Frequently Asked Questions About Filing For Divorce in Bellevue

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 frequently asked questions is here to help those who are learning about Seattle family law issues related to the divorce process.

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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  • Can I delay my Washington divorce proceedings?

    The court may reschedule or pause the divorce proceedings if there is a good reason to do so. However, when you wish to delay or stop your Washington divorce, it is important to ask yourself why you want to do so and what the delay will accomplish. You may also wish to speak with your Seattle divorce lawyer about why you may need more time before finalizing your divorce.

    You must realize that although you may be able to delay your divorce, you cannot stop a divorce as long as your spouse wants to move ahead with it.

    There are a number of valid reasons to delay a divorce or reschedule a court hearing (request a continuance):

    • You need more time to seek legal advice or legal counsel.
    • You would like to collect more evidence.
    • You will not be able to make an appearance on the court date.
    • You need more time to prepare.

    The sooner you ask for a delay, the more likely you are that it will be granted.

    If you would like to delay the divorce to try to work on your marriage, the divorce process may be able to be delayed as long as both parties agree that they would like to try reconcile through family counseling or mediation.

    It is not advised to seek to delay your divorce simply because you do not wish to get divorced, because you would like to inconvenience your spouse, or because of a financial reason.

    Do you need a Seattle divorce attorney? Call Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550.

  • What should I wear to court for my divorce?

    You might want someone to notice your clothing if you are dressing for a party or event. But when you have a court date for your divorce trial, you do not want anyone to be surprised by what you are wearing, especially the judge.

    The best advice for how to dress for your divorce court date is this: pick something clean, respectful, professional, and plain.

    Here is a short list of don’ts:

    • Don’t wear anything revealing.
    • Don’t wear trendy, designer clothing.
    • Don’t wear flashy jewelry.
    • Take out all visible piercings besides ear piercings.
    • If possible, don’t wear anything that shows your tattoos.
    • Don’t wear a hat.
    • Don’t wear anything casual, including t-shirts, sandals, shorts, tank tops, sunglasses, or jeans.
    • Don’t wear anything that is dirty or damaged.
    • Don’t wear anything that is uncomfortable, especially to sit in.
    • Stay away from very bright colors or anything that makes a “statement.”

    So, what should you wear? Think about what you might wear to a business meeting or professional event and think about how you would like the judge to see you. Remember that you don’t want your clothes to be noticed or commented on, you just want to look clean, presentable, and respectful. Also make sure that you are comfortable, as trials can take time and require your close attention.

    Is your divorce headed for court? You may wish to have the assistance of a Washington divorce attorney. To learn more about our legal services, contact the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today: 425-460-0550.

  • Can We Be Legally Separated and Still Live in the Same House?

    Yes, you can be legally separated and still live in the same house, just as you can be legally divorced in Washington State and live in the same house. Getting a divorce or a legal separation cuts many ties between two people, but they still have the freedom to live under the same roof if they wish. While this may seem odd to many, some divorced or legally separated couples choose to continue living together for any number of reasons. Some wish to continue raising their children together, while others choose to stay together in the same physical space for financial reasons. 

    Legal separation and divorce are surprisingly similar in Washington State: at the end of both processes, the couple has no financial ties and has divided their shared property, assets, and debts. The only technical difference is that a legally separated couple is still legally married. Why do some people choose legal separation? Today, legal separation is often an option for couples who still want some of the benefits of being married (such as health insurance coverage), couples that belong to a religion that frowns upon divorce, and couples who are unsure about the finality of divorce. 

    Are you considering a legal separation or a divorce? Are you unsure of which option is best for you and your family? Hiring an experienced and assertive Seattle divorce attorney can help make sure that you know your legal options and the pros and cons of each. To schedule an appointment at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, call today: 425-460-0550.

  • How long does a divorce take in Washington State?

    Technically, a divorce in Washington State can be finalized 90 days after the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed and is signed by both spouses (or is signed by one spouse and served to the other spouse). However, many divorces take longer than 90 days to finalize due to a number of different factors. 

    Here are just a few issues that could delay your divorce process: 

    • Child custody or child visitation issues
    • Child support or spousal support issues 
    • Divorce of property disagreements
    • Domestic violence issues
    • An uncooperative spouse
    • Divorce after many decades
    • Divorce involving complicated finances or a family business

    Generally, the fastest divorces are uncontested divorces between amicable couples who do not have complex finances or who do not have children. The slowest divorces take place between acrimonious couples who require multiple court dates and a trial in order to resolve issues like division of property and child custody. On average, an uncontested divorce will take three months, while a contested divorce may take a year or even longer. 

    Generally, a longer, more complicated divorce is more expensive, while an uncontested divorce or a divorce handled through divorce mediation is shorter and less expensive. 

    An experienced and knowledgeable attorney will be able to make sure that your divorce is finalized as quickly as possible, keeping in mind any unique circumstances surrounding your divorce. To speak with a Seattle divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, call today: 425-460-0550.

  • Can my divorce be finalized before our marital house sells in Washington State?

    In many cases, the marital home is the largest asset a couple has—and what happens to the home is often the most important puzzle piece when dealing with the property settlement. Because of the recent recession and housing bubble burst, dealing with the marital home has become even more complex than in the past. Sometimes, the house may stay on the market for years, or the couple cannot make their mortgage payments, and the home goes into foreclosure. When the fate of the house is uncertain, can the divorce still be finalized? 

    While all divorces are different, the answer is usually, “yes.” Divorces are regularly finalized before all of the couple’s assets are allocated—and the fate of the home is decided in a separate property settlement agreement. However, there are instances in which a judge may order the house put up for sale before the divorce is finalized or that an official plan for the house is in place. 

    Although getting a divorce finalized before selling the marital home used to be rare, it has become more common because of the difficult housing market and the tough economy. More couples—with the help of their attorneys—are making non-traditional decisions regarding their marital homes, such as renting them out until the housing market improves.

    It is vital that, whatever happens to your marital home, you get your fair share during your divorce and property settlement. To ensure that you get the assets that you deserve during the divorce process, work with an experienced and knowledgeable Washington divorce attorney. To speak with a lawyer today, call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny at 425-460-0550.

  • Should Unhappy Newlyweds Consider Divorce?

    Preserving a happy and rewarding marriage can be much more difficult than couples realize—and many face serious challenges once they return from the honeymoon and enter the first months and years of marriage. Some might feel that they simply no longer love the person that they married, while others may find that they weren’t prepared for a long-term commitment. Still others may discover that an issue in the marriage, such as money problems, infidelity, or domestic abuse, makes continuing the union impossible. 

    But how can you know when you should work on your new marriage or whether you should seek a divorce and a fresh start with someone new? 

    While all relationships are different, it is important to take a close look at your feelings—and what the possible solutions are. Do you see any way of compromising with your spouse? Have you tried marriage counseling or other forms of more open communication? Do you believe that your differences will never be resolved? Have you made any attempts at reconciliation or change? Are you sure that your feelings will not change? 

    Keep in mind that there are some circumstances in which taking a “wait and see” approach may not be healthy or safe. If you are a newlywed who is dealing with issues like domestic abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, child abuse, or a spouse’s substance abuse, you should get help now and make certain that you are safe. 

    Do you need the assistance of a Seattle divorce attorney? The lawyers at the Law Office of Molly B. Kenny are here to help. Call us today to schedule a meeting: 425-460-0550.

  • Should I Keep Family Photographs After A Divorce?

    Long after your Seattle divorce has been finalized, the memories of your relationship live on through many objects in your home, from your wedding ring to your kitchen table. But perhaps the hardest things to look at are your old family photos—whether or not you believe that divorce was the right choice for you. 

    What you decide to do with your old photographs—from professional pictures of your engagement and wedding to casual shots of your vacations and anniversaries—depends heavily on what your marriage and divorce were like and on how you are adjusting to your new life. If your divorce was amicable and if you are comfortable focusing on the good times in your past, you may wish to keep the photographs, but just put them out of sight. If your marriage was a largely painful one, or if the details of your divorce ruined even the best memories, you might heal from throwing out old pictures. 

    If you have children—whether they are babies, adolescents, or adults—consider keeping your photographs even if you have no interest in them. Your children may find the pictures meaningful or, at the least, an interesting part of their history. If you have young children who are struggling with your divorce, consider hanging a family photo in their room so that they are reminded of the people that love them. 

    Do you need legal assistance as you navigate the divorce process in Washington State? The Bellevue divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny may be able to help. Call today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment: 425-460-0550.

  • How Do I Ask My Spouse for a Divorce?

    As you might guess, how you ask your spouse for a divorce depends on a number of individual factors: does your spouse know that your marriage isn’t going well? Have you discussed divorce in the past? Have you tried marriage counseling? 

    Realize that the way that you ask for a divorce may well color the remainder of your divorce process: asking for a divorce in a way that respects your current partner’s feelings and that makes your needs clear can increase your chances of a more amicable and fair divorce. Asking for a divorce during an argument, opening old wounds, or making overly hurtful statements may get you off on the wrong foot and cause more pain than necessary. While the vast majority of divorces will involve hurt feelings, sadness, and even anger, establishing good communication and mutual empathy during your initial conversation can help minimize these aspects of the process. 

    It is important to note that if your marriage involves domestic violence, emotional abuse, or substance abuse, you should approach asking your spouse for a divorce in a way that makes your safety and your children’s safety a priority. Ask for a divorce in a public place where you will not be in danger, and arrange for a place to go after the conversation happens. 

    The Bellevue divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny assist both men and women through the Washington State divorce process, including property division, child custody, parenting planning, and domestic violence issues. Call today to speak with one of our family lawyers: 425-460-0550.

  • Can I Complete the Divorce Process Without an Attorney in Washington State?

    Yes, you can absolutely file for a Washington State divorce without the help of an attorney. However, while this is a good avenue for a small minority of couples, many others will benefit from hiring an experienced family law attorney to make certain that their divorce process is handled fairly and that their rights are protected.

    Filing for divorce in Washington State requires filling out a number of documents, many of which are available online. After these documents are complete, you must file them and serve them to your spouse. If you and your spouse come to a divorce agreement, your divorce will be finalized within 90 days.

    Good candidates for filing for divorce without an attorney are those who have been married for a very short time, those without significant assets, those who have a strong understanding of the legal divorce process, and those who are largely in agreement regarding the divorce. You should absolutely not file for divorce without the help of an attorney if your spouse would like to go to trial, if you have substantial assets, if you have children and child custody concerns, if you are intimidated by your spouse, if your marriage involves domestic abuse, or if you have been married for a significant amount of time.

    A Seattle divorce attorney can help you make sure you and your children get what you deserve during the divorce process. To learn more, contact Molly B. Kenny today by calling 425-460-0550.

  • How Can I Help My Adult Child Through a Divorce?

    You spent 18 years helping your child through every conflict and obstacle in his or her life – and helping your child grow into an independent adult. Now that your child has announced his or her divorce, it can be difficult to know how you should reach out and help as well as how much space you should give your child.

    Before you take any actions, be sure to find out his or her needs. Everyone is different and the best way you can know what you should do is to ask. Your child may need a place to stay, someone to talk to regularly, a shoulder to cry on, or help with the kids. On the other hand, you child may ask for some distance and privacy.

    Whatever you do, be sure to be supportive but neutral. This is not the time for you to voice your opinions on your child’s spouse or the time to engage in any type of family drama. This is also not the time to show your support through negative actions or words. Give love to your child, stay neutral but respective of his or her spouse, and spend time with your grandchildren. Try to reign in emotions and judgments – and remember that this is not your relationship.

    Have more questions about divorce in Washington State? Contact Seattle family law attorney Molly Kenny today.

  • Is there such a thing as a “good divorce”?

    You’ve probably heard the myth of the good divorce: the couple who mutually decided that their marriage wasn’t working out, had an amicable talk with their lawyers during an easy divorce, and now play racquetball together once a week and go on family vacations together with their kids.

    While these divorces probably do exist in small numbers, it’s important to understand that your focus shouldn’t be on a good divorce, it should be on the best divorce process possible for you and your kids. A “good divorce” requires certain behavior from both spouses – you can only control your behavior and your choices. For many, the focus should be on a fair, fast, and equitable divorce that offers you a new start and nothing more.

    Keep in mind, too, that “good divorces” don’t always start off as good divorces. Divorce is usually a painful time filled with change, confusion, and uncertainty. A new study has shown that many ex-spouses are able to improve their co-parenting relationship with their ex-partner in time, with the help of good communication, growing maturity, and the realization that their kids need them to get along.

    A “good divorce” might be elusive, but a good divorce lawyer doesn’t have to be. At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, our Bellevue divorce attorneys make certain that your divorce is as just and efficient as possible. Call today to schedule a private appointment.

  • What are the special considerations associated with an interfaith divorce?

    If you are in an interfaith marriage, you likely understand that there were special considerations when you married and when you started a family – where to have your ceremony, how to raise your children, and which traditions and holidays to celebrate. You won’t be surprised to know that interfaith divorce also comes with unique challenges.

    By far the biggest concern with interfaith divorce is the religious upbringing of the couple’s children. Disagreement about the child’s exposure to different religions or cultures could lead to a spiritual custody dispute, while questions about the child’s primary physical custody could further complicate the issue.

    Another important issue surrounding interfaith divorce is religious divorce – some religions, like Judaism and Catholicism, offer a religious divorce ceremony in addition to a legal divorce. In some cases, this may be important to you or your spouse. In addition, you may consider changes to your religious beliefs, spirituality, or cultural traditions in the wake of divorce, especially if you converted before or during your marriage.

    At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, we understand the unique issues that can accompany an interfaith divorce, especially when young children are involved. Our Seattle divorce attorneys can guide you through these issues and others – to learn more about our legal services, call us today at 425-460-0550.


  • Should we delay divorce to pay off our debts?

    During the recent recession, divorce rates plummeted. This trend wasn’t because couples were getting along better during hard economic times, it was because many couples didn’t want to separate until their financial situation improved. Some wanted to stay in their home until the housing market recovered, some wanted to pay off debt before starting a new life, and some simply didn’t want to switch to single incomes in an uncertain climate.

    When it comes to delaying divorce until your financial situation improves, only you and your spouse can make the right decision. Paying off debt before divorcing could make the separation process easier and more amicable, but stalling a divorce can also stall your fresh new start and cause more tension between you and your husband or wife.

    Another option to consider before stalling a divorce for financial reasons is choosing a low-cost divorce – by using divorce mediation and by working with your spouse to avoid arguments that can lead to high legal fees.

    Do you worry about delaying your divorce as well as your current and future financial situation? You may need the help of an experienced Bellevue divorce attorney. Give us a call today to schedule a private consultation.

  • Should we delay divorce for the sake of our children?

    Several studies have shown that very young children are often more affected by divorce and the consequences of divorce than older children and teens. However, this does not necessarily mean that you should delay a divorce simply for the sake of your children.

    Delaying a divorce that you know you want could also affect your children negatively. If you no longer love your spouse, your children will grow up without an accurate idea of what a caring, loving partnership looks like. Even worse, if you and your spouse continue to argue or even fight in front of your children, the emotional effects could be considerably worse than if you had simply ended your marriage when you were ready.

    It is still important to understand that younger children can suffer long-term issues tied to their parents’ early divorce if the divorce is not handled in a healthy manner. You can use the information learned from these studies to be extra aware of your children’s thoughts, feelings, and emotional needs before, during, and after your divorce. You can also use these facts to help both you and your spouse approach your divorce in a mature, even-tempered, and even caring manner.

    Do you need a Seattle divorce attorney? Molly B. Kenny is here for you during this difficult time. Call today to speak with an experienced family law attorney at 425-460-0550.

  • What Is Discernment Counseling?

    Discernment counseling is an emerging form of marriage counseling developed for couples that are considering the option of separation and divorce.

    Discernment counseling was developed recently by counselors who noticed that “mixed agenda” couples—couples in which one person wished for divorce and one person wished to work on the relationship—were not benefiting from traditional couples counseling. Instead of assuming that both partners wished to work on the marriage and fix their relationship, discernment counseling encourages couples to consider all of their options for moving forward, including divorce and separation, with the best interests of both of those involved at heart.

    Discernment counseling is not a great idea if both of you want to avoid divorce or if both of you are sure that divorce is the right choice. Discernment counseling is not yet widely available. While there is not yet enough data to gauge the effectiveness of the new type of counseling, the response from couples and counselors has been positive.

    Do you need legal help from an experienced Bellevue divorce attorney? Molly B. Kenny is here to guide you through the process quickly and adeptly. Call our office today at 425-460-0550 to learn more about your Washington divorce and get your questions answered. 

  • Should I Change My Last Name After My Washington State Divorce?

    Many women struggle with the option of changing their name in the wake of a Washington State divorce – should you keep your married name, revert to your maiden name, or pick a new surname to start your new chapter of life?

    Here are some issues to consider:

    • Do you have children? You may consider what their last name is and whether you’d like to share a last name with them.
    • Have you had your name for very long? Changing your name may be easier after a short marriage than after a few decades with your married surname.
    • Would a name change affect your professional life? If you have been published or if you are well recognized and established in your field of work, you way wish to keep your married name for business or career reasons.
    • Do you want to do the paperwork? Changing your name will take a bit of effort and involve your bank accounts, drivers’ license, credit cards, and other accounts.
    • Do you see your name as a symbol? Some woman may see a name change as a chance to let go of their relationship and let go of the past.

    The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny can assist you with your divorce, child custody, or domestic violence case. Call a Seattle divorce attorney at 425-460-0550 today.

  • Does it Matter Who Initiates a Washington State Divorce?

    If you are expecting a relatively simple and low-conflict divorce, it probably does not matter whether you or your spouse initially file for divorce. However, if you believe that your divorce may involve a contentious court case or custody battle, it could be slightly advantageous to file for divorce.

    What are the advantages of filing for divorce? Being the petitioner (the person who files for divorce) instead of the respondent allows you to better set the pace for the coming divorce, especially when it comes to temporary orders regarding child support, alimony, and protection orders. The petitioner also gets to cite the reason for divorce, which the respondent may or may not agree with. Finally, a petitioner may simply feel empowered by being the one to file for divorce – especially if the person filing for divorce has felt a lack of control in the final years of marriage.

    None of these advantages are likely to change the outcome of the divorce significantly. To learn more about your own divorce case and whether there may be a good reason to file your Washington State divorce first, contact a Bellevue divorce attorney at our law offices today to discuss your case.

  • How long must I have lived in Washington in order to file for divorce in the state?

    There is no minimum length of time of residency required to file for divorce in Washington state. Any person who is currently a resident of Washington, who is in the armed forces and is station in Washington, or who is married to a resident of the state may file for divorce in a Washington state court.

    If you live in King or Snohomish county and are ready to file for divorce, contact The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny at 425-460-0550 or through our online contact form.

  • How Often Does Separation Lead to Divorce?

    According to the Gottman Institute in Seattle, which studies marriage, relationships, and divorce, about three out of four separations eventually lead to divorce. About 25 percent of separations are temporary.

    Why do some couples separate before they divorce?

    In some cases, a couple needs to feel the consequences and ramifications of a divorce before making a permanent choice. Some separate to give themselves time to sort out personal matters and talk through future property division. In still other cases, some couples may simply need the extra step in the divorce process to get used to the idea of being apart and starting a new chapter. In tough economic times, some couples may choose separation to keep sharing finances or to keep family health care plans.

    In short, while some couples use separation as a trial to see if divorce is the right choice for them, others use it as a stepping stone in the divorce process.

    Are you considering a legal separation or a Washington State divorce? Seattle divorce attorney Molly Kenny may be able to help you with your legal needs. Contact our law offices today get your questions answered by a knowledgeable professional.

  • How Will A Washington Divorce Affect My Health Insurance?

    A Washington State divorce will only affect your health insurance plan if you receive health insurance through your spouse. Family health insurance plans are valid for dependents only, and once a divorce is finalized, you are no longer considered a dependent of your spouse. Therefore, it is vital that you form a plan for continuing your health insurance coverage immediately after your divorce is final.

    There are a number of health insurance options available to you after a divorce, though many come with significant expense:

    • Sign on to your own employer's health insurance plan. 
    • Sign up for COBRA benefits. 
    • Sign up for a private individual insurance plan. 
    • Ask your ex to pay for your health insurance costs as part of the divorce settlement.

    It is important to realize that any gap in your health insurance coverage could result in higher payments and other complications. It is also important to note that applying for COBRA benefits is a temporary solution that may last for no longer than three years.

    How Will Divorce Affect My Children's Health Insurance Plan?

    How divorce will affect your children’s health insurance coverage depends on what type of coverage they have currently. However, in all divorces in which children are involved, it is vital that the issues of who is responsible for this expense and how this coverage will continue in the future are discussed and settled during the divorce process.

    If one spouse provides health insurance benefits for the rest of the family and the other spouse does not have independent coverage, it is advisable that a provision is included in the divorce that the children will continue to have coverage or that the other spouse will be reimbursed for the expense of coverage. 

    The worst-case scenario is if your spouse agrees to cover your children’s health insurance expenses but then does not follow through with that agreement. In these cases, you may need to sue your ex for contempt of court. 

    Are you worried about the continuing health care for you or your children after a divorce, or are you having difficulty with an ex-spouse who is not complying with his or her agreement to provide health insurance coverage to your kids? You may need the assistance of a Seattle family law attorney. Contact Bellevue divorce attorney Molly Kenny today at (425) 460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny