Washington Divorce Laws

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A divorce in Washington is governed by the Washington laws. There are many aspects of the divorce such as child custody, child support, alimony, property division, etc. These issues are handled by many legal statutes that are enforceable by the laws. Some of the important points regarding these issues are mentioned below.

Laws regarding Child Support

Child support can be borne by one of the parents. The support has to be paid either directly to one of the partner or through the Washington support system. This state believes in observing the Income Shares Model as per which the combined income of the parents is considered while finding the basic child support obligation:

  • If the combined monthly income is less than 5000 USD, then the presumptive amount is set for support
  • If the combined monthly income is from 5000 to 7000 USD, then the advisory amount is set for support
  • If the combined monthly income is greater than 7000 USD, then the Court deviates from the advisory or presumptive amounts

Laws regarding Child Custody

The Court arranges for child custody in such a manner that the physical care, stability, health and emotional growth of the child are best maintained. Child custody is an important issue that can have a large impact on the life of children. The Court contemplates over the following issues before awarding child custody:

  • The employment schedule of each parent is observed and accommodations are made that are consistent with this schedule.
  • The desires of the parents regarding the residential schedule.
  • If the child is mature enough to form a reasoned and independent preference, then the preference of the child regarding the residential schedule.
  • The involvement of the child in school, in the physical surroundings or other crucial activities.
  • The relation of the child with other significant adults and with siblings.
  • The developmental level and emotional requirements of the child.
  • The agreements amongst the parties on condition that these were made voluntarily and knowing.
  • The relative stability, nature and strength of the relation of the child with each parent.
  • Other factors that the Court thinks are relevant.

Washington Divorce laws related to Residency Requirements

The Washington laws require the person to complete the residency conditions before applying for the case. If the conditions for residence in the state are not fulfilled, an appeal for divorce would not be entertained by the court. At the time of filing a petition, an applicant or the spouse should be resident of the state. The military members, who are stationed in this state, are eligible for getting a divorce after completing certain time duration.

Alteration of name

After a marriage has been declared invalid or dissolved, if any partner requests to restore a former name or change to another name, the Court issues the necessary orders.


Some of the factors considered by the Court while determining alimony award are as follows:

  • The standard of living enjoyed during marital life.
  • The duration essential to the partner seeking alimony to attain enough training or education to be selected for a job compatible to his or her style of life, interests, skills or other conditions.
  • The economical sources of the partner seeking alimony inclusive of community and / or separate property allocated in the settlement agreement and the resultant capacity of this partner to fulfill the self requirements independently.
  • The capacity of the partner from whom alimony is demanded to fulfill self and the other partner's economical obligations.
  • The economical obligations, emotional state, physical condition and age of the partner seeking alimony.
  • The period of marital life.

Property Distribution

This state is a community property state. Except when the partners have reached an agreement independent of the Court, the debts and property attained during the marriage are separated in an equal manner. If the issue is to be solved by the Court, the following issues are thought over:

  • The period of marital life
  • The extent and nature of separate and community property
  • The financial conditions of each partner when the property division would take place, inclusive of the wish of one partner to award the family residence or the right to reside in it for a reasonable duration with the partner with whom the children stay for a major part of their time.

The property considerable under the property division is marital property earned by the both spouses. Separate property gained through inheritance and gifts is taken as personal property. Thus, it is not divided between the partners.

So, these are some important issues that are handled under the Washington divorce laws. The implication of the laws and requirements will change slightly according to the nature of the case and type of a divorce.

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