With few exceptions, making the decision to divorce is rarely easy, and may take months or years worth of consideration. If you have ultimately reached the conclusion that dissolving your marriage is the best thing for everyone involved, the next step is starting the divorce process. Our Tacoma divorce attorneys at the office of the Alliance Law Group can guide you through the process and provide representation along the way.
1. Fill Out and File Divorce Forms
The process of filing for divorce starts with obtaining all of the required divorce forms and paperwork, filling them out, and then filing the documents with the court and paying a filing fee. All of the documents you need can be obtained at the clerk’s office or online at courts.wa.gov. Two of the most important documents in the process are the Petition for Divorce and the Summons.
2. Serve Your Spouse with Divorce Forms
Once you have filed the appropriate forms with the court, the next step is serving your spouse with the petition and summons. If you and your spouse have been talking about the divorce, this will likely come as no surprise to them, and you can merely hand them the documents. Otherwise, you may consider hiring a process server to assist you in serving your spouse.
3. Decide if You Have a Contested or Uncontested Divorce
If you are filing for a divorce, hopefully you and your spouse have discussed the divorce in depth, and as such, you already have an understanding of where each stands in regards to certain issues in the divorce that will undoubtedly require resolution, such as how property will be divided or with whom shared children will live. If your divorce is uncontested, that means that you and your spouse are in agreement about how to resolve all issues in the divorce. If your divorce is contested, you and your spouse are not in agreement.
If you have an uncontested divorce, then when your spouse receives the petition and summons for divorce, they will merely need to sign to acknowledge that they have received the divorce documents and are in agreement; the documents can then be filed with the court, and the divorce will be finalized after the waiting period has been satisfied.
If a divorce is contested, the process is more complicated.
4. Negotiate, Mediate, or LItigate Your Divorce
If a divorce is contested, spouses will need to reach an agreement before the court will sign off on a divorce, or they will need to litigate their case and get a court order in regards to the issues in the divorce that they are unable to resolve. In a contested divorce, lawyers are almost always involved.
Hire an Attorney to Get Started
If you haven’t already done so, you should hire a skilled attorney to guide you through the process of divorce and provide you with representation, especially if your divorce is contested. Our team of qualified family law attorneys in Tacoma is ready to serve you – reach us today to get started.