Olympia Legal Separation Attorneys

Gavel being held on family law bookThere are situations in which spouses wish to separate (physically, financially, or both) but they do not want to terminate their marriage completely. Couples have all sorts of reasons to remain married, including, religious beliefs against divorce, giving the marriage time for reconciliation, maintaining life insurance, and health and retirement benefits, ensuring that one spouse’s financial irresponsibility doesn’t impact the other spouse, or giving the parties time to get things in order before filing for divorce. Spouses do not have to obtain a formal separation decree, but if spouses just move out and live separately, then they may still be legally responsible for each other’s actions. By obtaining a “legal separation,” two individuals can maintain their marriage while protecting their own individual interests at the same time. If you are considering separating from your husband or wife, then it is important that you speak with a lawyer to understand all of your options. Our Olympia legal separation attorneys are able to assist with such matters. We also service Tacoma and other Washington areas.

Lawyers handling legal separations for residents of Olympia, Tacoma, and other Washington areas

There are consequences to Washington spouses going their separate ways without filing for a legal separation or divorce. These consequences stem from the fact that property or debt acquired while the parties are legally married will be considered “community” regardless of whose name the items were in or whether the parties were living together at that time.

Without a legal separation, your spouse may have a claim on your income and retirement assets, and you may be responsible for the spending habits and debts of your spouse. Also, if you have children, any agreement you have with your spouse regarding custody, visitation, and support is not enforceable. If the breakdown in communication between you and your spouse worsens, the fighting between spouses over children and finances could increase substantially. By obtaining a legal separation, spouses can protect themselves against such issues.

A legal separation provides Washington spouses with the legal protections of a divorce while allowing them to stay married. The Court will divide any assets and debts which were acquired during the marriage. Post-separation assets, wages, and debts will be considered “separate” in nature. If minor children are involved, then the Court will approve a parenting plan which sets out a residential schedule and legal custody. Legal separations allow spouses to go their separate ways while maintaining certain statuses which depend on their being legally married, e.g. retirement or health benefits. To understand whether this process is right for you, it is best to discuss your situation with an attorney.

Our Olympia lawyers assist those who wish to obtain a legal separation. We will use your initial consultation to help you understand whether you should choose such a process, or whether you may wish to file for divorce. Most legal separations occur upon an agreement by the spouses. We will draft a separation agreement and then file a Petition for Legal Separation with the Court using the same process as in an uncontested divorce. At the end of the process the Judge will sign a Final Separation Order (Decree). In handling your case, we will analyze your situation and take steps to ensure that your rights remain protected throughout the process. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Our firm also serves the Thurston County cities of Lacey, Tumwater, and Yelm, the Pierce County cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, and Lakewood, the Lewis County cities of Centralia, Chehalis, the King County cities of Seattle, Auburn, Bellevue, Burien, and Federal Way, as well as other areas in Washington, including Grays Harbor, Mason, Cowlitz, and Pacific Counties.

Olympia lawyers assisting with the conversion of legal separations into a divorce

It is not uncommon for parties to obtain a legal separation, and then decide to end their marriage altogether. Fortunately, Washington law allows this to be done relatively easily. Six months after the Court enters the Final Separation Order (Decree), the parties may file a motion to convert the Separation Order into a Divorce Order (Dissolution Decree).

If you are in need of assistance, contact us today to speak with an attorney. Our lawyers are honored to serve those in Olympia, and in other areas, and we take our commitments very seriously. We are ready to assist you.