Washington Divorce Steps

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A divorce is a formal termination of marital relationship. It is regarded as the end of a social relation between partners. Nowadays, many marriages are going through the stage of divorce due to changed social and economical circumstances. Because of the preference given to the individual freedom and independence, marriage is not taken as a life-long bond. There are many grounds on which decision of divorce is taken. Though, a divorce is a private matter in couple's life, it has to be carried out legally. Therefore, it is very important to know the formalities involved in a divorce procedure.

Every state will design its own laws regarding the functioning of the divorce. Washington is one of the states where a no fault divorce is allowed. This implies that the Petitioner has to state that their marriage has been irretrievably broken and there is no need of any other explanation regarding the reason of divorce. The overall idea about divorce in Washington is given below:

Washington Divorce Steps regarding filing of forms

The Petitioner must fill in the following forms:

  • Confidential Information Form
  • Petition for Dissolution of marriage
  • Summons
  • Vital Statistics Form: This document is for reasons of state records
  • Parenting Plan (if there are children)
  • Order of Child Support with Child Support Worksheets (if there are children)

Most of these forms can be obtained from the Washington State Courts Website. For completion of these forms, steps must be taken to know the following data:

  • Regarding both the partners:
    • Full names
    • Dates and places of birth
    • Social Security Numbers
    • Date and place of marriage
    • Names and Birth dates of any children

In some counties in this state, there is a need of cover sheet to file for divorce. This is meant for the following purposes:

  • Clarification of jurisdiction
  • Identification of type of divorce case

The Petitioner must submit the original and signed forms to the court clerk in the county courthouse of the precise jurisdiction. Also, the Petitioner should retain with self the photocopies of these documents with the intention of serving them to the Respondent. The court clerk demands a filing fee while filing the documents. This filing fee can be waived if the Petitioner furnishes evidence of financial hardship.

Washington Divorce Steps after filing of forms

  • An individual, who is not a minor and who is not the Petitioner, should personally serve the documents. Such an individual may be a family member or a friend of the Petitioner

  • Such a personal service is possible if it is not likely that the Respondent would become belligerent or unruly during the service

  • The Respondent is expected to sign an Acceptance of Service

  • The signed Acceptance of Service or a Declaration of Service (by the individual who has served the documents) must be filed with the court clerk

  • There is a waiting period of 90 days from the date of filing till the divorce can be finalized

  • After the completion of the waiting period, the divorce case can be brought in front of a Judge or Court Commissioner

  • A judge appoints a Court Commissioner who is allocated the responsibility of hearing Family Law Matters and thereby, helping the court in its business

  • Every county in this state has its own rules at this stage. Hence, it is advisable to inquire with the court clerk or other court officials regarding those

  • Further, the court schedules a hearing date and issues the summons to inform the same to the petitioner

  • On the hearing date, the Petitioner must be present on the exact time, he or she must answer the questions asked by the judge at this time

  • The Judge reviews the paperwork during the hearing and makes some inquiries regarding the divorcing partners

  • If everything is in order, the Petitioner can have the marriage dissolved on the date of hearing

This is the way in which the Washington divorce steps work. Entering into the divorce decree is considered as a final step of divorce. Though, the sequence of the steps may be different in each case, the importance of these steps remains the same. A mutual divorce will require lesser steps than the contested one. Also, the time span for a mutual type of dissolution is shorter. Therefore, a no-fault divorce is regarded as the good option for spouses to reduce the intensity of harmful effects of divorce.

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