Honest, pragmatic guidance through difficult circumstances

Divorces are some of the most challenging events a person can go through in their lives. When a relationship that you thought was loyal goes terrible, it can be hard to know what to do next. Mark D. Nelson, PLLC, is a Tacoma, WA divorce attorney that is willing to fight for what you deserve in your divorce. Trying to go through the legal process while fighting intense emotional pain can be extremely difficult and stressful. Hiring a credible Tacoma family law lawyer specializing in divorce family law is a great way to ensure you can maximize your results while minimizing stress and preserving your mental health.

Our Tacoma Pierce County family law firm is dedicated to offering creative and sympathetic advice during every step of the divorce process. Mark D. Nelson, PLLC, our founding attorney, has practiced family law in the Tacoma, WA area for over ten years and is an experienced Tacoma divorce attorney. Mark and his Gig Harbor law firm is a trusted figure within the Tacoma community and an experienced Tacoma family lawyer. Starting his career as a deputy prosecutor for King County in 2005, Mark later became a criminal defense and family law attorney. Shortly after, he founded his very own law firm, Law Office of Mark D. Nelson, PLLC serving Tacoma’s and surrounding area’s family law needs. Mark’s passionate yet straightforward legal counsel is what he believes a proper Tacoma divorce attorney should provide.


You and your partner have probably already brought up the difficult talks about separation from your current marriage. Whether this separation is a legal separation or a divorce, it is crucial to understand the difference between both. Simply, legally separated couples are still married while divorced couples are not.

One of the biggest reasons a couple will choose legal separation instead of divorce is to work on asset and financial division while still working on their relationship. Throughout the division process, the couple will still have a chance to repair their marriage. If a couple remains legally separated for more than six months, it can be easily converted into a divorce in Tacoma, WA. Some couples like having an opportunity to heal their relationship during a legal separation instead of jumping straight into divorce. Another reason for choosing to become legally separated instead of a divorce is because the couple will still enjoy benefits and entitlements that are related to being married. This can include healthcare benefits, retirement benefits and other financial properties.

A legal separation is just a division part of ending a marriage without terminating it. This legal separation process is when couples can also decide how much of their lives they plan on dividing. From as basic as separating finances to a full-on division of your estate, our Tacoma family law firm will aid you with this process. Dividing a Tacoma estate can be messy, as it can involve banking accounts, assets, and debts owed. During this time is when child support, spousal support, and parenting plans can also be ordered.

An additional note to make about legal separations is that a person cannot legally remarry until their legal separation is fully converted and finalized into a divorce. No matter how far into the division process of a legal separation you are in, a new marriage is not a legal option.


Some couples living in Tacoma may know that rectifying a marriage is no longer a choice. Some couples also may realize this from the start and choose to forego a legal separation. Others can be months into a legal separation and want to divorce once and for all. Divorce is the option for couples who wish to finalize the end of a marriage and permanently divide their estate.

There are many ways to settle a divorce. One of the first things people think about during a divorce is having to go through court, but this does not always have to be the case. A couple can agree to work through their attorneys to draft what is called a settlement agreement. This is like a contract that details what exactly the couple intends to divide. This includes any accounts, property, assets, parenting decisions, and child support payments.

Another way to settle a divorce in Tacoma is through mediation. During mediation, both parties work with their family law attorneys through a third party to create a settlement agreement. In some divorces, a combination of these processes is needed to divide large and complicated estates.


The absolute quickest way a divorce can legally take place in Tacoma, Washington, is 91 days from filing final orders. This is only possible if you and your partner are incredibly efficient and already agree on significant issues like child support and division of assets. A more reasonable time frame for a typical Tacoma divorce is around nine months. More complex Tacoma divorce cases can easily take over a year. It is difficult to predict how much time a Tacoma divorce will take, as it depends on your situation and how complex the divorce case is.

In Washington state, we are a no-fault state. This means that the court does not have much interest in why a divorce or separation is happening but is more concerned about what is being divided. To best prepare for a divorce in Tacoma, it will be helpful to collect all financial information, tax returns, credit card and loan balances, retirement balances, and other high-value asset items. Having these documents and papers ready to go will not only speed up your divorce process but will even save you money in the long term.


– Starting the process to receive child and spousal support
– Fair division in family businesses, assets, and debts
– Filing domestic violence protection orders
– Developing a parenting plan intended for your children
– Drafting settlement agreements
– Managing a relocation
– Maintaining your orders through post-decree enforcement (contempt)
– Resolution through mediation and arbitration
– Resolving custody disputes
– Understanding your rights in a divorce with a prenuptial agreement


Arguably the most crucial part of a divorce, it is vital to have the proper and fair representation to dividing your Tacoma estate. The decisions you make here could affect you for the rest of your life. Making these choices during an emotionally draining process can be dangerous, and we want to help minimize any mistakes during this time. Once an estate has been divided after a divorce, it extremely difficult to change anything about it.

In Washington State, courts are prioritizing an equitable and even division of a couple’s assets. This means that a marital estate is not guaranteed to be evenly split between both parties. For example, a person who earned a large amount of their retirement outside marriage may not be required to give up half of it in a Tacoma divorce. Having the means and ability to make more income may also mean you will inherit more of the community debt.

Most people wonder if they really need a divorce attorney if their partner agrees on most things. This is a very valid point, as both of you made exceptionally large decisions when you were married. Sometimes both parties genuinely want to end the marriage on a mutual and fair note, but it is essential to realize that you are now making those significant decisions without that person. It is time to look towards the future and your self-interests. A qualified Tacoma family law attorney can assist and provide perspective to protect your prosperity in the long run.


You might be curious about how much money it costs to initiate and complete a divorce. The honest answer is that it depends on your situation. That is probably not the answer you are looking for, but two main things can majorly affect the cost of divorce: complexity and contentiousness. If you and your partner are more likely to agree on things during the divorce process, the quicker a situation or matter can be solved, saving you time and money. Another similar but more obvious factor is that having fewer things or assets to divide can also shorten the divorce process, saving you money. A more complex estate will, unfortunately, be more expensive to divide. When considering these two factors can help to give you a basic idea of how much your Tacoma divorce may cost.

There are a few more actions you can take to help control the divorce costs. For example, being efficient can benefit your wallet at the end of a divorce process. The easiest way you can be efficient is to provide your Tacoma family law attorney with any documents they request as soon as possible. Your divorce attorney is trained to know what documentation they need to ask at what time, so the faster you can get them, the better. Avoiding any unneeded back and forth emailing between you and your attorney or your attorney and the other party is vital to saving time and money in a divorce.

Some divorce advice that may seem counterintuitive at first: stop negotiating with your ex-partner. If you have hired a Tacoma divorce attorney to assist you, it is vital to realize they are the only ones genuinely looking after your best interests. While you know you could have trusted your partner in the past, you never know if what they are telling their divorce, family law attorney is the same thing they are telling you. This could cause hours of unnecessary work for your attorney that you will be billed for during the divorce process. Even if you trust your ex-partner and want to negotiate with them directly, make sure to tell your attorney. Your Tacoma divorce attorney will contact the other party to begin the negotiation process on your behalf. Your Tacoma attorney will also be able to settle issues more quickly and efficiently, saving you money in the long run in a divorce.


If your marriage involves children, it may seem impossible to consider a divorce during their childhood. Child support will be a big part of the divorce process that is crucial to resolving. Child support intends to enable a child or children to live the same lifestyle they were accustomed to with two parents. This can include contributing monetarily towards rent, mortgage, utilities, and other everyday needs for your child, including things like sports or school. Some different needs are not covered by child support but are included in a separate support order. It is vital to work with an experienced Tacoma family law attorney because if these needs are not addressed in the same order, it can be difficult to arrange them later. Washington state uses a worksheet to determine how much a parent needs to pay the other one in child support after a divorce. You can use a divorce and alimony online calculator if you know income information for both parties to get an idea of how much child support you may have to pay after a divorce.


When it comes to many Tacoma divorces, couples must decide on a living arrangement for their dependent children. To facilitate this, a parenting plan may be drafted for the best interests of the children. The goal is to preserve the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of a child living between different households after a divorce. Parenting plans can be simple and straightforward to detailed and comprehensive. All Tacoma Washington state parenting plans are based on these four components:

– Parental restrictions: These are restrictions placed on a parent that is based on a history of neglect, physical abuse, history of drug use, and more.

– Decision-making rights: This explains whether or not a parent has sole or joint decision-making rights for things like schooling, sports, medical treatment, and other decisions typical to parents.

– Residential schedule: This is a specific schedule created for a child that details how much time a parent has with a child. This includes holidays, vacations, and birthdays.

– Dispute resolution: This explains how parents are supposed to address disputes that occur after a parenting plan has been finalized.


As you can see, the divorce process can involve many factors and scenarios. Hiring an experienced Tacoma family law attorney to assist with this process may be the best choice for you and deserving serious consideration. Knowing you have professional guidance that directly benefits your self-interests will soothe your emotional and mental stress. A divorce is never an easy process and can make most people feel grim about the future—our goal at the Law Office of Mark D. Nelson, PLLC, is to allow you to start fresh again with a divorce lawyer you trust.

Our Tacoma family law firm is here to help! If you are searching for a Tacoma divorce attorney, consider the Law Office of Mark D. Nelson, PLLC. Call us and let us help you with honest, creative, and experienced guidance through every step of the divorce or legal separation process. Whether you are still in the contemplation phase or many months into the process, contact us today!

DISCLAIMER: The information provided above is intended to be a general discussion of common mediation issues. It is not intended to be taken as specific legal advice that applies to your individual fact situation. Always seek legal counsel for advice on your own unique divorce case needs.

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