In Washington State, filing for divorce starts with completing and filing a divorce petition. The spouse filing the petition is called the petitioner. The spouse served with the petition is called a respondent.
After the petition is filed in the county where the petitioner lives, the petitioner is required to serve the respondent with the divorce papers. It is a state requirement at least one spouse live in Washington State prior to starting the divorce process.
The court can grant a divorce after 90 days if the respondent signs a joinder attached to the petition. If the respondent does no agree, they have 30 days to file a response to the petition.
You should expect a request for any changes to the terms of the divorce. The terms include child support, child custody, division of property, and spousal support.
You and your spouse will be expected to work on resolving the terms of the divorce. This can be done outside of court between the two of you or with the assistance of a divorce mediator.
After spouses agree to the terms of the divorce, a final hearing is held. Both spouses must appear in front of a judge together over their divorce in order to finalize it. The court will request several documents, including:
The divorce decree is filed after a 90-waiting period.
If both spouses cannot reach an agreement after discussing the terms, a hearing is scheduled with the court. A judge will then decide the terms after listening to both sides. Once the judge has decided on the terms of the divorce, they will issue the final divorce decree.
Whether spouses agree to all of the terms of a divorce or not, it is recommended that anyone thinking about filing for divorce in Washington talk with a Washington lawyer first. An attorney will help protect your legal rights and advise of how to proceed.
Last Modified: 04-29-2015 11:35 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.