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John William Kydd

Divorce and separation Attorney at Seattle, WA

4.5   8 reviews
Free consultation
Free consultation
  • Licensed for 41 years
    State WA
    Acquired 1982
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About John

Learn John’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Divorce and separation
    I assist my clients with difficult decisions by answering their questions and providing them with information. This allows them to make the appropriate decisions specific to their needs and those they care for. If divorce or separation is chosen, I work with my clients to complete the divorce process in a professional and amicable manner. The majority of cases settle, but for some clients, litigation cannot be avoided and trial is necessary. I am a strong advocate on behalf of my clients.

    41 years, 400 cases

  2. Mediation
    I have instructed and assisted with family mediation for 25 years. As author of the Mediation chapter for the "Washington State Bar Association Family Law Deskbook" for the past 20 years and as chapter author for "Family Mediation for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Deskbook". I endeavore to promote the best practices of family dispute mediation.

    37 years, 200 cases

  3. Estate planning


After 36 years of practice, certain lessons are learned.  One is that I simply enjoy this work.  I like mediating with parents that can work together.  It is fun to see them move from feeling overwhelmed to having a sense of control and hope for their futures.  I also enjoy the contested cases as they allow me to find ways to deal with an often difficult opposing spouse.  In both cases many clients return to normal life at the end of the case with a new understanding of themselves.  I cannot take credit for this.  It is their talent to make the best of a difficult situation that makes all the difference.


As an MSW social worker and a lawyer, I am interested in combining advocacy with insight to enhance my client’s capacity to deal with their ex-spouse and their children.  


I am thankful for the steady stream of client referrals that have made my practice.  Each one of them has taught me something about how to be a better lawyer.


On a personal level I have three sons who I raised after their mother passed away when they were very young.  Raising children on one's own has taught me much about parenting.  Now that they are in college I have time for gardening, biking and giving back to the community that has given so much to me.







Contact John

John William Kydd
1001 4th Ave Ste 4400
Seattle, WA, 98154-1003


4.5 / 5.0
  8 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Nick | July 31, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
David vs Goliath
Mine was a parentage case as we were never married. I had regularly paid support but I was not allowed regular visitatin. I was merely looking to pay my fair amount of child support and receive my fair amount of visitation. For years I had not filed legally because her parents were very wealthy and had threatened, on several occasions, to legally destroy me if I asserted my parental rights. I was not looking to get custody, I was only trying to get normal parenting rights. Their threats were real. The mother’s sister forced her husband through a multiyear ordeal accusing him of every form of abuse and neglect and he had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get rights to see his kids. I was scared to do anything but John helped me negotiate an agreement that seemed helpful. When we filed all hell broke loose and they made good on their threats. I was accused of every possible form of abuse and neglect as well a violence and perversion. It was terrifying. The mothers family all worked in concert backing each other up. They hired psychologists to back them up and to repeat what the kids had been coached to say. When I married my present wife they attacked her as well. It was like a perfect storm and I felt ready to give up. I had to keep my job to pay my support and this was drowning me. Their goal was to overwhelm and financially drain-me so I wouldn’t be able to afford to continue, But John paid careful attention to the details and found gaps in their case and weakness in their arguments and slowly opened those gaps with careful and focused discovery which was then shared with the evaluator. He was very truthful and careful with our Judge and discovery rulings went against them and we were awarded more and more fees for their failures to respond. They were accustomed to being successful in the past with these bullying tactics. They were furious that I had accused them of coaching the kids. In the end, the entire case flipped. I was given primary residential time and their time was cut back and the grandparents were put on supervised visits. My four kids who were flailing are now flourishing. I never dreamed this outcome was possible but John just kept at it, mastering the details and slowly and consistently taking their case apart. He stayed steady and professional and did not get into name calling despite the flaming accusations from the other side. He saw a picture I did not see and got us there. At the final settlement conference, when they finally had no choice but to give up(and agreed to pay even more in fees) I can say it was, next to my marriage day, the happiest day of my life. We had saved four kids from a very difficult situation. The culture of lies was defeated. I just do not have the words to say what I felt. John did not just do a great job on the outcome. He set an example of honesty and integrity and humility in his acts that inspired me in my life. He was never arrogant or confidant of any outcome. He just kept at it, day after day and month after month. He is righteous , tireless and and knows the law. The world needs more lawyers like him.
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Posted by Douglas | October 10, 2014
Just an Excellent Lawyer
John has been my lawyer since the beginning of my divorce and his expertise and guidance got me through a very difficult situation. John is always very well prepared, and he knows his stuff, both the law and the practical ways to efficient move the case forward in an emotionally- charged situation. He and his paralegal, Linda, were always on top of deadlines and extremely organized. We had a difficult and nasty lawyer on the other side for the first part of the case. John was able to deal with her effectively without ever losing his professionalism. I am a lawyer as well, and I know great legal work from merely good legal work. John just did an excellent job.
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Posted by anonymous | September 1, 2014
Job Well Done
I hired John several years ago following a protracted, complicated divorce. Custody, visitation, and support issues were constantly being challenged even after my final decree was signed. Several times a year, for many years, John accompanied me to yet another court hearing. Nothing changed significantly from the original order, however the uncertainty that I felt each time I was served with the newest petition made me appreciate having John as my attorney. Knowing John would respond appropriately and navigate the legal mine field made my frequent trips back to court less daunting. I did refer a friend to John, because of the insightful way John handled my situation. Even after custody was no longer, John has continued to be a great source of legal advice.
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Posted by anonymous | December 31, 2013
An excellent family lawyer
I highly recommend John Kydd as a family law attorney. Mr. Kydd has represented me since 2009 for multiple custody issues post-divorce up to current issues in 2013. As my divorce/custody case was very complex, it was very important for me to find an attorney who was knowledgeable about international divorce and custody issues. I also wanted an attorney who was empathetic to my economic situation and who would strive to get the best possible results for me and my children. John is that kind of lawyer. He cares about his clients and seeks to find reasonable and beneficial outcomes. He is a vigorous researcher and keeps up to date on matters of family law. He leaves no stone unturned. From Child Support issues, Parenting Plan/Safety issues to Relocation, John got me results. I would highly recommend John Kydd to any parent seeking an outstanding, trustworthy family lawyer.
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Posted by anonymous | February 25, 2009
Review for John Kydd
Mr. Kydd was very knowledgeable and well prepared. I felt that he truly cared about the case, especially concerning the children, and that he did everything required to get the best outcome for all involved. I was lucky to find him.
Posted by erika nagy | February 24, 2009
Highly Recommend John
John has been not only an attorney, but a friend and an advocate for me and my children through a very tough divorce. His advice and counsel is personal, straight forward, fair, and honest--much of which you don't always expect from an attorney. He is thoughtful, a good person, and plays fair (but isn't weak). I am very thankful to have had him referred to me, and I would refer him to any family or friend in need of a good family attorney.
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Posted by anonymous | September 30, 2008
Client Review
Mr. Kydd is exceptionally well-qualified in the family law area, being a lawyer, a social worker, and a child advocate. He believes in mediation and self-determination in resolving matters -- which is far superior to having a stranger (judge) decide your matter. He is kind sensitive and thoughtful.
Posted by Lorenzo | May 22, 2012
Horror Story
I exhort anyone considering retaining John Kydd for a contested custody case to carefully read my review as a warning. Mr. Kydd represented me in a high conflict, dissolution/custody case. Given the fact he was a seasoned attorney and a MSW, his actions were both inexplicable and unconscionable. He was exceedingly unethical and unprofessional. As a result of his subterfuge, my defenseless young son was needlessly subjected to an extra 1.5 years of child neglect and alienation. Thankfully, the Seattle Police rescued my son before it was too late. My ex wife was subsequently found to be unfit on 4 separate grounds, including for “neglect,” and “the abusive use of conflict by the parent which creates the danger of serious damage to the child’s psychological development.” I was awarded sole custody and my ex wife has had no visitation in nearly 10 years. My contentions are completely substantiated by the case file in the Seattle Court in Case # GD033703. Mr. Kydd knew I was an excellent client and parent and that the Court always ruled in my favor. Conversely, he knew my ex wife was unfit and mentally ill. The case involved her multiple acts of concealment, custodial interference, alienation, false allegations of child abuse and neglect. Mr. Kydd took over 15 depositions when he had no intention of going to court. He does not like to go to court, as can be inferred by the book he co-authored entitled, Divorce in Washington: A Humane Approach—How to Negotiate Your Divorce Settlement Without Tears OrTrial. In it, Mr. Kydd explains the laws for contested custody in Washington based on the Parenting Act of 1987. But he never told me about his book or to read it. When the time came to go to court, Mr. Kydd lamented, “there is nothing I can do for you and I do not want to take your thirty-thousand dollar. He had no problem taking my one-thousand dollars in preparing for court, though. M r. Kydd hoodwinked me into settling on 50/50 custody, which he knew was proscribed by the Parenting Act for high conflict cases. He knew my ex wife was categorically opposed to joint decision making. A study of the Washington State Parenting Act in 1999 concluded, Child development and post-divorce parenting experts agree that 50/50 or shared parenting arrangements are only appropriate where parents have good relations, and they can harm children where parental relations are conflicted. The Parenting Act limits these arrangements to where parental cooperation is high.” Mr. Kydd has no leg to stand on and his trial brief is a “smoking gun.” He never provided it to me until after I settled. He wrote all of the following in it: 1) [My ex] has lost no opportunity to abusively use and generate conflict in her dealing with [myself] to the clear detriment of their child’s welfare and best interests. 2) [My ex] was failing to consistently and adequately meet the needs and best interests of the parties child; She had pursued a haphazard approach to parenting related to supervision, discipline, health care and child safety issues, clearly placing the child at risk. These concerns have exacerbated over time. 3)The testimony will further demonstrate that [my ex] has consistently neglected [my son’s] health and well being. But the coup de grace for John Kydd’s credibility is found in his conclusion. He wrote, “Pursuant to 26.09.187(3) and 26.09.004, [I] should be named [my son’s] primary parent. This is not a case where the parties can continue to share an essentially joint parenting role. In the best interests of their son, [he] will function best in the primary care of the Father. Moreover, the degree of acrimony which exists between the parties makes joint decision-making impossible at the present time. The upshot of this “impossible” arrangement was catastrophic for all parties involved. Mr. Kydd deliberately enabled a parent he knew was unfit. He set up my ex wife for certain failure and she ended up destitute and homeless.
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Response from John Kydd February 26, 2013
Since this firm has a small practice of select clients, it can be noted that we have no record of representation of a client in the identified case number of "Seattle Court in Case # GD033703." Parenting cases are heard in Superior Court not Seattle District Court. Nor is there a record of a client with the first name of "Lorenzo". Regardless of the above, this firm's door is open to any client (or non-client) concern and this person is invited to call and discuss his concerns without charge. Everyone deserves respect, and maintaining respect allows many cases to settle that would be otherwise brought to trial.
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  • Free Consultation 30 minutes
  • Hourly Rates $ 325-325 per hour
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Owner Attorney
  • John W. Kydd, P.S.
  • 2003 - 2011
  • Attorney of Counsel
  • Helsell Fetterman LLP
  • 1997 - 2003
  • Partner Attorney
  • Strong and Kydd
  • 1986 - 1997
  • Partner Attorney
  • Halverson and Strong
  • 1982 - 1986
  • Research Associate
  • Battelle Human Affairs Research Center
  • 1977 - 1978
View all work experience


  • Seattle University School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1981
  • University of Washington
  • Masters of Social Work
  • 1978

Legal Cases

  • Smith v. Smith
  • Full settlement


  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Board Member
  • 2012 - Present
  • King County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1984 - Present
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1982 - Present
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • President
  • 1996 - 1997
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • BV Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2014
  • President's Award
  • King County Bar Association
  • 1985


  • Book
  • Divorce in Washington: A Humane Approach
  • 1986
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • David A Chadwick Endowed Lectureship
  • Preventing Trauma to Children
  • 2001

Attorney endorsements

Received (6)
Given (7)
Endorse John
Family Attorney | Apr 16
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. John is very well respected in the Seattle family law legal community. He is a professional and always a pleasure to work with. He has many satisfied clients over many years of practice."
Family Attorney | Jul 28
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is a seasoned attorney who provides clients with a unique blend of strong, competent and compassionate representation. He possesses an impressive breadth of knowledge regarding the law and a myriad of other subjects."
Family Attorney | Mar 16
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer, through a beautiful poem: There once was a lawyer named Kydd, Who excelled at all that he did. Fishing and law, good friend and good Pa He's really a dilly the Kydd. All kidding aside. John passionately represents the interests of his client, he is open to creative solutions to difficult problems, and likes to not just solve an immediate problem, but plan for the future. I respect John and give him my endorsement."
Divorce and separation Attorney | Oct 10
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer. John was my lawyer. I was able see him work from the perspective of a client. I have also practiced in Seattle for coming up on 30 years. John is prompt, organized, and very knowledgeable."
Family Attorney | Mar 27
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"John is a very intelligent and thoughtful advocate. He is a credit to the profession."
Family Attorney | Mar 06
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
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