For many, the decision to get a divorce is not arrived at lightly and may be very stressful. However, just how hard a divorce is depends on multiple variables. Your divorce might be as simple as completing the necessary divorce paperwork online and submitting them to a county clerk.
Given that you’re seeking an uncontested divorce (where you and your spouse agree) you can expect a straightforward process. On the other hand, if your situation is leading to a contested divorce, you should consider hiring a Tacoma Divorce Attorney. That way, you’ll understand how the courts handle such a situation. The Washington State courts will only finalize a divorce when both parties agree on all matters of the relationship. Such matters include property allocation, child custody and child support.
If you’re asking, what do divorce papers look like in Washington State? Read on below.
Washington Divorce Papers
If you’re petitioning for a divorce in Washington, you’ll need to complete several forms depending on your situation. The main form for filing a divorce in the state is known as the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. You’ll also have to complete a Summons, Confidential Information Form and a Vital Statistics Form. All those forms are available at the Washington Courts webpage.
You might not be familiar with all the possible forms and terms on the site, and that’s understandable. If you find the forms a bit overwhelming, you should get an attorney to help you. Failure to complete the paperwork correctly, presenting a wrong document or failing to submit a mandatory form may have negative consequences. Making an error may lead to significant delay or extra costs to your divorce case.
Filing Divorce Forms in Washington
After you’ve filled out your divorce paperwork, you’ll need to print and file them with a local county clerk. Here, you can choose to file in your county or the county in which your spouse resides.
It’s an excellent idea to call the county clerk’s office ahead of time to confirm that you’re bringing the documents. You should also bring the accepted form of payment for the Washington filing fee. Additionally, you should make extra copies of your divorce documents for your personal records, and to serve on your spouse.
Serving Divorce Papers in Washington State
The last phase in the filing process is to serve the divorce forms on your spouse. Given that your spouse and you are in agreement, you may avoid the serving process by filling out a Joinder to the Petition. However, if you need to serve the papers, you may hire a deputy sheriff or private process server to deliver them. If you don’t know where your spouse is, you can choose to publish a notice of your divorce in a local paper. But, that is a pricey option, so you may want to try other cheaper modes of locating your spouse.
As long as both parties stay in agreement about the divorce, the final court hearing will take place after 90 days. During the hearing, a judge will finalize the divorce.
If you need help with your divorce, don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Alliance Law Group. We are knowledgeable of all the divorce laws in Washington and will guide you through every stage.