Pro Se Divorce Attorney in Washington State

What is Pro Se Divorce

Pro se means that you represent yourself in the case and plan to file the necessary documents without a lawyer. In agreed divorces it is not uncommon for people to choose to represent themselves. That said, people who act pro se often seek advice from a lawyer.

This method of divorce should only be used in agreed cases, since the risks of self-representation are reduced. This applies to almost all cases, not just divorce. While a person can represent themselves in a contested case, it is risky. Family law and court procedures are complex. If your spouse hired a lawyer you’ll be at a huge disadvantage.

With a pro se divorce you choose what you need. We’ll provide the necessary forms along with guidance on how to file the documents with the court. Your primary role will be to work with your spouse to reach an agreement and draft the paperwork. If you need help, your pro se lawyer will be available to offer advice and assistance.

Justin W. Aanenson, Attorney

Benefits of Pro Se Divorce

Why you’d want to partner with a pro se attorney to successfully complete your case.

Confidential

With an agreed pro se divorce you have the ability to handle everything outside the courtroom, protecting your privacy.

Cost Controlled

You handle the majority of the work and only pay for what you need. Plus, it’s easy to estimate the cost of an individual project.

Help On Demand

If you get stuck or have questions our attorneys are a phone call away to help guide you or take care of the challenging parts.

What to expect from Pro Se Divorce

With a pro se divorce you choose, which parts of the divorce you’d like to handle and what you want from your attorney. If you’d like to file we can do the drafting. If you’d like to draft your documents, we’ll send you the necessary forms. The process is in your control, so you decide how it gets done.

If a person has a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against a child, or a crime involving violence they are permanently disqualified.

Similarly, a person will not pass the home study if they’ve been convicted of a physical assault, sex offense, or a felony not listed above in the past five years.

You can get divorced pro se even if you have minor children. However, children make divorce more complicated.

 

First, most counties require parents to attend a parenting seminar prior to finalizing any divorce. The seminar usually lasts four hours and is available at multiple times and locations. If you’d prefer to skip the class you can file by mail.

 

Second, a pro se divorce with children is harder because calculating child support is challenging. In order to calculate child support you’ll need to use the Washington child support tables and worksheets. That’s often the most confusing part of the paperwork for pro se filers.

 

Third, parenting plans should be well thought out and drafted with the goal that they will last long term. The basic form that you can download off the court’s website is fairly bare bones. In order to get the most out of your parenting plan it’s smart to research additional clauses that would be helpful in your situation, as well as ask your attorney for advice.

 

Lastly, it’s important to know that a court will run a background check on both parents and can reject plans if a parent has red flags that aren’t addressed in the paperwork. For example, if a parent has multiple DUIs on their record a court may require a customized drop off and pick up schedule. The parenting plan will need to address the history of the problem and identify ways to address the issue.

You can successfully file a pro se divorce in four steps. First, reach an agreement. Second, draft your documents. Third, finalize and sign the forms. Fourth, file with the court.

 

In order to reach an agreement you need to discuss big issues like parenting, finances and property division. When you’re starting out you may not be aware of the all the details you’ll need to cover, but you can cover the basics. If can reach an agreement in principal move forward to drafting the documents.

 

You can download most of the forms from the Washington court website. However, each county has different requirements, so you’ll want to know what you need based on where you file. An attorney can make that easy for you. At this point you’ll see the level of detail required, so you can fine tune your agreement accordingly.

 

Once you’ve finished your first drafts it’s smart to take some steps to finalize them before signing. This is a good time to bring the forms to an attorney for review. Bring a list of questions you have and ask your lawyer for input. Together you can improve the agreement and ensure that the court approves the divorce paperwork.

 

Once everything is signed you are ready to file the forms with the court. You can take the documents to your local superior court clerk’s office or file by mail. If you choose to file locally the family law facilitator is a good resource at the courthouse.

After your divorce is finalized you need to follow through with the divorce terms. This is going to be a little different for each person, but here are 5 common steps that people take after a judge signs their divorce order.

 

1) Record Keeping:
Immediately after your divorce is finalized it is smart to get a certified copy of the divorce order. In addition, you’ll want to make sure you have copies of any other important paperwork like parenting plans, separation contracts and child support orders. You may need copies in the future and it’s easiest to get them shortly after the case is completed. Certified copies can be purchased from the clerk’s office.

 

2) Name Changes:
If you changed your name you’ll need to take the following steps. First, update your forms of identification. You’ll want a new passport, new drivers license, new car registration, among other things. Second you’ll need to update your personal records with institutions like your bank, insurance company, school, and employer. Make sure not to forget the Social Security Administration. If your name isn’t accurate with the SSA your tax return can be rejected, leading to late penalties.

 

3) Joint Accounts:
If you still have joint accounts now is the time to either close those accounts or remove a name. Your divorce paperwork should list the shared accounts, so you’ll know which accounts need to be updated. It will also list if a payment needs to be made from an account before a spouse’s name is removed.

 

4) Transfer Property:
Vehicles, homes, and retirement accounts all have different steps required to transfer ownership. An attorney will be able to help you sort out what needs to be done. In addition, your final divorce order will list, how property is divided. Complete the appropriate paperwork and follow through with any deadlines.

 

5) Pay Off Shared Debt:
Creditors are not bound by divorce decrees, meaning even if your spouse agrees to be responsible for a debt in the divorce paperwork you can still be held accountable if they don’t pay. Because of this I encourage spouses to pay down as much shared debt as possible at the end of a marriage.

Testimonials & reviews

Sart
Sart
2024-05-17
A family law firm that often settles out of court with "win, win" solutions for all involved. Resolve the matter instead of fighting in court where only the lawyers win.
Kate Winterbottom
Kate Winterbottom
2024-05-02
Justin, the owner of Truce Law, is truly exceptional in every sense. His unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction and employee success sets him apart as a leader in the legal community. Justin goes above and beyond to ensure that each client receives personalized attention and support throughout the divorce or adoption process. His expertise in family law combined with his genuine empathy and understanding make him a trusted advocate for those navigating difficult life transitions. I would not hesitate to refer clients to Justin. Moreover, Justin's commitment to employee success is evident in the positive and supportive work environment he cultivates at Truce Law. By prioritizing the well-being and professional growth of his team, Justin ensures that every member is equipped to deliver exceptional service to clients. I have full confidence in Justin and his team to handle even the most complex family law matters with integrity, compassion, and skill. If you're seeking legal assistance for divorce or adoption, look no further than Justin and Truce Law. You'll be in the best hands possible.
Jeff Bloomfield
Jeff Bloomfield
2024-05-01
The team at Truce Law are conscientious and dedicated to truly serving their clients well. I would not hesitate to recommend Truce Law for your Family Law Needs.
Dan Peterson
Dan Peterson
2024-03-08
Breaking up is hard. I was an emotional wreck at times. The staff at Truce Law was compassionate and patient; they walked me through it. My opponent was vicious. Truce handled the negotiations with strength, competence, and dignity. Look no further.
David Singleton
David Singleton
2023-12-14
Truce Law is simply the best! Divorce is never easy for anyone but having them on your side makes it a whole lot easier! The team was always prompt, communicative and always had my best interests in mind. 10/10!
Stefanie Arnold
Stefanie Arnold
2023-08-07
Justin and staff were a great resource through my divorce, highly recommended
Hristiyan Kolev
Hristiyan Kolev
2023-05-26
First of all I would like to thank to Justin for his great work! My case was not easy (don’t want to use the word ugly), but thanks to Justin and his team I manage to win the case and being able to be with my child once again which was the goal from the beginning. The process of the divorce took more than a year and he and his team were with me the whole time. Very patient, persistent and knowledgeable. I will always recommend his service. Good luck to everyone out there.
Russ Krause
Russ Krause
2023-04-19
If you are looking for a friendly and knowledgeable as well as highly skilled legal team to help you through those family law issues that come up in life, then Truce Law is the place! Competent and friendly staff at all levels puts you at ease. Their rates are very competitive and they are always in communication with you to keep you on top of what they are doing. I highly recommend them to you.
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