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

(206) 622-6707

Helping Divorcing and Separating Clients Resolve Conflict
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Choosing a More Respectful Divorce Makes a Difference
Your divorce choice mattersWe help divorcing and separating clients reach agreements so they and their families can move forward. Divorce can be challenging, and your decisions can have a lasting effect on your finances, children, and relationships. We help clients reach mutually-agreeable solutions with integrity and respect towards all. Collaborative attorney and mediator J. Mark Weiss can provide assistance to help you reach a consensual agreement. Using Collaborative Law or mediation, we focus on your priorities and goals, develop an understanding of the available options, and support you in making good decisions that are based on your own values.

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 about 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 about divorce and family law.

Alternatives to an Old-Style Divorce
Instead of the old-style way of having a stranger make the most important decisions in your life, you have the option of selecting a process in which you make your own decisions based. Instead of engaging in a dynamic that tries to create a “winner” at the expense of a “loser,” the focus is on the questions to be addressed and possible solutions to those questions. Both the Collaborative Law process and mediation are designed to allow you to make the decisions about your post-divorce future and work towards a settlement that addresses all issues, including property division, child support, spousal maintenance, and parenting plan. The court's role is limited to ratifying your agreements.

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.


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Collaborative Divorce Lawyer and Mediator
Collaborative Divorce LogoAt least tens of thousands of divorcing couples have experienced Collaborative Law and mediation as processes that resulted in excellent outcomes. Both processes involve the use of dialogue to arrive at agreements; each process has its own unique features and advantages.

  •  Collaborative Law is a process in which each party has his or her own trained Collaborative lawyer whose role is limited to help you reach a satisfactory settlement agreement. The attorneys work in a team approach with other trained professionals, such as a divorce coach, a neutral financial specialist, and a neutral child specialist. The professionals provide advice, facilitation, and assurance that the legal and financial parts are handled correctly. Read more: Collaborative Divorce.

  • In mediation a neutral mediator assists the divorcing couple reach agreements. A mediator cannot give legal advice, but can provide general information and keeps the conversation on task. Read more:  Divorce Mediation.

Want to learn more about all of your options? Read more: Family Law and Divorce Options.

Suitable for Many Family Law Cases
Collaborative Divorce and mediation are both effective processes that have helped many couples successfully resolve their disagreements and reach a settlement. All issues that need to be addressed in most divorces can be resolved in both processes, including property division, child support, spousal maintenance (allimony), and  parenting (child custody and visitation). While both processes work extremely well for many divorcing couples, no process can be right for everyone and it is important that you make the choice that is right for you and your spouse. We encourage you to learn as much as possible so you can make the right choice for your divorce. 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.

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 about Mediation.

A Resolution Is Better for Children
When parents can preserve a working relationship through their divorce, and can build a functional co-parenting relationship for their future, children do better. Parents rarely work better together after a child custody or visitation 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 healthy and cooperative parenting partnership for the benefit of the entire family.

Over 26 Years of Experience as a Seattle Divorce Professional Makes a Difference
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 25 years helped well over 1,000 couples through their divorce. Mark has extensive experience in conventional lawyering and in mediation and 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 after passing rigorous exams, 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 here: Selecting a Divorce Lawyer.

Convenient Seattle Law Office - Serving Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland, King County, and Surroundings
From our convenient Seattle location, we serve clients from throughout King County and beyond, including Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond, Everett and surrounding areas.  Mark provides guidance, insight, skill, and support to help guide you through your divorce or separation, or other family law matter. 


Because divorce involves establishing separate households, many people wish to purchase a new house after divorce or refinancing their existing house to pull out equity. If you are thinking about a house purchase or refinance, it may be tempting to put off looking at a house and the financing decision until after the settlement has been reached and the divorce decree signed. While it may be easier to delay, that may be a mistake. Even if the purchase is not made until later, careful planning for a post-divorce house purchase (or refinance) should take place before the settlement agreement has been signed. There are several reasons. First, there is a possibility you may not qualify for new mortgage financing after the divorce, when you will no longer have the benefit of two incomes (if applicable) and no child support or spousal maintenance payments. Second, because the cost of a new house may be different, there are budgeting considerations. Both of these problems can often be addressed with planning during the divorce itself. It is helpful to know ahead of time what will be needed to qualify for mortgage financing by working with a mortgage broker who is very experienced consulting with couples going through divorce. (Many good brokers do not have that experience.) It also is useful to carefully budget future expected income and expenses, taking into account the income tax consequences of your future tax filing status and itemized tax deductions. 

>> Prior Divorce Tips of the Month


Please visit our Blog: Divorce and Family Law Blog

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