Experienced Divorce Lawyers in Seattle
Coming to the decision that a divorce is necessary to resolve your marriage issues is not something that any married couple arrives at easily. You may have worries about what will happen to any assets gained during your union and how much of the marital debt you will have to bear. As a community property state, Washington law may not recognize some of your property as yours alone and require that a portion goes to your partner. To get a better understanding of how the Washington divorce process works, our divorce lawyers at ZafiroLaw are here to help provide you the information you need to make the best decisions possible during the difficult process of divorce.
How Do I File for Divorce in Washington?
No matter what leads to your marriage breaking down, the state of Washington does not require someone to be at fault. As a no-fault state, the only reason necessary for divorce is that your marriage is irretrievable, meaning you and your spouse will not reconcile. Under the law, only one of you needs to file for divorce with the belief that your marriage is irreconcilable, regardless of your spouse protesting your action.
Requirements for Filing A Divorce Action
Washington Divorce Residency Requirements
Before filing for divorce in King County or Snohomish County, you need to be certain that the state has jurisdiction over your case, which means you will also need to ensure you have filed in the correct county or courthouse within the state.
If you meet any of the below factors, you can file for divorce in the state of Washington:
- You or your spouse are a Washington resident
- You are a military member stationed in Washington
- Your spouse is a military member stationed in Washington and will be so for at least 90 days after you file and serve your divorce action
To make sure you have the right venue for your case, you will need to file in the county where you or your spouse lives. For example, if you live in Kirkland, Washington, you would need to submit your petition for dissolution of marriage to the King County Superior Court.
Forms Necessary for a Washington Divorce
To file for a divorce, the state requires both you and your ex-spouse to fill out several documents, the primary one of importance being Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This form will outline to the court your preference for the division of debts and property, any spousal support you would want to receive, and any custody plans you have in mind for your children, and other related issues.
Besides the initial petition, you must also file the following:
- Confidential Information Form
- Vital Statistics Form.
Any mistakes made could cause your divorce to be delayed or give your former spouse more than what they are entitled to in property and assets. It is best to rely on an experienced Seattle divorce lawyer like those at ZafiroLaw to handle the completion and filing of these documents. We can review what you are asking for and advise you on how the court may respond to your request.
Financial Disclosure Requirement
Before the court can enter orders that require a party to pay the other party Child Support, Spousal Maintenance, or Attorney Fees, a Financial Declaration is needed by the court. Normally, this is handled at the very beginning of this process and will require you to share all information regarding your income, assets, expenses, and debts.
Knowing what should or should not go onto the disclosure involves an in-depth understanding of Washington divorce law regarding asset and debt division. ZafiroLaw has many years of experience helping couples in Snohomish and King Counties with this step.
Impact of Conflicts in a Washington Divorce Proceeding
If you can agree on all the issues and have your paperwork filed correctly, a judge will likely dissolve your marriage. If faced with a dispute regarding how your assets will get divided or which parent your child will primarily live with, it is vital to find a way to resolve the issue before your case goes to trial. The court requires that parties participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution, which is also known as “Settlement Conference” or “Mediation” where a neutral third-party will try to mediate the situation and help you both reach a compromise.
In situations where mediation fails, the court will schedule a trial date and render a decision on any disputed issues. Once this step is complete, a final “Decree of Dissolution of Marriage” will be ordered.
How ZafiroLaw Can Help
At ZafiroLaw, we believe that knowing what to expect during a divorce marital dissolution proceeding can help you make rational decisions and avoid unnecessary disputes that cause drawn-out divorce experiences. Reach out to one of the experienced Washington divorce lawyers today and set up a free consultation to learn more about the divorce process before you file.
We can also advise you on any special requirements your local court might have in addition to state law. Our divorce lawyers are currently based out of Seattle in King County and serve many cities in the area, including Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Kent, and Mill Creek. We also take family cases in Snohomish County. Call us at 206-547-9906 or contact us online!