Even in situations where a couple has made an agreement to get a divorce, the process may seem lengthy. That is partly because of the amount of paperwork that needs to be filled, filed and served to the other spouse. In Washington, the necessary documentation can vary depending on whether minor children are involved and the parties can reach an agreement. An experienced Tacoma Divorce Attorney can help you in determining the required documents and when they should be filed.
Where to get divorce papers in Tacoma, WA
In the state of Washington, specific documents are needed by the court in order to start the process of divorce. That includes:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Summons
- Confidential Information Forms
- Forms that attest that the other party isn’t on active military duty
The divorce papers and instructions are available on the Washington Courts’ Divorce (Dissolution) webpage. Just before the divorce forms, you can click on the link that says, “General Information and Instructions about ending your Marriage.” The link leads to pages with information on what goes into marriage dissolution.
Additionally, you can get the location and contact details of every superior court in Washington on the Court Directory page.
After filing the initial divorce paperwork, you should serve the documents on your spouse. That can be done personally by a grownup other than yourself, or through mail if your spouse is open to signing an Acceptance of Service form. Next, file with the court a Return of Service form showing the time and location of service, and who served the documents. After that, the responding spouse has a time limit of 20 days to reply to the petition through a written response.
Documents for a Couple with Minor Children
Extra forms should accompany a divorce petition if minor children are involved, including child support worksheets and proposed plans for parenting. The proposed parenting plan indicates the type of custody arrangement the parents want. And if and why contact with the children should be limited for one of the spouses.
In the child support worksheet you’ll need to fill in the income of both you and your spouse. Also, you’ll have to detail the child care and medical expenses. That information forms the basis for the court to establish the child support amount.
Forms for a Couple that Agrees
Couples that agree about significant issues of their divorce usually file the proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law document. That form follows the filing of the dissolution complaint and informs the judge about property division, child support, alimony and residency. The court also asks the couple to submit a divorce decree that entails the specific divorce order and extra obligations.
Paperwork for a Couple that Cannot Reach an Agreement
For couples that fail to reach an agreement on significant matters linked to their divorce, the case proceeds to trial. Since the process is time-consuming and brings uncertainty, the parties can file temporary orders. The orders will request for certain amounts of alimony or child support, and also detail custody arrangements. Any temporary orders stay in effect until the dissolution decree is entered. Additionally, witnesses are usually needed to give testimony in trial and may be mandated to appear through the filing of subpoenas.