacoma Law, we understand that divorce and relationship breakups can be a particularly challenging time for everyone involved. The legal process can be especially difficult to navigate, whether there are agreements, or your case is high conflict. There is a lot of paperwork, filing requirements, deadlines, state rules, local rules, service, and other obstacles. Both parties generally state they want a fair resolution, but sometimes they do not agree on what fair is. At Seacoma Law, we can help you determine what is fair to ask for in your case. Our divorce attorneys have helped hundreds of Pierce County residents and people in the surrounding area through family court in Tacoma. We understand this can be one of the most stressful times of your life, and we offer professional and personalized representation to our clients. We know that no two cases are identical, and we are here to provide individualized attention to you.

Divorce

Washington is what is called a no-fault state. If you wish to dissolve your marriage or request a legal separation, you do not need to give a reason why. The only reason you need to give for the divorce is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The process for divorce is generally started with a summons and petition. There are also other documents that are required to be filed with the court which we can help you out with. If you have children with your spouse or significant other, you are required to file a proposed parenting plan and child support worksheets as well. There is a 90-day waiting period in Washington for Divorce. This means that even if you and your spouse agree on the final orders, the divorce cannot be finalized until after 90-days. If you and your spouse do not agree on the final distribution of property, debt, spousal support, parenting plan, and child support, you may have to go to trial. Family law trials are close to one year from the date of filing. The Pierce County family court can enter temporary orders prior to trial or mediation if you bring a properly filed motion. The superior court in Tacoma can also enter immediate orders if an emergency exists. The emergency orders will typically last until your return hearing. Negotiation and mediation are the preferred method to resolve your case because it puts the outcome in the hands of the parties instead of the judge. At Seacoma Law, we help clients from the start of the Divorce or Legal Separation case, through temporary orders, mediation, and trial when necessary. If the parties were never married but acquired property during the relationship, this may constitute a committed intimate relationship where the court can distribute property and debt like the way they would in a divorce case, whether or not one of the parties name is on the property. These types of cases should be evaluated by an experienced attorney. Our Tacoma divorce attorneys can help you determine whether to file a claim for a committed intimate relationship.

Child Custody & Parenting Plans

Going through a custody and parenting plan action can be complicated and emotional for everyone involved. People commonly refer to this as a custody action. In Washington, both parents have custody of their children and the court enters a parenting plan which designates where the children will be each day of the year. This may include the pre-school schedule, school schedule, holidays, special occasions, vacation, and other periods of time important to your family. There can also be limits to a parent's residential time and decision making. We are experienced representing clients in Pierce County Family Court in Tacoma in custody and parenting plan actions. Parenting plans are an issue in divorce and legal separation case when children are involved as well as cases where the parents have never been married. If the parents have not been married, a paternity case will need to be filed if the parents have not signed and properly filed an affidavit of paternity. If the parents are already legally established, a petition to establish a parenting plan and child support will need to be filed. The judge can consider a variety of factors when deciding a temporary and final parenting plan in Washington. Our experienced custody attorneys in Tacoma can help you decide what to ask for in your parenting plan.

Child Support

In Washington, the family court enters child support orders in divorce, legal separation, and parenting plan cases. This can include support for minor children as well as support for college. These cases are generally heard in Tacoma when the parties and children are Pierce County residents. People are understandably concerned about how much child support they will receive or be ordered to pay. In Washington, the family court is required to use a formula set forth in the child support worksheets. The court then has discretion to award a deviation in child support based upon different factors in the statute. Among the many reasons for a deviation are children who are supported from other relationships and a parent having a significant amount of time with the children. A deviation can be either an increase or more commonly, a decrease from the standard calculation in the child support worksheets. These cases can be complex and fact specific. Our Pierce County family law attorneys are here to help you to determine what child support should be as well as any potential deviation. In addition to the standard monthly payment of child support, the court can also award tax exemptions, daycare, uninsured healthcare expenses, health insurance, college, and other expenses as part of the child support order.

Spousal Support

When one spouse makes more than another spouse, the court may enter an award of spousal support. Under Washington law, the court considers many factors which include the income of both spouses, length of the marriage, age of the parties, health of the parties and more. Unlike child support, there are no spousal support worksheets for the family court to determine the spousal maintenance amount. Additionally, the amount of maintenance and the length of maintenance can vary from judge to judge depending on the facts of the case. If spousal support is an issue in your case, an experienced divorce lawyer in Pierce County should be consulted. Our attorneys are experienced helping clients obtain spousal support through divorce court in Tacoma.

Parent-Child Relocation

Sometimes it is desirable or necessary for a parent to move with the children. This can be for many reasons, including change of employment, marriage, family, and other reasons. If the parent wanting to relocate with the child has parenting time with the child under a parenting plan in the amount of 45% or more, the Washington child relocation act is triggered. There are specific documents that need to be filed and served as well as timelines that must be followed. If the relocating parent has more than 55% of the time under the parenting plan, there is a rebuttable presumption the parent will be allowed to relocate. The factors the court uses to determine relocation are provided for in statute. If the parent who wants to relocate with the children has between 45% and 55% of the residential time under the parenting plan, the court does not give the parent the presumption, rather, it uses the best interest of the child standard while using the statutory relocation factors. A seasoned attorney should be consulted to review your parenting plan and the relocation factors with you.

Modification

The laws in the state of Washington related to custody/parenting plans provide for modification in limited circumstances. The modification can be what is termed a "major modification" or a "minor modification". A major modification is where the parent who does not have most of the time seeks to change the primary home of the child. A minor modification does not change the primary residence of the child. The basis for a modification is defined by statute. Child support can be modified based upon a substantial change in circumstances or adjusted based upon a change in income of the parties after a set period in the child support order or statute. We can help you decide whether a modification action should be pursued in your case and explain the process to you.

Consult an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Pierce County

If you are going through or considering a divorce, legal separation, or a legal action regarding your children, understanding your rights and how to protect yourself is vital. At Seacoma Law, our Tacoma divorce lawyers have assisted hundreds of clients through the family court in Pierce County. We understand how important your case is and are here to passionately advocate for your interests. To schedule a no cost and no obligation consultation regarding divorce, parenting plan, child support, and any other family law matter, call us now at (253) 234-1934 or contact us online.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Clear and concise through the process. Jennifer Schroader took over a case from another attorney that was not in line with the desired outcome. After hearing the details and looking over existing materials, she was able to map a path to resolution and keep us informed of progress in a timely and unambiguous way. Being a family attorney, she understood the balance between the legal matters and how it affects the parties involved. She remained completely professional in all communications. I highly recommend a consultation to hire." James
★★★★★
"I hired Jennifer to assist me in a child custody battle. I was very impressed with her professionalism. Jennifer had many obstacles and shenanigans to deal with in my case. I couldn't be more happy with the outcome and the way she handled herself." Rebecca
★★★★★
"Jennifer really does give you the most bang for your buck. Super reasonable pricing. Lots of effort was noticeably made on her end to get the best results possible given the circumstances. Made me feel heard and cared about. Im not sure how things could get any better with the services that were provided." David
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