Understanding the framework and requirements of the dissolution process in Washington will better prepare you for your divorce.
Usually, one spouse files for divorce against the other by filing a petition for dissolution of the marriage.
An attorney will advise you and assist you in determining the proper and hopefully, the most beneficial approach for your situation.
The discussion that follows is from the standpoint of the spouse filing for dissolution of marriage in Washington, designated in the court documents as the "petitioner." If you are the spouse who is served with divorce papers, the process is the same as outlined below, but you are designated as the "respondent." If you receive a divorce summons and petition for dissolution filed by your spouse you should speak with a qualified Washington family law attorney immediately about protecting your rights.
Your case must also be filed in proper venue, or county within the state.
If any of the following is true, the Washington court will have jurisdiction over your dissolution action: For venue to be proper, you must file in either the county where your spouse, the respondent, lives, or the county where you live.
There is one basis for dissolution of marriage in Washington: that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Washington is a no-fault state meaning that it is unnecessary to prove to the court which spouse caused the divorce.
Review the summons and petition carefully, and discuss your concerns with your divorce attorney.
You usually have 20 days to respond to the petition. Consider the time it will take you to hire an attorney, review the petition, locate paperwork and records, and complete any other tasks involved in preparing your response to the petition and filing it with the Washington court. The steps provided below give the typical procedure in a typical Washington divorce case from before the petition to the decree.
You may file a motion for temporary orders asking the court to make temporary orders regarding child support, a temporary parenting plan for your kids, who will reside in your home, and finances while your case is pending.