Divorce proceedings will not begin until at least 90 days have elapsed since the petition was filed and the respondent has been properly served. In order to file for divorce in Washington, one of the parties must be either:
To be granted a divorce in Washington, at least one party must allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
If the other party joins in the petition or does not deny that the marriage or domestic partnership is irretrievably broken, the court shall enter a decree of dissolution.
If the other party alleges that the petitioner was induced to file the petition by fraud, or coercion, the court shall make a finding as to that allegation and, if it so finds shall dismiss the petition.
If the other party denies that the marriage or domestic partnership is irretrievably broken the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the circumstances that gave rise to the filing of the petition and the prospects for reconciliation.
Washington is a community property state meaning all property acquired during the marriage is divided equally (50/50). Property owned by a spouse before marriage and any property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, descent, or inheritance, shall not be subject to distribution.
In a Washington divorce case, the court will divide property and liabilities of the parties, either community or separate, in an equitable manner after considering all relevant factors, including:
The court may grant a maintenance order for either party. The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, without regard to misconduct, after considering all relevant factors including but not limited to:
Each party to a child custody decision should file a proposed parenting plan with the court within 30 days after filing and service by either party of a notice for trial or 180 days after commencement of the action. The court may order an investigation and report concerning parenting arrangements for the child, or may appoint a guardian ad litem. The investigator's report may be received in evidence at the hearing.
The objectives of the permanent parenting plan are to:
The court shall make residential provisions for each child which encourage each parent to maintain a loving, stable, and nurturing relationship with the child, consistent with the child's developmental level and the family's social and economic circumstances.
The court shall consider the following factors:
The court may assign child support payments to either or both parents to help support the dependent child. The amount is based off a set guideline to ensure support orders are adequate to meet a child's basic needs and to provide additional child support commensurate with the parents' income, resources, and standard of living. It is intended that the child support obligation should be equitably apportioned between the parents.