The legal separation page on this website may sound very familiar to the divorce page. That is because the two case types are very similar. The main differences between legal separation and divorce are (1) there is no mandatory 90-day waiting period to become legally separated; and (2) the parties do not become officially divorced, which means they cannot legally remarry. Otherwise the process and what must be resolved between the parties, or decided by the court, is the same.
At Harbor Family Law we will strive for an amicable resolution to legal separation cases to save our clients the emotional and financial strain that can accompany a contentious legal separation. Unfortunately, amicable resolutions are not always possible. In the event we cannot work with the other party for an agreed resolution, we will vigorously litigate on behalf of our clients to ensure their rights are fully protected and they experience the best possible result.
The Legal Separation Case
Legal Separation is a legal process wherein one spouse asks the court to separate them from their spouse without actually severing the bond of marriage. Like a divorce, the legal separation process can involve many important considerations, such as: (1) the division of all assets belonging to the parties’ (2) the division of all debts owed by the parties; (3) spousal support (maintenance); (4) custody of any minor children; (5) child support for any minor children; (6) payment of post-secondary educational expenses for children; (7) any necessary restraining orders; and (8) payment of attorney’s fees. As with divorce, no two situations are the same and there is no universal formula that can be applied to any given case to determine an appropriate result. Because of this it is very important to have an experienced representative on your side to make sure all issues are resolved, and all rights are protected.
At Harbor Family Law we will meet with you initially to fully explain the process and what a client can reasonably expect as they go through the legal separation process. Of course, the process can be unpredictable at times, but we always keep our clients fully informed to limit the impact of any surprises. We handle all aspects of the case, from communicating with the court and the opposing party, to acquiring information and documentation from third parties, if necessary, and appearing in court on behalf of our clients.
Litigation can involve the filing of motions for temporary orders, which may cover things like the use of property, payment of debts, spousal support, residential schedule for children and child support. Litigation also involves discovery, which may include the use of interrogatories and request for production of documents, depositions, subpoenas, motions to compel the other party to comply with the discovery process, if applicable, and pre-trial conferences. Most legal separation cases resolve by agreement, but if that is not possible, the last stage of litigation is trial. At Harbor Family Law we have extensive trial experience and can effectively and successfully represent clients in a trial.
Experience on Your Side
Chris Maharry has been practicing family law in the South Sound since 2003 and brings nearly two decades of experience representing clients in all aspects of legal separation. We understand that legal separation will result in significant changes in the lives of all family members. It not only impacts parties financially, but it also impacts the emotional wellbeing of all involved, including children. It is our goal to bring our clients through the process with efficiency, effectiveness, compassion and cost-sensitivity.
Managing Your Legal Separation Case in A Cost-Effective Manner
We focus our practice exclusively on family law. This narrow focus has allowed us to develop not only extensive knowledge in the area of family law, but also business practices making us as efficient as possible, which keeps our clients’ costs to a minimum while maintaining a high level of representation. We cannot guarantee the cost of fees involved in any legal case; however, all our work is performed with the goal of being effective and efficient.
Area of Coverage
We serve clients in legal separation cases throughout the Pierce, Kitsap, South King, and Thurston County areas.