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When spouses are able to compromise and keep open communication throughout the divorce process, they can retain control over the decision-making process in their divorce rather than leaving it all up to a trial judge.

When divorcing spouses can agree on all the terms of their divorce, they can pursue an "uncontested" divorce. This article provides a general overview of the process to obtain an uncontested divorce in Washington. If after reading this article, you still have questions about obtaining an uncontested divorce, contact a local family law attorney for advice.


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Uncontested or "simplified" divorces are available to couples with or without children and are generally much less expensive than contested divorces. Washington offers a simplified process for uncontested divorces if spouses are able to agree on all issues in their divorce.

These types of divorces are commonly referred to as divorces by agreement in Washington. With a divorce by agreement, the spouses must agree on every issue in the divorce including child custody and child support, if children are involved. For more information on calculating child support for divorce purposes in Washington, click here.

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The following is a list of major issues that must be resolved by the spouses before filing an uncontested divorce action in Washington:. If you meet the all above criteria, you may proceed with your uncontested divorce by filing the required forms as discussed below. The spouse who files the initial paperwork is called the "petitioner" and the other spouse will be the "respondent.

Unlike other states, Washington does not require you to reside in the state for any specified period of time. If you plan to file for divorce without the help of an attorney, you will be responsible for filing the right documents in the right court.

Washington has 39 superior courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction and oversee divorce cases and trials. Some counties have more than one superior court. Typically, you will file your divorce paperwork in the county where you reside.

Court Forms: Divorce (Dissolution)

In cases where you and your spouse live in different counties of Washington, you can file in the county in which you live or the county where your spouse lives. The Washington State Courts offer online forms for completing an uncontested divorce available here or in hard copy at the local courthouse. The following documents must be filed with your divorce paperwork:.

If you and your spouse have children together under the age of 18, then the following forms must be filed as well:. The required paperwork to complete a divorce in Washington varies from county to county and depending on where you live, forms may be required in addition to those listed above. Check with your local court clerk to determine if you need to file additional forms.

For spouses with children, Washington requires the spouses to complete a divorce education course. Once 90 days from the filing date have passed, the judge will review your paperwork. If the judge approves your divorce settlement and custody arrangement, the judge will sign the Findings of Fact and Decree of Dissolution. The date the judge signs the Decree of Dissolution is when your divorce becomes final.

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In Washington State, when children are involved in a divorce, the parties are required to attend a mandatory seminar that addresses the impact of divorce on children. Unless attendance is waived, parents must attend the parenting seminar and provide proof of their attendance and completion to the court before their case will be finalized by the court.

Seattle Divorce, How to Get the Washington State Divorce Process Started

Discovery is a process during which you can acquire information that relates to your divorce from your spouse or others. Discovery may include sending specific questions Interrogatories and requests for specific documents Requests for Production to your spouse. Requests for documents can also be sent to third parties, like banks, to get information that may assist you in preparing your case. Discovery also includes Depositions, which allows your lawyer, with the opposing lawyer also present, to ask a witness questions in front of a court reporter or other official reporter.

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Your divorce lawyer will help you to develop a discovery plan to get the information you will need to complete your case. Many Washington courts, including King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties, require both parties to make attempts to settle their differences by alternate dispute resolution, i. One exception to this rule may be where domestic abuse has occurred. Mediation refers to use of a qualified neutral third party who attempts to facilitate settlement.

Divorce Worksheets To Prepare for Divorce

In mediation, the neutral is not an advocate and will not provide legal advice. Most discussions that occur in mediation are not admissible in Court under the public policy consideration that favors a free exchange of information between the parties to help them resolve their differences. Arbitration refers to the use of a third party, either an attorney or former judge, to hear and decide the disputed issues.

You and your spouse may settle your divorce case after agreeing to a settlement proposal or through negotiation, mediation or another similar resolution process. Your attorneys will prepare final orders setting out those agreements property settlements, parenting plan, child support, etc. Your divorce will be final when the court approves the settlement and the family law judge signs the agreement. In Seattle and the surrounding areas making up King County, trial is scheduled almost a year after your case is filed.

How to File for Divorce in Washington State - a Beginner's Manual | Divorce Lawyers for Men

At trial, you and your spouse will both have the opportunity to present your case to the court and request that the judge decide the issues in your favor. You will have the opportunity to call witnesses and to testify as a witness yourself. The Judge then makes a final ruling on all issues. If you have dependent children, you will need to file a Final Parenting Plan with the certificates from the parenting education seminar and.

Weintraub Law Office offers divorce and family law representation, consultation, and flat fee mediation services in King County, Snohomish County, and Pierce County.