What You Need to Know About Washington State Divorce
Getting a divorce can become a complex process. Here are the most frequently asked questions about Washington State Divorce FAQs.
1. When are you eligible for divorce in Washington?
A Washington state court may grant a divorce if:
- The marriage is legal
- One of the spouses resides in Washington state
- Parties prove the marriage is irretrievably broken
- At least 90 days pass since the petition’s service
2. What are the residency requirements in Washington state?
A party may file for divorce in Washington state if one spouse is a resident or a military member stationed in Washington state.
3. What are the grounds for divorce in Washington?
Grounds for divorce in Washington are when a marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
4. What if one spouse does not want a divorce?
An agreement between parties is not necessary for a party to file for divorce. If one spouse wants a divorce, the other party cannot prevent their decision to file.
5. How long is the waiting period for divorce in Washington state?
If both spouses agree, the judge may grant a divorce after 90 days.
6. What is the waiting period if the spouses disagree?
The waiting period may vary. The judge will decide if the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and grant the divorce based on their decision. The judge may also decide, or if the spouses ask for it, to transfer the case to a family court, and refer the spouses to a counseling service. By the end of the process, the spouse may decide to get back together or the judge may finally grant the divorce.
7. When can a spouse get alimony in Washington state?
A Washington state court grants alimony from one spouse to another. Alimony may apply in annulment, legal separation, and divorce cases. The alimony may be temporary while the case is ongoing or may begin after the case ends.
8. Which factors determine if a spouse gets alimony in Washington state?
Determining factors for alimony in Washington state include:
Each spouse’s financial resources and how they can support themselves and their child
How much time a party needs for education and/or training to meet their lifestyle needs
The marriage’s previous living standard
Spouse’s age and emotional and physical condition
9. Do Washington state courts have the jurisdiction to hear every divorce case?
If both spouses live in Washington, the court has jurisdiction. However, for cases with property or spouses in other states during the marriage, the court may not have proper jurisdiction.
10. What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?
The judge orders items on the same issues between legal separation and divorce, like parenting, child support, and property division.
11. What is the benefit of legal separation rather than divorce in Washington state?
Legal separation may:
- Suit parties better for religious reasons
- Prevent the marriage from ending
Legal separation also means:
- The Social Security Administration does not recognize legal separation
- The spouses cannot remarry
12. Do spouses need a legal separation before filing for divorce?
Legal separation is not necessary before spouses divorce in Washington state.
13. What is the difference between annulment and divorce?
Annulment makes the marriage invalid, while divorce ends a marriage. Spouses may choose annulment if they have an acceptable reason for its invalidity.
14. What are acceptable reasons for the invalidity of marriage in Washington state?
Acceptable reasons for an invalid marriage in Washington state include:
- One spouse was too young to marry
- A spouse was already married to someone else
- Spouses are blood relatives
- One spouse was mentally incapacitated, for example, by alcohol or drugs, to consent to the marriage
15. What can a Washington state divorce decree do?
A Washington state divorce decree can:
- Divide property and debts
- Order alimony, if appropriate
- Change a spouse’s name
- Order child support
- Establish a parenting plan
Getting a Divorce
16. Does a Washington state divorce require a lawyer?
A Washington state divorce may not require a lawyer, but parties may disagree on divorce matters. It can become difficult for parties to protect their rights and assets without a lawyer to help.
17. What are the basic steps to file for a divorce in Washington state?
To divorce in Washington state, the filing party must:
- Meet the residency requirements
- Have appropriate grounds for divorce
- Serve divorce papers to the other spouse
- Spouses must file their own papers if they disagree
- Create a settlement agreement to divide property, debts, pension, etc.
Abusive Litigation in Washington State
18. What is abusive litigation in Washington state?
Abusive litigation is when a harasser uses the court system to control, intimidate, or coerce a partner.
19. How can a spouse restrict abusive litigation?
If the court deems a partner has committed domestic violence and continues to use abusive litigation, an individual may:
- File a motion for an ongoing case
- Get an order of protection
- Make a written response to the case
20. What are the consequences of abusive litigation in Washington state?
A judge may make the abuser pay all civil costs and prevent them from filing in court without a judge’s permission first.