Vancouver, WA Family Law & Divorce Lawyers

Strong advocacy for clients and their children in Washington and Oregon

Life takes difficult turns. Romance can turn sour as spouses move in different directions. One spouse may start a new relationship. When it’s clear a marriage is over, spouses turn to experienced family lawyers to help them address their financial and emotional concerns, understand their rights and options, and protect their families. When children are involved, parents need to make sure they do what is in the best interests of their children.

We understand your worries. At Philbrook Law Office PS, our Vancouver, WA family lawyers have years of experience helping women, men, and children move forward with security and confidence. We strive to protect your rights while helping you gain the freedom to start honest new relationships. In many divorce cases, we’re able to negotiate solutions either with your spouse or co-parents lawyer or through divorce dispute resolutions. When necessary we litigate divorce contests, property division issues, child support, child custody, and alimony.


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Matt and his office staff were there for me helping me along in this unfortunate situation. They kept in contact...

~ JH

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~ CH

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~ JA

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Philbrook Law went above and beyond in helping my families Case. It wasn't just settling successfully that deserved their 5...

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How our Vancouver, WA divorce lawyers help you move forward

Philbrook Law Office offers a wide array of divorce and family law services for clients throughout Washington and Oregon. Whether you are just starting on the path to divorce, or need to change up an existing decree, you can rely on us for honest, compassionate counsel at every step. Contact us to learn more about our services regarding:

  • Contested divorce
  • Uncontested divorce
  • Divorce mediation
  • Legal separation
  • Asset distribution
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Order modification
  • Order enforcement
  • Relocation
  • Protective orders
  • Adoption

Our team is also prepared to help you address any estate planning issues that may arise before, during, or after a divorce. Contact us to learn more.


Filing for divorce in Washington

In Washington, all divorce is “no fault” divorce. Any spouse can ask for a divorce at any time. The limited requirements are:

  • One of the spouses or domestic partners must be a resident of Washington
  • The petition for divorce must be served on the other spouse
  • You need to determine if the divorce is contested or uncontested
    • If your spouse agrees to the divorce, you just need to wait 90 days before your divorce can be made final
    • If your spouse disagrees, he/she has 30 days to respond to your petition. Contests generally mean there are open issues to be resolved such as – child custody and support, property division, and spousal support

While the divorce is pending (not when the divorce is final) temporary orders can be issued to determine

  • Child parenting plans
  • Financial safeguards
  • Restraining orders
  • Temporary spousal support
  • Temporary child support
  • Who can use which real and personal property

We represent spouses with high net worth assets, who have been married for a long time, who have little concerns other than getting the fastest divorce possible, parents with children, and childless spouses. No matter your needs, Philbrook Law Office is ready to help

What are the methods for resolving contested divorces in Washington?

Each side is entitled to conduct discovery of the other side. Generally, discovery includes information about assets and their value – including homes, business, retirement benefits, and many other assets.

Divorces can be resolved through:

  • Negotiation between the lawyers for the spouses
  • Here, the spouses work with a neutral third-party who understands divorce settlements – to try to craft a solution
  • Collaborative divorce – which is a process of settling your divorce issues without a mediator
  • Hearings before a family law judge if a settlement can’t be reached

What you should know about asset division in a community property state

Washington is a community property state. Generally, that means that all the assets, income, and debt of each spouse belongs to both spouses. Some property such as property each person acquired before the marriage or after the separation may be excluded from community property.

Community property, in divorces, is divided equitably. The starting point is a 50/50 split, but some factors can change the percentage each spouse gets. The factors that help determine the equitable distribution of community property include:

  1. “The nature and extent of the community property
  2. The nature and extent of the separate property
  3. The duration of the marriage or domestic partnership
  4. The economic circumstances of each spouse or domestic partner at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to a spouse or domestic partner with whom the children reside the majority of the time.”

Our Vancouver, WA divorce lawyers help:

  • Identify which assets should be distributed
  • How each asset should be valued
  • Who should get which asset

Often, trade-offs can be worked out. For example, one spouse may be able to keep the house in return for giving up claims to retirement benefits or a business.


What are the child custody laws in Washington?

Washington doesn’t use the legal terms custody and visitation. Instead, the parents are required to enter into a parenting plan. These plans determine:

  • Where a child will leave each day of the year – and with which parent
  • How the parents will make decisions about their children’s upbringing and best interests
  • How the inevitable future disputes will be resolved

If the parents can’t agree on a plan, a judge will review many factors including how each parent can provide for the child’s basic needs – with adjustments for child support, property division, and alimony – so one parent can’t use his/her financial advantage to control the parenting time. It also considers the children’s need for stability and a loving relationship.

Parenting plans typically address where the child lives during the week, on weekends, at holidays and birthdays, and during vacations. Judges also consider the relationships, the children’s schools, and community resources. Older children may have some say in the parenting plan.


How is child support determined in Washington?

Child support is generally based on just a few factors which are plugged into a state support calculator:

  • The combined income of the parents
  • The number of children
  • How much time the child spends with each parent
  • The age of the child

Modifications may be allowed if one of these factors substantially changes.


When is a spouse entitled to spousal maintenance?

There are three types of spousal maintenance in Washington:

  • Temporary support. This support is due so that one spouse can’t use his/her economic advantage to obtain a better divorce settlement. ( Rev. Code Ann. § 26.09.060 (b).)
  • Short-term maintenance. This payment is to help the less financially stable spouse have an opportunity to earn an education or learn job skills. The sum is usually to help a spouse who stayed at home while her/his spouse or domestic partner went to school and/or started a career. This support is usually for a short-term.
  • Long-term maintenance.This type of support may be available for spouses in long marriages who don’t have the ability to acquire new skills to earn a living.

Alimony usually ends if a spouse or domestic partner remarries or dies. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 26.09.170 (2).)


Going through a divorce in Washington or Oregon? Get the peace of mind you deserve.

At Philbrook Law Office, we understand the trauma of divorce. Our Vancouver, WA family law and divorce lawyers guide spouses and parents through the divorce contest process. We fight (and negotiate) for your rights to a just division of your community property. We craft solutions for parenting plans that protect your children. Our lawyers demand the full amount of child support and spousal maintenance you deserve. To schedule a consultation at one of our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, please call 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form. We’ll help you smile again.