People handle divorces in a variety of ways. Some begin processing and accepting their divorce before asking their spouse to end the marriage. By the time the process has officially started, they are eager for a conclusion. That is understandable because they likely just want to move on with their lives or get a new start.
Happiness may be based on expectations. If you enter into the divorce process thinking it will be completed quickly, you may be disappointed. Not only are there mandatory waiting periods, but rushing through things may not be in your best interest over the long term.
Timelines & Waiting Periods
In Washington State, there is a minimum 90 waiting period. At the earliest, your divorce process is going to take 90 days. That clock starts when you are first served with the papers. Hypothetically, on the 91st day, you can finalize your divorce.
If you think 90 days is a significant amount of time, it is relatively short compared to some other states. For example, in North Carolina, couples have to be separated and live apart for a year before anyone can file for divorce.
Other Variables To Consider
You can finalize your divorce as soon as your waiting period ends if one of two things has happened:
- Both sides have come to an agreement
- The divorce gets finalized by default
The first point is more extensive than it appears. Should you not reach an agreement through mediation (sometimes known as a settlement conference), your case will have to go to trial. A trial could be scheduled as far out as 11 months after your initial filing (which is the current timeline in King County). Here are some of the common things that you and your spouse need to agree on:
- Child support and alimony
- Child custody
- Division of property & assets
- Division of marital debts
When a divorce becomes finalized by default, that means one of the parties didn’t respond. These typically occur when no assets or children are involved because those elements present the most potential for disagreements and complications. However, most people don’t finalize by default because the court may vacate (overturn) the judgment.
Lastly, you may not want to rush to finalize your divorce because you (and your attorney) need to ensure no stone is left unturned. People who are divorcing usually have spent several years merging their lives. You need to be confident that everything is accounted for. Otherwise, you may have to revisit your case to modify an existing judgment.
Since 2006, ZafiroLaw has been helping people achieve peace of mind by navigating the complex areas of family law. Whether you are preparing for a divorce, in the middle of one, or just have further questions, contact ZafiroLaw to schedule your consultation. Let’s shape your tomorrow together.