Divorce Washington

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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If you want to divorce, Washington state code permits it if you have lived in the state for as little as a fortnight. This is an exception to the rule in the United States. Only Alaska, South Dakota, and Washington have no residency requirements for divorce.

The sole grounds for divorce Washington defines is an "irretrievable breakdown of marriage." That is, it is a no-fault state and assertions of adultery, cruelty, or desertion have no standing in divorce proceedings. A Washington State Bar Association pamphlet cites three approaches to ending a marriage: annulment, separation, and dissolution.

Specifics of Divorce, as Defined by Washington State

While there are many legal issues that come into play in divorce, Washington requires only the most pressing be addressed. The steps it itemizes include the initial petition for dissolution, which is delivered as a summons to the other spouse who then responds with a counter-petition. Either spouse can then request a "show cause" proceeding, which can come into play if the two parties have unresolved practical issues, such as property, children, or debt. After this comes the required three-month waiting period, only after which will the court finalize the dissolution of the marriage.

When it comes to the paperwork required for divorce, Washington is as lenient as it is with residency. The state does provide specific forms to be filed in divorce proceedings. However, either party can delete unwanted sections of the form, and add new sections if desired. Furthermore, a party not using the mandated forms is not grounds to dismiss a claim. At the same time, if a party does not use them, the court can require a corrected pleading or impose a fine. If you need to find the correct forms for a Washington state divorce, you can find them online through a legal database. The best services will also offer legal advice, referrals, and may even fill out the forms for you, based on information you provide.

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