Law Office of J. Mark Weiss, P.S.

Law Office of J. Mark Weiss, P.S.
100 W. Harrison St., South Tower, Ste. 470
Seattle, WA 98119

(206) 622-6707

Advice and Guidance for a Good Divorce 
 
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Experienced and Skilled Assistance for Divorce Settlements

We help divorcing clients reach agreements so they and their families can move forward in life. Your divorce decisions will impact your and your children's futures—including your finances, parenting, and other relationships. Instead of engaging in expensive legal wrangling or a destructive court battle, Mark can help you negotiate a good agreement that addresses what is important to your future, and assist with the legalities. Mark is a Seattle divorce lawyer with over 27 years of experience successfully helping clients. Read More: About Mark

Find out if our divorce services are right for you—call (206) 622-6707 or email us for a consultation.      

 

Choose a More Respectful Divorce
Collaborative Divorce LogoMany have found Collaborative Law and mediation to be effective in reaching excellent agreements while preserving privacy and dignity. Both processes are ways to negotiate good divorce settlements with integrity—and without the disadvantages of involving a court in making decisions.

  •  Collaborative Divorce is a process in which each party has a trained Collaborative lawyer whose sole focus is on helping their client reach a satisfactory settlement. Unlike any other process, Collaborative Law can maximize effectiveness by offering legal, financial, child-development, and communication services in a coordinated team effort to help you and your spouse cost-effectively reach agreement. Read more: Collaborative Divorce.

  • Mediation is a process where a neutral and impartial mediator helps you reach an agreement. A mediator can keep the conversation on task and productive, guide the process, and help you get the information you need so you can make good decisions and reach an agreement. Read moreDivorce Mediation.

There are other divorce options. Read more: Family Law and Divorce Options.

An Agreement Is Good for Your Children
If you can preserve (or create) a working relationship with your co-parent in yourr divorce, your children will do better. Children don't do well when their parents experience acrimony. It's rare to be able to work well as co-parents following a court battle, and the children pay the price. If you choose Collaborative Law or mediation, you have chosen a family-focused process. It allows the opportunity for parents to work together to build a healthier future for your children.

Divorce Court Has Limits in Its Ability to Restructure Families
In court, too often everyone loses—even the “winner.” Courts are simply not well-suited to restructuring families. Court battles perpetuate power struggles and are very expensive—both financially and emotionally. To add insult to injury, in divorce court intimate details about your life are placed in the public record (available to anyone). There are other ways: instead of turning over their life's most important decisions to strangers, more and more divorcing and separating couples are choosing Collaborative divorce or mediation. When doing so, they focus their energy on reaching agreements through a process that is more respectful, and which better preserves relationships, dignity, and privacy.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

  • You retain the important decisions about your life for yourself ... instead of turning over those decisions to a judge.

  • At all times, you are an active participant in the process.

  • You have the assistance of professionals whose entire focus and effort is to help you reach settlement.

  • Your agreements can be as unique as you are.

  • You can have the benefit of education and support from other helpful professionals, such as neutral financial specialists, child specialists, and divorce coaches.

  • You can avoid adding to the pain, and can realize real solutions, by working through the issues instead of engaging in a power struggle.

  • You can preserve your post-divorce relationships while working through difficult issues.

  • You and your spouse work jointly to find solutions within a process structure that helps you stay on track.

Collaborative Divorce is not for everyone, so be sure to consult with an attorney who is trained and experienced in the process if you are considering this option.

Read more: Collaborative Divorce.

A Divorce Settlement Consistent with Your Values and Priorities
When you and your spouse reach resolutions that align with your values and priorities, the agreements are better and more durable. We work with you by listening carefully and focusing on your priorities to be addressed in your divorce agreement. We then explore options and work with you to help create an agreement with your spouse—a reality-based divorce settlement that is consistent with your values and priorities.

 

Realities of Old-Style Divorce

Hiring old-style divorce lawyers (which often involves actual or threatened court action), is an option that can have disadvantages. Here are some realities about that option:

  • In a court divorce, a judge makes life-altering decisions for you based on evidence and legal arguments ... and may get it wrong. You get to live with the consequences.

  • Conventional divorce legal fees are extremely expensive (more than you would likely imagine or may be quoted).

  • Old-style divorce often starts a destructive cycle where one court battle or power struggle merely follows another. These cycles can go on for years in the future with “modifications” and other proceedings, each time resulting in more legal fees. (The alternative is to take the power struggle out of your divorce from the beginning.)

  • Going to court divorce inevitably exacts an emotional toll for all involved. It is not uncommon for everyone to emerge from court embittered, with outcomes vastly different from what either or both lawyers predicted.

  • Commonly, court decisions become meaningless so-called “paper judgments”—court orders that are not followed. When that happens, no one gets the outcome they desired or thought they got.

  • The court usually does a poor job restructuring families. Most judges lack training in family systems or child development. Many don't fully understand how a court power struggle contributes to creating dysfunctional post-divorce families.

  • In court, intimate details of your finances and other matters must be disclosed and can  become a public record, available to anyone.

  • Old-style divorce is structured as an adversarial system, where it is assumed that the advocacy must be “zealous” without considering the family or the long-term impact. The court makes decisions based on arguments made by divorce lawyers, both of whom argue to “win” something that cannot be winnable.

What to expect in your divorce? Read more: Divorce and Family Law


More Effective Alternatives to Old-Style Divorce
Instead of having a judge who knows little about you and your family make life-changing decisions in your life, you can negotiate and make your own decisions. Both the Collaborative Law process and mediation are designed to allow you to make good, well-informed, decisions about your post-divorce future. You work from the very start towards a settlement that satisfactorily addresses all issues, including property division, child support, spousal maintenance, and parenting plan. You don't need to wait until after expensive legal wrangling that only results in entrenched positions. You don't need to waste your time in a dynamic that tries to create a “winner” at the expense of a “loser.” Instead, using Collaborative Law or mediation, we can focus on the real questions that need to be addressed and on the best solutions.




Suitable for Family Law Cases
Collaborative Divorce and mediation are both effective processes that have helped many couples successfully resolve their disagreements and reach a settlement. Most all issues to be addressed in divorce are routinely resolved in both processes, including property division, child support, spousal maintenance (allimony), and  parenting (child custody and visitation). No process is perfect for every situation so it is important that you make the choice that is right for you. At an initial consultation, we will help you evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of all available options (including options we may not offer), so you can better select the most appropriate process for you. We encourage you to learn as much as possible so you can make the right choice for your divorce.


Divorce Mediation

In divorce mediation, an impartial mediator assists you and your spouse to reach agreements. The mediator facilitates your work together so you stay on track and the discussion is productive. While not required, many parties have divorce lawyers to advise them in-between mediation sessions, or to write up the final documents once agreements have been reached. Read more: Mediation.



27 Years of Experience as a Seattle Divorce Attorney

Divorce attorney J. Mark WeissRated among the “25 best” family law attorneys in Washington State by Washington Law and Politics magazine, J. Mark Weiss has for more than 27 years helped clients through their divorce. Mark has extensive experience in court, in mediation, and in Collaborative Divorce. Mark received the “Attorney of the Year” award from the Washington State Bar Association Family Law Section, was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, has continuously been on the “Super Lawyers” list of Washington Law and Politics Magazine since 2007, and is “AV” rated (preeminent) by Martindale-Hubbell. His practice is now entirely focused on family law dispute resolution. Read more: About Mark

Educating Yourself About Divorce

1. Before committing, learn as much as you can about divorce and available process options. A good place to start is our Divorce Options page, that discusses what is available, so you can make the best choice for yourself.

2. Call us to make an appointment for a no-obligation consultation, so you can:

  • Explore what may be most important for you in your future.

  • Understand your options and evaluate which one(s) may be best for your unique situation.

  • Identify the factors that will help you determine whether a Collaborative Divorce, mediation, or another process is best for your unique circumstances—what might be right for someone else may not be right for you.

  • Plan what's next based on what is most suitable for you.

How to schedule an appointment? Here's how to Contact Us

3. Think carefully about the professionals you wish to work with. Read more: Selecting a Divorce Lawyer.



Collaborative Law and Mediation Can Help Protect Your Privacy
Because old-style divorce often relies on the court for many decisions, personal information can end up in the court record, which is mostly publicly accessible. Under Washington State law, all discussions in the Collaborative Divorce and mediation processes are confidential. And, once you have reached an divorce settlement, your lawyers can place many of its details into a private binding contract instead of a public court order or decree.


DIVORCE TIP OF THE MONTH

There is a benefit to hiring an experienced lawyer. There is the old adage that you don't know what you don't know. This adage applies to attorneys, and when a lawyer does not know something that is important about your situation, then you live with the consequences. Contrary to popular belief, no lawyer (including experienced lawyers and judges) can know all the law. The law is vast and interrelated. Divorces often involve questions dealing with real estate, businesses, taxation, retirement plans, secured transactions, negotiable instruments, and other areas of the law; a skilled divorce lawyer will have proficiency in all those areas of law, among others. Apart from the strict legal questions, the financial impact of decisions made in divorces can be profound on the parties and their family. An experienced lawyer is likely to have had time to develop some enormously helpful financial skills. Divorce also involves changed relationships, and while the law does not consider relationships, the decisions made under the guidance of your lawyers will significantly impact your relationships. A lawyer who has the experience to understand the relational impacts of decisions can be invaluable. Finally, there is the question of good judgement. Judgement is not taught in school; it only develops over time as the result of reflecting on experiences.  An experienced divorce lawyer has had extra time to learn all these skills, and likely has already learned from many mistakes that an inexperienced lawyer has yet to make. Combining all these factors, and there is simply a greater likelihood that an experienced lawyer is more likely to do the job right the first time, and with greater quality and efficiency. Of course, experience does not guarantee this, and there exist sharp and highly skilled younger lawyers whose skills exceed those of most experienced lawyers. But, taken as a group, there is a greater likelihood that an experienced lawyer has developed those skills. While the hourly rates of experienced lawyers are generally higher than the rates of less-experienced lawyers, the lower likelihood of mistakes, greater efficiencies, higher skill sets, and better judgement that is often developed over time may actually make the higher hourly rate the better investment. 

>> Prior Divorce Tips of the Month

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is a Seattle family law attorney serving the greater King County area, including Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, and Mercer Island.