Not every marriage ends in ‘happily ever after.’ According to the Washington State Department of Health, over 25,000 couples got divorced in Washington state in 2016 alone. If your marriage comes to an end, you should be able to handle the complex financial, emotional, and legal issues that follow. This includes knowing how to file for divorce in the state.
If you have specific questions or concerns about the divorce process in Washington, a Tacoma Divorce Attorney from Alliance Law can help.
What Is the Residency Requirement?
Either you or your spouse must be a resident of Washington to file for divorce in the state. You don’t necessarily need to live in the state for a set length of time. However, one of you must establish residency. This could entail having a permanent home within the state and demonstrating that you intend to make it your primary residence.
Grounds for Divorce in Washington
You can file for divorce in Washington on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This means that you must believe there is no chance you and your spouse will reconcile. However, you are not required to provide all your reasons or even assign blame to your spouse. This is because Washington is a no-fault state.
Filing for Divorce
Washington courts will grant a divorce even if one spouse contests it. This means that you only need to file the proper forms and then rely on your attorney’s expertise to protect your rights. If you decide to end your marriage, here is what you can expect from the filing process:
Step 1: Preparing the Divorce Forms
To file for divorce in the state, you must complete several forms. This includes a Confidential Information Form, Confidential Information Form, Summons, and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The latter is the most important. It outlines how you wish to handle the following:
- Joint debt allocation
- Property division
- Spousal support
- Child custody
Step 2: Filing the Forms
Once you have acquired all the necessary forms, you should file them in the appropriate county. This could be where you live or your spouse’s home county. You could also file your forms in Lincoln County, which accepts documents from non-residents. However, both spouses must agree to this decision.
Step 3: Serving the Divorce Papers
The last step in the filing process is called the Service of Process. This is where you serve the filed forms on your spouse. Generally, this involves sending them copies of all the divorce forms and giving them a chance to respond. The delivery can be made by the sheriff, who you must pay, or a professional process server. If you can’t locate your spouse, you can publish a notice in the local newspaper.
Consult a Tacoma Divorce Attorney
Divorce is often complicated. It will likely involve sensitive issues such as child custody, alimony, and property distribution. Consequently, you should never go through the process alone. A Tacoma Divorce Attorney can help protect your rights and your child’s future.
Knowing how to file for divorce is a crucial first step. At Alliance Law, we go a step further to inform you of your rights and responsibilities during the process.