Washington Info

Washington Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals Washington Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Mediation/Counseling Divorce Process Legal Separation Annulments Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum Washington Products Divorce by County

Washington Articles

Attorney Relationship Divorce/General Domestic Abuse Mediation Parenting SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Advertise With Us Free Network Page Join Our Network Submit Articles Sign In

Network Sites

Washington Divorce Support Washington Divorce Online

Divorce Lawyer or Divorce Coach?

Getting divorced? Hiring a lawyer can be an expensive undertaking, especially in this economy. Depending on the type of issues that need to be resolved, you may be able to hire a lawyer to simply "coach" you through the process. If so, this could save you thousands of dollars. Another benefit is that you and your spouse could maintain a non-adversarial relationship that could otherwise be damaged by tough litigation. Especially when children are involved, it is helpful to remain on friendly terms with the other parent to preserve the co-parenting relationship. This model also give both parties more sense of control of the process than if two attorneys are also involved.

What does coaching mean? You essentially hire a lawyer to educate and coach you and then you do the actual negotiating with your spouse.

You begin by meeting with your lawyer "coach" to get educated about the issues, to develop a settlement strategy and to discuss reasonable settlement options. Then you begin working with your spouse to reach agreement on the issues. You can call your lawyer at any time with questions that may come up in your discussions. This will help you to further refine your settlement options. Once you have reached agreement, your lawyer will draft the final papers and put everything in legalese. You and your spouse will sign off on everything, and one of you will appear in court at the final hearing, where a judge will sign the final papers.

How do you know if your case is suitable? The reality is that many cases are not suitable for the coaching model. If you have complicated assets and/or debts; if your soon to be ex has hired an aggressive attorney; or if you have a difficult time negotiating and advocating for yourself, or if there are drug, alcohol or domestic abuse issues, your case is not suitable for this model. The reason is that there are just too many pitfalls for a layman to navigate. The coaching model is primarily for couples who still have some semblance of a working relationship and can talk to each other civilly, who both have a good grasp of the financial issues and, if they have children, they are in basic agreement about the residential schedule, meaning there isn’t going to be a fight over custody. Both you and your spouse must be committed to working things out without threatening court action.

Sometimes people who are working reasonably well together to resolve the issues believe that they can go straight to a mediator, without a lawyer, to settle their case. I have seen this cause a lot of problems. A mediator is not representing you and is under no obligation to discuss all the different sides of an issue or explore all settlement options - which leaves you not being fully educated. People then sign settlement agreements only to later find out more information on an issue that would have dictated a different result. I had one client who did not know she was entitled to alimony until after she signed the agreement. She came to me to file a motion with the court set aside the agreement. When you hire a lawyer to coach you, you get the comfort of knowing that you have had an experienced professional who was looking out solely for your best interests. It could be a question of "pay me now, or pay me later". The "later" could be a really expensive process.

If you think your case is suitable for the coaching model, when interviewing prospective attorneys, ask them if they are open to coaching you. Some attorneys will not be willing but there are many who will. Some of the most important things to look for when hiring an attorney are experience, competence, and finding someone with whom you feel comfortable. Divorce is a very stressful experience, even if the two of you are reasonably friendly. Adding litigation to the mix simply makes the process even more stressful.

Was this helpful? Like our site & let us know.

Start Washington Divorce Start Your Washington Online Divorce Today
Easy, Fast and Affordable with a 100% Guarantee.
Washington Divorce Find Washington Divorce Professionals in Your Area:
Join the Network
Washington Divorce Products, Services and Solutions Washington Divorce Products, Services and Solutions
Washington Divorce Resources to Help You Through the Process.
Online Parenting Class Washington Mandatory Online Parenting Class
Easy and convenient - complete at your own pace online.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Divorce Bookstore
Over 100 Titles of the Best Books on Divorce & Custody.
Divorce Downloads Divorce Download Center
Instantly Download, Books, Manuals, & Forms.
Divorce Worksheet Free Washington Divorce Worksheet & Separation Agreement
Your Guide to Get Organized and Put Everything in Writing.
According to Washington divorce laws, the responding spouse has 20 days to reply if residing in Washington or 60 days to respond if living outside the state. The divorce paperwork must be filed and served upon the other spouse for more than 90 days before the judge signs the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. This 90-day waiting period is a cooling off time.
Divorce Lawyers & Mediators

Find Professionals

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Start Your Divorce File for a Washington Divorce


Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your Washington Divorce


Support Forum Washington Support Forum

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site