Divorce in Washington

Divorce in Washington

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Divorce in Washington

A brief guide to divorce in Washington

Married couples in Washington who are considering a divorce should be aware of the following things:

Washington state divorce laws

There is no set time required for a person to be a resident of the state before they can file for divorce in Washington. 

Grounds for divorce

Unusually, all cases of divorce in Washington are considered no-fault divorces. All the petitioner or couple must plead is irreconcilable differences to have the separation granted.

Legal separation

Couples who are not certain if they wish to divorce in Washington but desire to live apart can agree to a legal separation. This legally binding document resolves issues of alimony, child support and any other considerations that would apply when filing for divorce. This document’s terms and guidelines can later be used as the framework for a divorce in Washington if the couple does not reconcile.

Types of divorce

Couples who agree to separate and on the division of property and all other relevant concerns will enter the court system pursuing an uncontested divorce. If one party does not consent to the divorce or the spouses cannot agree on every concern related to their separation, a judge will issue a legally binding resolution regarding this kind of contested divorce.

Steps in the divorce process

When a petition is filed for divorce in Washington, the other spouse must be served with a copy of the complaint. If they agree with the divorce documents, the case will proceed. If any part of the proposed terms of separation leads to disagreement or the other spouse does not consent to divorce in Washington, a timeline will be established to resolve the case. Pretrial negotiations supervised by the court will attempt to produce a mutually agreeable settlement. A judge will hear the case if this cannot be produced to rule upon alimony, custody and any other area of disagreement.

Spousal support

Judges will take the following considerations into account before awarding any permanent or temporary alimony:

• The fiscal health and resources of the person seeking alimony

• How much time it will take the person seeking alimony to become self-sustaining 

• The standard of living established in married life

• The age and health of the person seeking alimony

• Length of the marriage

• The other spouse’s ability to meet the alimony being requested 

Child support

Parents may submit a payment plan for the court’s approval. Otherwise, a ruling will be issued with the help of the relevant state guidelines and worksheets. 

Fathers’ and mothers’ rights

Joint or sole custody of a child will be issued without respect to either parent’s gender. Factors the judge will consider include:

• The child’s physical health and emotional stability

• The child’s changing needs

• Minimizing the effect of parental animosity on the child

• Attempting to get the parents to agree rather than force a judge to intervene on behalf of a child’s best interests

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