How to get a divorce in washington

By Kristina Otterstrom.

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Divorce is inevitably difficult for the adults and children involved. However, your divorce can be easier, and more like a polite negotiation than a boxing match. When spouses are able to compromise and keep open communication throughout the divorce process, they can retain control over the decision-making process in their divorce rather than leaving it all up to a trial judge.

When divorcing spouses can agree on all the terms of their divorce, they can pursue an "uncontested" divorce. This article provides a general overview of the process to obtain an uncontested divorce in Washington. If after reading this article, you still have questions about obtaining an uncontested divorce, contact a local family law attorney for advice. Uncontested or "simplified" divorces are available to couples with or without children and are generally much less expensive than contested divorces. Washington offers a simplified process for uncontested divorces if spouses are able to agree on all issues in their divorce.

These types of divorces are commonly referred to as divorces by agreement in Washington. With a divorce by agreement, the spouses must agree on every issue in the divorce including child custody and child support, if children are involved. For more information on calculating child support for divorce purposes in Washington, click here.

The following is a list of major issues that must be resolved by the spouses before filing an uncontested divorce action in Washington:. If you meet the all above criteria, you may proceed with your uncontested divorce by filing the required forms as discussed below.


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The spouse who files the initial paperwork is called the "petitioner" and the other spouse will be the "respondent. Unlike other states, Washington does not require you to reside in the state for any specified period of time.

1. Washington Is a “Community Property” State

If you plan to file for divorce without the help of an attorney, you will be responsible for filing the right documents in the right court. Washington has 39 superior courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction and oversee divorce cases and trials. If you need legal advice regarding your uncontested divorce in Washington, we recommend that you contact a lawyer in your area.

In almost all cases, you file for a divorce in the state where you reside. This means that if you are a resident of Washington, you file in Washington and are governed by Washington's divorce laws even if you were married, for example, in California. You must meet Washington's residency requirement for a Washington court to have jurisdiction over your divorce. Our Washington divorce online software works as long as both you and your spouse agree about everything, and both of you are willing to sign the divorce paperwork.

It sure does. Thousands of people divorce in Washington every year without hiring a lawyer.

The Top Ten Seattle Divorce Mistakes - Seattle Divorce Attorney Amanda DuBois

When spouses cannot agree about the terms and conditions of their divorce, they sometimes end up in court where a judge makes decisions for them. This is called a contested divorce, and hiring a lawyer is a good idea in this case. When a Washington divorce case is uncontested and both parties are willing to sign, when you and you spouse agree about everything filing your own divorce is a common choice in order to cut down legal expenses. Read about the advantages of filing your own uncontested divorce in Washington.

The residency requirements for a divorce in Washington are as follows:. A party must be a a resident of the state, b a member of the military stationed in the state, c married to a resident of the state or a person who is a member of the military stationed in the state.

6 Surprising Washington Divorce Laws

The divorce paperwork requires a signed authentication that you have been a resident of Washington for at least the past 90 days. If the court requires proof for some reason, typically a Washington driver's license or state identification is sufficient. An affidavit of a corroborating witness testifying about your residency also works. After you have printed all the divorce paperwork, you simply mail the documents to your spouse and he or she signs them.

After your spouse returns them, you file in your local county court. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the only grounds for dissolution of a marriage in Washington.

How Do I File for Divorce in Washington?

Once the divorce paperwork has been filed in court, it takes at least 90 days for a divorce to be final since the court will not act on a filing until 90 days have transpired between the filing and the service on the summons on the Respondent. The start to finish time of the divorce may vary depending on the caseload of the court and the availability of judges to sign the final Decree of Dissolution.

You control revisions and reprintings as necessary. In Washington, a divorce hearing is not typically required fro an uncontested divorce. If there are children involved, a short hearing may be set, generally only 15 minutes, gives the court an opportunity to make certain that you understand the parameters of custody, visitation and support that are ordered as part of your divorce.

If there are no children, the process in very streamlined. Since you and your spouse are in agreement, there is nothing for the court to decide. Learn more about divorce hearings in Washington.

It is easier to effect a name change during the divorce rather than after the divorce is finalized. Read more about a name change during a divorce in Washington. A series of questions itemizes property and debt, dividing and allocating both according to what you and your spouse have agreed to. If you have minor children with your spouse, there will be a custody determination and also figuring out the manner in which decisions will be taken, how the time of the child will be divided between the parents, etc.

How to File a Divorce in Washington

Each spouse must submit a proposed PPP permanent parenting plan. However, if your spouse and you reach an agreement, you can submit a joint PPP. In case there is no agreement, then there will be a settlement conference that is scheduled before the court commissioner or judge to resolve the issue. And, if you are unable to reach an agreement, then the judge will take a decision as per the following guidelines:. The court may consider the following factors and order mutual decision-making authority:. The court will make provisions regarding the residence of the child which encourages each of the parents to maintain a stable, loving and nurturing relationship with the child and also establish a schedule which considers the following aspects:.


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  3. Average Costs of Divorce In Washington.
  4. Once you have filed your divorce forms with the court, you need to wait for a minimum of 90 days at least before the court schedules a final hearing. If your divorce is not contested and you agree on all the issues with your spouse, then the case does not have to go to trial.


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    However, if your spouse and you cannot come to an agreement on any of the issues, then the case becomes contested and will go to court. This is expensive, as well as a lengthy process.

    2. Washington Courts Do Not Consider Marital Misconduct

    When the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is signed by the court, then the marriage ends. The settlement agreement document is submitted to the court in writing in a settlement case for approval and signature of the judge. In the case of a trial, the decision of the judge is documented and signed by the judge conducting the trial. And, the marriage does not end until the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is signed by the judge. We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap. I consent to eDivorce collecting my details through this form.