State of Washington Divorce Laws

State of Washington Divorce Laws

Washington State is the country’s leading producer of apples, and if your spouse is no longer the apple of your eye, then you are probably wondering how to get a divorce in Washington State and may want to brush up on your knowledge of Washington divorce laws.

Washington state divorce process

Once you decide to end your marriage, you need to think about how you and your spouse will go through the process.

Many couples have few assets and can simply split up their bank account and go their separate ways.  People like that are usually looking for the fastest, cheapest way out of the marriage.

Other couples have extensive assets (or debts), as well as children, that may require a significant amount of legal work.

As per the Washington divorce laws, The first step in the typical legal process of getting a divorce in Washington State is filing a petition for divorce.

Washington State divorce laws only allow no-fault divorces.

That means that neither spouse necessarily did anything wrong, the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”  The petition also lays out the couple’s assets so that the court can divide them up. Washington State divorce forms are available from the court system.

The next step to filing for divorce in Washington state is to get a hearing set after a 90-day waiting period.  At that hearing, the judge will confirm that the couple wants a divorce and that both spouses were aware the process was underway.  Then the court must rule on issues related to property and children.

In an uncontested divorce, Washington State court simply review and approve an agreement on property and children that was reached by the couple.

In other cases, divorce laws in Washington State require the courts to review the assets owned by the couple and divide them up.

Filing for divorce in Washington State is much easier if the couple can come to their own agreement.  Otherwise, a judge has to decide what is “just and equitable” and that can be hard to predict.  

Divorce in Washington State with child

As common sense would tell you, children are a key factor when considering how to file for divorce in Washington State.  

Most parents will come up with a joint parenting plan for the court to approve, but if they cannot then the court must review a plan proposed by each spouse and try to work out a middle ground.

It can be very painful and challenging to discuss everyday family dynamics in court so most people try to avoid that by coming to an agreement if at all possible.

Divorce in Washington State – cost

According to the King County Bar, a lawyer can cost anywhere from $250 to $500 per hour.

It is not surprising that a study by the Washington State Bar Association found that as many as 70% of people facing a family law issue like divorce opt to do it themselves.

Many divorcing couples have limited assets and it makes no sense to have two lawyers earning that kind of money fighting each other over every little thing.

A dissolution of marriage in Washington State can cost next to nothing if the spouses can reach an agreement on their own, or they might hire a lawyer to mediate the agreement and then finalize it in court.

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