Bellevue Family Law Frequently Asked Questions
Making important decisions about your family's future can be difficult -- and learning about the legal avenues that can make those changes happen can also be hard. This page of Bellevue, WA, divorce frequently asked questions is here to help those who are learning about Seattle family law issues such as divorce, child custody, domestic violence, and divorce mediation.
Do you have a question that isn't addressed below? Contact us today to talk to an experienced Seattle family law attorney.
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Am I still owed child support if the father is unemployed?
Normally, if a non-custodial parent defaults on child support payments, the Division of Child Support can take action to collect, such as withholding the parent’s income. But what if the parent does not have a job, loses his job, or owes back child support?
You, and your child, are owed child support payments even if the non-custodial parent does not have a job. In order collect child support from an unemployed father (or mother), DCS will take other collection actions in lieu of wages, including:
- Unemployment benefits – DCS can take possession of up to half of a parent’s unemployment benefits and redirect the funds to the Washington State Support Registry (WSSR) for the custodial parent’s use. If half of the amount of your benefits is not enough to cover the amount due, the unemployed parent is still responsible for the difference.
- Bank balances – DCS may collect any funds held in the unemployed parent’s bank account, or property held in safety deposit boxes, as well as taking possession of any cash settlements from lawsuits that the parent has won.
- Unearned benefits – DCS may take any income provided by workers’ compensation, pensions (that are not protected by federal law), and any other non-earned funds such as cash gifts and give them to the custodial parent.
Even if DCS collects funds from the non-custodial parent on your child’s behalf, it is likely that the amount will not be enough to provide for your family. Most courts allow the custodial parent a “basic support” schedule, which is the minimum amount a non-custodial parent must pay. However, there are often additional expenses not laid out on the schedule, such as the child’s educational costs, traveling costs to visit family members, and unforeseen medical costs—getting payment for these after a schedule has been set can be tricky.
Want to know exactly how much child support you are owed, or if you can increase the amount of your current benefits? Click the link on this page to download our FREE booklet, The Savvy Woman's Guide to Divorce in Washington.
What should I do if someone I know is suffering from spousal abuse?
Most people don’t like to pry into their friends’ relationships. Even if a couple you know has been having trouble, you respect their privacy. But what if you suspect that one of your friends is being dominated—or even abused—by someone who claims to love them?
Five Ways You Can Help
There are many ways to be supportive and helpful to a friend who is suffering abuse in her relationship. Here are five things you can do today if someone has told you that she is afraid of her spouse or boyfriend:
- Listen to her story – Not only will listening make your friend feel stronger, you may also act as a witness on her behalf in court if the situation escalates.
- Offer help, not advice – Avoid trying to help her “fix” the situation; the abuser will not change his behavior no matter what she does.
- Keep her secret – Many women are afraid to speak out about their abuse because they are ashamed or they are afraid it will get back to the abuser. Keep your conversation in confidence until she has safely relocated.
- Make a plan – Ask your friend specific questions about what she is going to do and where she will go, and don’t accept “I don’t know.” You can tell her it’s only a precaution for an emergency, but it is vital that she has a go-to option if the worst happens.
- Get help – Many victims are afraid to research their situation because they are being watched closely. You can collect names and phone numbers on her behalf and find safe ways to transmit them to her.
The first action you must take is to get your friend away from the abuser and in a safe place where she can regain control. If you are ready to get legal protection from an abusive situation, click the contact link on this page to let us know how we can get in touch with you.
Will my ex-husband be allowed visitation rights for our child if he has a history of abuse?
After a divorce, most state courts will make an effort to allow both parents access to a child. This includes Washington State, which provides that any parent who does not have custody of a child should be granted reasonable visitation rights.
However, there are situations where visitation may be limited or even prohibited if a parent is considered a threat to the child’s well-being. In addition to losing child visitation rights for committing physical or sexual abuse, a parent may lose visitation privileges if he or she:
- Has been convicted as an adult sex offender
- Has emotionally abused the child
- Has a demonstrated history of domestic violence
- Previously abandoned the child
- Caused any sort of bodily harm to come to the child
These facts should be presented during divorce proceedings in order to limit the offending parent’s contact with the child. If there is not sufficient evidence to restrict a non-custodial parent’s access, your ex-spouse may be granted limited or supervised visitation rights as part of the divorce’s parenting plan.
If these visits pose a serious threat to the child, you will have to apply for a modification of child custody. This means that you will have to present a motion to modify custody and provide evidence that supports your decision. In order to be effective, you will have to prove that there have been changes that affect the circumstances of the original custody arrangement and that the child will be best served by the modification.
Domestic violence can affect your custody rights years after the abuse has taken place. Click the related links on this page to find out more about how your family could be affected, or fill out the consult box on this page to let us know how to contact you with more information.
What does “conscious uncoupling” mean exactly, and how might this differ from a typical divorce or separation?
A divorce or a legal separation can be a very difficult, and often stressful, time for each party involved. Anger, suspicions, denial, confusion, relief, and grief are just a few types of emotions that you might be feeling throughout this process.
If you’re looking for a way to avoid some of this frustration, one option could be to follow the now popularized by Hollywood “conscious uncoupling” method.
So How Is a “Conscious Uncoupling” Different From Most Divorces?
A conscious uncoupling features these requirements:
- The airing of grievances – This involves both parties sharing their frustrations and listening to the other’s points of view. This can be done with the help of a therapist or mediator to help aid in the process of keeping things amicable.
- Burying the anger – This is a crucial part of the process, because this allows for healing to occur, even if the relationship is ending. Learning to move past the anger and forgive allows both parties to maintain the bond they share, even if the romantic commitment to each other has ceased.
- Caring for each other because of your relationship – The goal is to focus on your former partner’s strengthening positives rather than emphasizing the negatives throughout the future.
Ultimately, the idea is to have a thoughtful and thorough completion of a relationship or marriage. All efforts should be made to end the union with closure and amity.
This can be different from a typical divorce because the primary focus is not on who gets the house in Bellevue, how’s the money going to get divided, or whether Issaquah or Bellevue has a better school district for the kids to live in. Rather, the end attempt is to aid both individuals in finding healing and wholeness through divorce. In the end, no one is “the bad guy,” and the entire family can remain as unified as possible under the circumstances.
All of those things do have to be considered, but ultimately happen as secondary issues, and not as the primary, “get what you’re rightfully owed” result.
Do you have any thoughts on the idea of “conscious uncoupling” vs. a more common divorce or legal separation? Want to learn more? Connect with Molly and the rest of the team on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.
Can a spouse’s financial deception be an issue in a Seattle divorce?
Yes. Unfortunately, financial deception is a common concern in Seattle divorce proceedings. While Washington State is a “no fault” divorce state, meaning that a divorce may be granted if one spouse believes the marriage is irretrievably broken, a financial deception may still be relevant to your Seattle divorce case.
Proving that financial deception occurred may be irrelevant to your grounds for divorce. However, it could be important in your divorce settlement. It could signal to your divorce lawyer that further investigation needs to be done into your marital, and separate, assets to make sure that you have a true accounting of your marital estate and to make sure that your property is fairly divided in a divorce settlement.
What You Should Do
Your spouse may have broken your trust and compromised your financial future. You shouldn’t have to suffer any more than necessary because of his or her actions. Instead, you should tell your divorce lawyer everything that you know about the financial deception and about all of your financial assets and liabilities so that a proper investigation can occur and a fair divorce settlement can be reached.
For more information about how to protect your assets during a divorce where financial deception is a factor, please contact us today for a confidential consultation. You can also learn more about your rights by downloading a complimentary copy of one of our books: The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Divorce in Washington or The Thinking Man’s Guide to Divorce in Washington.
My Seattle Divorce Mediator Doesn’t Seem To Be Supporting Me. Why?
It may seem that your divorce Seattle divorce mediator isn’t supporting your goals during the mediation process, and it may seem that way because it is true. It is not the mediator’s job to support you—the mediator does not represent you.
Here’s What a Seattle Divorce Mediator Should Do
It is a mediator’s job to help you and your soon to be ex-spouse reach an agreement. The mediator does not have to explain all of your options to you, nor does the mediator have to make sure that you choose the best option available to you. Instead, the mediator will go back and forth between you and your soon to be ex-spouse until some kind of legally enforceable agreement has been reached.
You Deserve Support
There are many benefits to mediation. It can save you time and money during the divorce process. However, it is important that you get the support that you need to make sure that you are reaching a mediation agreement that is in your best interests. To that end, you may choose to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who can coach you throughout the mediation process and make sure that your rights are protected in a way that a mediator cannot.
If you have questions about how to handle your divorce, then we encourage you to read one of our FREE divorce guides, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Divorce in Washington or The Thinking Man’s Guide to Divorce in Washington and to contact us directly for a confidential consultation.
Should I sign a Washington State divorce mediation agreement without my lawyer?
Once you sign a Washington State divorce mediation agreement the content of that agreement is binding unless and until it is legally changed. In other words, you cannot wake up the next morning and decide that you are not going to abide by the terms of the agreement. Instead, if you believe that the agreement is not in your best interest, or the best interest of your children, you will need to go back to mediation or to court.
Accordingly, the question that you ask is an important one. You have the right to work with a lawyer during the mediation process. You should understand everything that is in your Washington State divorce mediation agreement and consider having your attorney look at it before you sign it.
You and your soon to be ex-spouse may be able to dissolve your marriage through mediation rather than the courts. You may even get along really well and avoid conflict. However, that does not mean that you are on the same side in this situation. You may have competing interests and it is not the mediator’s role to advise you about what to do. Thus, we encourage you to contact a lawyer not only before you sign a mediation agreement but before you even begin the mediation process.
For more information, please download a complimentary copy of our books about divorce in Washington, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Divorce in Washington or The Thinking Man’s Guide to Divorce in Washington.
I was a stay at home mom to my kids on Bainbridge Island. My kids are now grown and my husband wants a divorce. I never contributed to a retirement plan, but my husband has retirement accounts. I’m scared about the future—how can I protect my rights in a Bainbridge Island divorce?
You are right to be concerned. If your kids are grown then you may be rapidly approaching retirement age yourself and you may have relied on the accounts that your husband was funding to support you during your retirement years.
Washington State divorce law recognizes that both spouses may be entitled to retirement account money, even if only spouse was contributing to the accounts during the marriage. The law recognizes that you and your husband were a team and that you built a life together. Accordingly, retirement accounts—including the 401(k)—may be divided when a couple divorces.
You Have Options
Generally, there are two ways to divide retirement property during a Bainbridge Island divorce. You can buy out the account and then divide it into separate accounts or you can avoid taxes and penalties that hurt you both by entering a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO, often pronounced QUADRO). Once a QDRO is entered, you may have the right to leave the funds where they are and access them later, move the funds to an IRA rollover account, take out some of the money and roll over some of the money, or cash out.
You do not have to make these decisions on your own. Each of these options have different tax implications that you should talk about with your Bainbridge Island divorce lawyer. Please contact us today for a confidential consultation.
How does teen testimony in Washington divorce trials work?
Please be assured that you are not the only parent with concerns about teen testimony in Washington divorce trials. It is natural to want to protect your child and it is important to understand how teen testimony is handled in Washington courts.
Washington judges consider the thoughts and opinions of children when deciding on issues of child custody during a divorce trial. That being said, your child may or may not have to testify in open court.
The Judge Will Consider Your Child’s Age, Maturity and Ability
In some cases, a child may testify on the stand in open court. However, in other cases, a judge may use his or her discretion to have the child “testify” in the more informal and comfortable environment of the judge’s chambers rather than in open court. In making this decision, the judge will consider your child’s:
- Age – Children who are 16 or 17-years-old may be treated differently than children who are 13 or 14-years-old.
- Maturity – A court will consider a child’s maturity, emotional needs, and ability to articulate sound reasoning.
- Other relevant factors – If your child was abused or has a cognitive disability, for example, then the court may consider these special circumstances.
You and Your Child Will Not Be Alone
Teen testimony in Washington divorce cases can be difficult for both the child and the parents. However, an experienced divorce lawyer can make this difficult situation easier. If you are concerned about child custody proceedings then please contact a Washington child custody attorney today for a confidential consultation.
Can “cabin fever” cause domestic violence and abuse?
Let’s be clear—there is absolutely no excuse for domestic violence and family abuse. Although abusers often like to blame others and other circumstances for their outbursts and behavior, it is ultimately their hand that causes the violence.
With that being said, there are circumstances and situations that have been linked to higher rates of domestic violence – factors that can increase the likelihood of abuse. For example, domestic violence has been correlated with drugs and alcohol, financial stress, past abuse, and unemployment.
Although no formal studies have been conducted regarding the relationship between winter weather and domestic violence, many agree that there is a connection between being cooped up in the home during winter and family abuse incidents. Some domestic abuse hotlines have reported up to a 20 percent increase in calls during the winter months and snowstorms, while authorities in the United Kingdom have reported an uptick in domestic violence calls during heavy rains.
Experts say that abuse connected with winter weather and cabin fever probably comes about simply because family members are contained in a small space with little opportunity for escape. Abusers may not have a way to release their anger, while abuse victims may not have a way to escape from the home when tempers start to flare.
If you believe you may be in danger of violence or abuse during the winter months, you should know that there are a number of resources available to you in Washington State and the Seattle area. Please visit our domestic violence resources to learn more about who can help.
Why should I compromise during my divorce?
Why should you bother to compromise with the person you are divorcing? Isn’t the time for compromise over? Isn’t it finally time that you got your way?
Not just yet. If you choose divorce mediation, you have a little more compromising to do before you are finally free to start your new life. During mediation, you must work with your ex to divide your property and assets. It can seem impossible to come to a fair and equitable solution. Here are three good reasons why you will want to try to compromise with your ex during mediation:
- Your divorce may become more expensive – If you choose not to compromise during mediation, mediation will last longer or even fail altogether. This means a more expensive divorce and less settlement money.
- You will fail to establish a solid co-parenting relationship with your spouse – If you have children, you will likely need to continue a relationship with your spouse, albeit a non-romantic one. One of the best ways to begin a healthy co-parenting relationship is by making sure the divorce mediation process involves open communication and compromise.
- Your mediation will likely fail – It is extremely difficult to find a solution to a problem without compromise—especially a solution that is fair enough to be approved by a judge. Without compromise, you may find yourself in court, battling for what you want. This can make the process long, expensive, and emotionally draining.
It can be extremely difficult to compromise with someone that you likely have a number of unresolved conflicts with. However, making compromises during divorce mediation can help you finalize your divorce quicker and for less money. It can also set the foundation for a successful co-parenting relationship, which will mean a lot to your children.
Want to learn more about divorce mediation in Washington State? Follow us on Facebook.
Do I need a mediator for my prenuptial agreement? Related Links:
Some couples are able to negotiate their prenuptial agreement without the help of a mediator, but others can benefit from the help of an unbiased third party. In fact, hiring a mediator to assist with your prenuptial agreement could ensure that you come to a fair agreement for both parties, and that your document will hold up in court if needed.
How Can a Mediator Help?
A mediator can make certain that you are both communicating in a helpful, open, and honest way – and that neither party is being coerced or strong-armed into an agreement. A mediator can also help walk you through conflicts and disagreements related to the prenup, both by keeping you on track and by assisting you in understanding the other side.
In a mediated prenup, the couple talks about the prenup face-to-face. Without a mediator, the prenup may be discussed by their lawyers or in a series of non-official conversations. The mediator can offer you advice as well as information about Washington State divorce law and how your prenup would change those laws.
In addition, having a mediator can help prevent bad feelings from forming between you and your partner during the agreement process. You do not want either person to feel bad about your relationship before you are even married. You also do not want negative feelings and property issues to follow you to the altar.
Do you want to learn more about legal issues that you should discuss with your partner before your wedding day? Watch Molly B. Kenny discuss Washington State prenuptial agreements and other related pre-marriage legal topics on New Day Northwest.
How Can I Communicate Effectively During My Divorce Mediation?
Many people don’t believe divorce mediation will work for them because they cannot have a productive discussion with the spouse that they are divorcing. If they could communicate well, would they have been able to avoid divorce in the first place?
It is important to understand that even if you often argue with your spouse, divorce mediation may still be a viable option as long as you are willing to follow the instructions of your mediator, and as long as you are open to following the rules of effective communication. Arguing about aspects of your marriage is very different from working together to divide your property and create a parenting plan for your children.
First and foremost, be sure that you speak with your mediator about the guidelines of effective communication: active listening, compromise, and understanding. When your spouse is speaking, listen to what they say, take notes, and make eye contact with them. Before you begin your response, make certain that you understand what they said and why. Pay attention to your own tone, volume, and body language—how you say something can be just as important as what you say.
Secondly, be sure to accept the help of your mediator, he or she is there to help you communicate and to avoid conflict. Your mediator can assist you in many ways—including helping you communicate points, understanding your spouse, and working toward a solution.
Finally, make an effort to keep your emotions in check. While divorce can be an extremely emotional process, the divorce mediation process can be harmed by an overly emotional approach.
What is a de facto parent?
In the last ten years, Washington State courts have recognized something called a “de facto” parent – A person who is not biologically tied to the child and a person who has not legally adopted the child, but someone who has been acting as a parent for much of the child’s life.
In 2005, a child custody battle between a lesbian couple caused the Washington Supreme Court to rule in favor of a de facto parent. It argued that since the non-biological parent raised the child from birth and acted in a parent in every way, she should have the rights of a parent during the child custody case.
However, it is important to understand that winning child custody rights and child visitation by claiming to be a de facto parent is difficult to do. Under the definition, a de facto parent must:
- Have had the consent of the natural parent to act in a parent-like role.
- Live with the child in the same home.
- Have assumed many or all of the obligations of parenthood without financial compensation.
- Have formed a permanent and loving bond with the child in question.
Since the 2005 de facto parent case, several non-biological parents have successfully argued for child custody. However, it is difficult to meet the above requirements—especially for stepparents and grandparents. It is also difficult to be named a de facto parents if the other biological parent are still living and wish to have child custody and visitation rights.
Do you have a question about de facto parents or Washington child custody law? Contact the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today.
If I grew up with domestic violence, is my family more likely to experience abuse?
Unfortunately, yes. A domestic violence study of 1,600 families around the country has found that 80 percent of children who grew up experiencing domestic violence were also involved in domestic violence disputes as adults. Also, that 75 percent of children who grew up with domestic violence reported being the victim of domestic abuse.
However, knowing that you are more likely to experience domestic violence as an adult can help you to avoid this terrible cycle of violence. Simply being aware of the link between growing up witnessing intimate partner abuse and being involved in intimate partner abuse as an adult is a huge step in the right direction. In addition, you may wish to talk to your spouse about domestic violence, seek counseling for past domestic abuse issues, and talk to your kids about domestic abuse. Perhaps the best thing you can do to break the cycle of violence is modeling a loving and kind relationship for your own children to witness.
Taking action when you are the victim of abuse is also vital to stopping the “family tradition” of domestic abuse. Understand that domestic violence is absolutely against the law and that calling the police during a domestic dispute is often the safest action to take for you and your family. Escaping the abuse is the first step toward healing—and the first step toward protecting your children from the long-term consequences of abuse.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, you may wish to speak with an experienced Seattle domestic violence attorney about the legal aspects of your case. Contact the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today to get your questions answered at 425-460-0550.
What should I do if I see or hear a domestic dispute?
Domestic abuse and domestic violence is far too common and there may come a time when you witness a domestic violence incident or overhear a fight between partners. What should you do?
While all cases are different, here are a few actions that most domestic violence advocates can agree on:
- Keep yourself safe – Although you may wish to be a hero and save the day, domestic disputes can be complex and dangerous—especially if some people involved are out of control. If you feel that the situation is at all unsafe, call the police immediately.
- Remember that it’s not a private family matter – It is a misconception that domestic violence is between family members and therefore not a public issue. Domestic violence is a crime, plain and simple. Would you report other crimes if you saw them committed in public?
- Call the police – A domestic dispute is likely breaking the law, whether someone is being physically assaulted or whether the couple is disturbing the peace. Instead of wondering what to do, let the Seattle Police decide what actions to take and whether someone should be arrested. At the very least, the authorities can deescalate the situation. That’s what they are here for.
If you suspect domestic violence but an assault or dispute is not currently taking place, there are still steps you can take to help. Express your concern to the victim if you are able to do so in a private place. Don’t judge or criticize. Let them know that you are there to help. It is difficult to know what goes on behind closed doors, even if you are close to the person that you think may be suffering abuse in his or her home. However, if you are seeing a large number of warning signs of domestic abuse and domestic violence, you should know that it is important that you speak up. While you should not pressure your loved one or give them advice, you should let them know that you are there for them, listen to what they have to say, and offer any help that you can. In addition, make sure that they know of the many local resources for abuse victims in Washington State.
Do you need the assistance of a Seattle domestic abuse attorney, or do you have a question about domestic violence law? Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today to schedule an appointment at 425-460-0550.
Why Do So Many Celebrities Choose Divorce Mediation?
We don’t know much about the final settlement between Hollywood superstars Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and it is not for want of trying. The TomKat split was surly filled with juicy details about the couple’s life together, their complex finances, and their daughter, Suri. However, even though the couple had a number of public disagreements and troubles before their divorce, they were able to settle privately in divorce mediation.
Why did they choose divorce mediation over litigation? By not going to court to battle in front of the world, they were able to keep almost all of the details of their life and marriage from the public—as well as keep the details of their settlement from the media. Everyone involved in the process, including Cruise, Holmes, their attorneys, and the mediator, are not allowed to speak about the agreement.
In addition, the details of their child custody agreement are also under wraps, protecting the entire family from unwanted publicity.
Of course, the decision to choose divorce mediation does not end at privacy concerns. Mediation likely saved the millionaire couple a significant amount of money. Cooperating behind closed doors during mediation is almost always less expensive than a court battle, which often involves a much longer process and more hours with your attorney.
Divorce mediation is not just for millionaire celebrities and Hollywood stars. Each year, more and more ordinary couples are choosing mediation over litigation for some of the similar reasons that Tom and Katie avoided a courtroom battle. To learn more about whether divorce mediation might be a good choice for your family, call a Washington mediation attorney at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550.
What should I do if I believe my kids are at risk for a parental kidnapping or family abduction?
The vast majority of child abduction cases in the United States involve a family member, such as mother, father, or grandparent. If you are locked in a hostile child custody dispute, or if you have other reason to believe that your children may be at risk for a parental kidnapping, there are several steps you should take to protect them:
- Talk with your ex – If your ex is at all reasonable, communication may be the best way to avoid an escalation. Studies have shown that just a few hours of counseling can drastically lower parental abductions. At the same time, many abductors have said that they took the kids because they felt no one was listening to them or helping them.
- Be ready – Do you have recent pictures of your child? Do you know their height and weight? Do you know the license plate numbers of your ex’s vehicles? Make sure that you have the information you need if an abduction were to take place.
- Talk to the authorities – If you believe that your ex may take your children, tell someone! You can start with your attorney, the court, or the police. If the threat is a real one, they will act immediately. If an abduction is still only a possibility, they can help you prevent one and give you the resources you need.
It is important to understand that if you see concrete signs of an abduction, such as plane tickets, packed luggage, or written proof, you need to act immediately. Call the police and make sure your children are safe.
Do you need the help of a Washington child custody attorney? The lawyers at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny may be able to lend their assistance. Call today to schedule an appointment at 425-460-0550.
How long before our wedding should we sign a prenuptial agreement?
Last month, Bellevue divorce attorney Molly Kenny stopped by Seattle’s morning talk show New Day Northwest to discuss pre-wedding legal issues. One question Kenny answered was in regard to prenuptial agreements: how long before a marriage should you discuss a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse?
The sooner that you speak to your partner about creating and signing a prenuptial agreement, the better. Six months out from your wedding date is a great place to start. Why do you need to think about this legal document this early?
- Prenuptial agreements need to be freely and fully negotiated. If your document ever comes into question, the judge will want to verify whether both parties were part of negotiations and how long details were discussed. If your agreement was drafted and signed very quickly before the wedding, it may be found invalid in court.
- You need time to get full disclosure. Each future spouse should have a full and detailed look at his or her partner’s assets, debts, and financial situations.
- No one should feel pressure. The sooner you speak about a prenuptial agreement, the more likely your partner will have time to get comfortable about the idea and figure out what they want the agreement to look like.
- You need time to draft the document. Getting a lawyer, negotiating the contract, and drafting the document takes time and planning.
Do you need assistance with your prenuptial agreement in Washington State? Contact Bellevue divorce attorney Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550. We’re standing by to help.
What Is The Difference Between Mediation and Collaborative Divorce?
In most ways, divorce mediation and divorce collaboration are similar: in both processes, the couple communicates openly and works together to come to a fair and equitable settlement outside of court. Both processes usually take less time and cost less money than litigation. Both are usually more private and less stressful.
However, there are several important differences.
The most significant difference between mediation and collaborative divorce is that in collaborative divorce there is not a neutral mediator who oversees the settlement process as there is in mediation. Instead, collaborative divorce consists of a team working toward one goal. This team consists of you and your spouse, the attorneys hired by you and your spouse, and a varying number of experts, such as a financial expert and a psychologist.
In mediation, the mediator guides you and your spouse through the process, asking questions, suggesting compromises, and making sure that the couple doesn’t stray off topic or come to an unfair decision. Attorneys are rarely present in the room. In collaborative divorce, you are supported by your attorney, who works with your spouse’s attorney to find a solution. While some people prefer to be alone with their spouse and the unbiased moderator, others prefer to be in a room along with their attorney during the settlement process.
Do you have more questions about divorce mediation and divorce collaboration? The Seattle divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny can help you understand which is better for your divorce, your family, and your situation. To get your questions answered, and to get the support and guidance of a knowledgeable divorce mediation attorney, call our offices today at 425-460-0550.