Legal Separation and Divorce Attorney in Kitsap County

Legal Separation and Divorce Attorney in Kitsap County 2018-04-18T02:39:03+00:00

Are You Considering Divorce or Legal Separation?

Filing for Divorce

Divorce, Legal Separation, Divorce Attorney, Kitsap CountyAt Compass Legal Services, P.S. we understand that Divorce or a Legal Separation is sometimes the kindest option available to save what remains valuable in a marriage.  When divorce becomes the final responsible decision to make, we are here to provide experienced guidance through the legal process to ensure an equitable resolution without compromising your personal values.

What is the Difference between Legal Separation and Divorce?

The process for filing for Divorce, Legal Separation, Annulment (Invalid Marriage) and ending a Domestic Partnership is virtually identical with a few exceptions. Each of these circumstances deals with ending a type of legal, interpersonal relationship between two people.  A Divorce formally ends a marriage where Legal Separation severs the legal responsibility of one spouse for the other without ending the actual marriage.  An Annulment occurs when a marriage is declared invalid.  Domestic Partnerships have historically included numerous groups of legally recognized relationships between two people, affording the parties specific rights and protections.  Recent changes to Washington state law have more narrowly defined who qualify to be classified as Domestic Partners.  Where a Domestic Partnership does exist, the process to end that relationship is for all intents, purposes and process, exactly the same as a divorce.

While documents in all of these circumstances are identical except for respective variance in document names, the timelines across which these processes may be completed are different.  A 90 day waiting period is required from the time the Petition for divorce or dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership is filed before the final decree for either can be presented for entry the court. There is no waiting period required for a Legal Separation.  In accordance with the terms of the Decree of Legal Separation, a legal separation may be converted to a Divorce by bringing a motion before the court. There is also no waiting period for Annulments; however, a hearing must be scheduled for a judge to decide if the marriage meets specific criteria to be declared invalid.

Mutual Representation for Amicable Divorce

Divorce becomes a battle only by the choice of one or both parties.  The law has yet to be written that requires it to be so, and, in fact, it need not be.  With that same power of choice, spouses may recognize that the end of a marriage is the best way to a content future for both parties, even if uncomfortable feelings are pervasive.  Attorney Heather Forrler is among very few attorneys in the State of Washington experienced and willing to represent both parties in a divorce, working primarily as legal counsel but also as a mediator for those genuinely interested and willing to settle matters amicably.  Attorney Forrler has even successfully mediated amicable settlements where spousal maintenance, child support and parenting plans were required.

The Benefits of Mutual Representation for Amicable Divorce

Couples who choose Mutual Representation for Amicable Divorce and successfully complete the process may save more than $20,000 in attorneys fees based on reported averages for contested divorce.  The process itself requires both parties to maintain a state of reasonableness.  While other emotions may enter into play from time to time, the focus on non-destructive negotiation, compromise and mutual respect tends to foster less resentment than the traditional process.

The Risks of Mutual Representation for Amicable Divorce

Mutual Representation for Amicable Divorce requires complete transparency between the Amicable Divorce Attorney and both parties.  Confidentiality is waved between the two parties.  In the event that the process breaks down and one or both parties are unwilling to proceed further, the Mutual Representation is dissolved and both parties must seek new counsel or proceed pro se, meaning self-represented.  Neither party may proceed with representation from the Mutual Representation Attorney.

Ending the Marriage

An uncontested divorce with no children is the “easiest” divorce to file in most any jurisdiction.  Uncontested means that all matters relating to the assets and debts  of the marital estate have been settled prior to entry of final orders, without requiring a judge to rule on the property settlement.  And of course, there are no minor children of the marriage.  Where one or both parties reside within Kitsap County, including Olalla, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Silverdale, Hansville, Kingston, Indianola, Poulsbo or Bainbridge Island, the Petition can be filed with the Superior Court of the State of Washington in Kitsap County.  The filing fee of $314.00* must be paid at the time of filing.  A statewide mandatory 90 day “cooling off” period must pass before presentation of final orders.  At least one party to the matter must be present to finalize orders in Kitsap County.

Compass Legal Services, P.S. can also help clients file an uncontested divorce with no children in Lincoln County by mail.  The same time line and filing fee from above applies for Lincoln County as well; however, for a $30.00 ex Parte presentation fee the Lincoln County Clerk can present final orders to the judge and neither party to the matter is required to be present.

For more information about filing an uncontested divorce in Kitsap County or Lincoln County please contact our office at 360.471.3300.

*Some exceptions may apply.

An uncontested divorce with children can be completed with relative ease, but more paperwork.  In this situation, uncontested means that the property settlement of the marital estate is agreed upon by both parties without requiring a judge to make a ruling.  Where minor children of the marriage are present, an uncontested divorce also means that the residential schedule is established and memorialized in the Parenting Plan.  Child Support is also established and agreed upon.  In any divorce where minor children are involved, the state requires a Parenting Plan, Child Support Worksheets and the Child Support Order to be included with the final orders presented for a judges signature.  Where one or both parties reside within Kitsap County, including Olalla, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Silverdale, Hansville, Kingston, Indianola, Poulsbo or Bainbridge Island, the Petition can be filed with the Superior Court of the State of Washington in Kitsap County.  The filing fee of $314.00* must be paid at the time of filing.  A statewide mandatory 90 day “cooling off” period must pass before presentation of final orders.  At least one party to the matter must be present to finalize orders in Kitsap County.

Compass Legal Services, P.S. can also help clients file an uncontested divorce with children in Lincoln County by mail.  The same time line and filing fee from above applies for Lincoln County as well; however, for a $30.00 ex Parte presentation fee the Lincoln County Clerk can present final orders to the judge and neither party  is required to be present.

Kitsap County requires a parenting seminar to be completed by both parents before a divorce can be finalized.  Lincoln County does not require the seminar but it can be more difficult to change the Child Support Order or Parenting Plan in Lincoln County.

For more information about filing an uncontested divorce with children in Kitsap County or Lincoln County please contact our office at 360.471.3300.

*Some exceptions may apply.

Contested Divorces become much more complex. Where no minor children are present, the contested matters revolve around the property settlement of the marital estate.  Where one or both parties reside within Kitsap County, including Olalla, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Silverdale, Hansville, Kingston, Indianola, Poulsbo or Bainbridge Island, the Petition can be filed with the Superior Court of the State of Washington in Kitsap County.  The filing fee of $314.00 must be paid at the time of filing.  A statewide mandatory 90 cooling off period must pass before presentation of final orders.  At least one party to the divorce must be present to present orders in Kitsap County.

From Experience: The Truth About Divorce

Very rarely does a contested divorce leave either party happy.  Most often, the ultimate win in a divorce or legal separation is a quick and equitable settlement.  Endless hearings are expensive.  Trials are even more expensive.  Frequently, both parties lose if a Judge is forced to rule on the final outcome of a divorce or legal separation.  Unless there has been a failing of the legal system, a judge is not on your side.  With that said, a judge should also not be against you.  This means that a judge is responsible for hearing both sides of the case, divining the truth that lies between and applying legal standards to the information and circumstances, legal standards that were created long before the matter at hand became at hand and applied with the same impersonal legality to your case as any other case.  Law and its considerable practice does not tend to favor the personal story and Washington is a no fault state.  Reasonableness is strongly advised from the outset.

Bearing these ideas in mind, it is the responsibility of your attorney to know and understand the laws pertaining to your legal interest in the settlement of the marital estate.  At Compass Legal Services, P.S. we make every effort to protect our clients’ interests while negotiating honestly and reasonably with the other party.  We have many years of successful experience helping clients end marriages and gain a contented fresh start.  We will work tirelessly to protect our clients against abusive use of legal proceedings or grand standing.  We will also not tolerate flagrant dishonesty or intentionally misleading information.  It is not our practice to engage in legal warfare for any reason.

For more information or to schedule a consultation please call our office at 360.471.3300.

Contested Divorces become much more complex and even more so when minor children conceived during the marriage are present.  Where one or both parties reside within Kitsap County, including Olalla, Port Orchard, Bremerton, Silverdale, Hansville, Kingston, Indianola, Poulsbo or Bainbridge Island, the Petition can be filed with the Superior Court of the State of Washington in Kitsap County.  The filing fee of $314.00 must be paid at the time of filing.  A statewide mandatory 90 cooling off period must pass before presentation of final orders.  At least one party to the divorce must be present to present orders in Kitsap County.

Children and Divorce or Legal Separation

Children are not pawns or parties to a Divorce.  It is the responsibility of both parents to ensure that children are cared for and respected and never used as weapons against the other parent.  The details of a divorce should not be discussed with minor children at any time.  It is important to remember that children are caught in the cross-fire of adult relationships as the result of the choices made by parents.  Avoiding such circumstances by respecting that children, even teenagers, are children and not parties to a divorce or separation is of paramount importance

From Experience: The Truth About Divorce

Very rarely does a contested divorce leave either party happy.  Most often, the ultimate win in a divorce or legal separation is a quick and equitable settlement.  Endless hearings are expensive.  Trials are even more expensive.  Frequently, both parties lose if a Judge is forced to rule on the final outcome of a divorce or legal separation.  Unless there has been a failing of the legal system, a judge is not on your side.  With that said, a judge should also not be against you.  This means that a judge is responsible for hearing both sides of the case, divining the truth that lies between and applying legal standards to the information and circumstances, legal standards that were created long before the matter at hand became at hand and applied with the same impersonal legality to your case as any other case.  Law and its considerable practice does not tend to favor personal story and Washington is a no fault state.  Reasonableness is strongly advised from the outset.

Bearing these ideas in mind, it is the responsibility of your attorney to know and understand the laws pertaining to your legal interest in the settlement of the marital estate.  At Compass Legal Services, P.S. we make every effort to protect our clients’ interests while negotiating honestly and reasonably with the other party.  We have many years of successful experience helping clients end marriages and gain a contented fresh start.  We will work tirelessly to protect our clients against abusive use of legal proceedings or grand standing.  We will also not tolerate flagrant dishonesty or intentionally misleading information.  It is not our practice to engage in legal warfare for any reason.

 For more information or to schedule a consultation please call our office at 360.471.3300.

Family Law Attorney in Kitsap County

Compass Legal Services, P.S. is a Kitsap County law firm located in Silverdale, Washington. If you live in Kitsap County, including Bremerton, Port Orchard, Silverdale, Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island, and you are considering a legal separation or dissolution of marriage, have already filed with the court or have been served with a petition and summons to court and would like to speak with a Divorce Attorney, please contact our office at 360.471.3300.


We provide a discounted consultation for first time clients.  We are only able to provide full legal representation for clients with litigated matters such as Family Law or Divorce filed in with the Superior Court of the State of Washington in Kitsap County.  We are happy to provide legal consulting services for other non-litigated matters such as Estate Planning and Business Startup & Incorporation for clients across Washington State.  Registered Agent services are available for in-state businesses and domestic out-of-state businesses operating in Washington State.  We are unable to serve as registered agent for foreign entities.