Tacoma Divorce Lawyers
Protecting Your Rights & Interests During Divorce
If you find the prospect of dissolving your marriage daunting, you're not alone. Filing for and finalizing a divorce can be legally complex and emotionally challenging - but having a skilled divorce attorney by your side can make divorce easier to handle.
At Pacific Cascade Family Law, we provide high-quality, client-focused divorce counsel to Washingtonians. We'll help you navigate the dissolution of your marriage, advocating for your rights and best interests throughout the divorce process.
Let Us Shoulder the Burden of the Legal Complexities. Schedule Your Free Consultation Today: 888-981-9511.
The Requirements for Filing for Divorce in WA
You can file for a divorce in Washington if:
- You are legally wedded either through a traditional or common law marriage;
- You live in Washington or are a military service member who will be stationed in the state for 90 days after filing;
- At least one party believes the marriage is irretrievably broken, and filing for divorce is in the best interests of both parties.
Washington is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a party needs no other reason than believing the marriage is irretrievably broken to file for divorce. After filing, the parties must wait at least 90 days to finalize the divorce.
Filing for Divorce in Washington
Divorce is one of the most complex forms of civil litigation, which means filing for the dissolution of a marriage can be confusing. An experienced family lawyer can provide you with invaluable advice and handle the legal aspects of the process on your behalf, making the process significantly easier.
Before filing for a divorce with the county court, consult a divorce lawyer about your case. They can help you understand whether taking certain measures before filing, such as setting up a new bank account or credit card under your name only, could help streamline your case.
To begin the divorce process, you need to file a Petition for Divorce with your county court. This makes you the petitioner and the other party the respondent. The petition includes proposed terms for the divorce (such as how you want to divide property, handle custody, etc.).
You'll also need to provide the court with a substantial amount of information, including disclosures of property you own (separately and with your spouse), financial information such as tax returns and bank statements, and more. Your attorney can help you get the paperwork together and file it properly.
After filing your divorce forms with the court, you'll need to serve your spouse with said forms. You can either have a third-party serve them (often divorcees pay servers to complete this task), mail them the divorce forms, or publish a notice of the divorce (this is the least reliable option and typically used if the petitioner doesn't know the respondent's whereabouts).
After confirming that your spouse has been served, the server must complete a Proof of Service form. After being served, the respondent has 20 days to file a response with the court. Respondents can use a response to contest the proposed terms laid out in the petition.
Once the petitioner files for divorce and the respondent files a response, how the process proceeds largely depends on how the parties want to handle the divorce.
Ways to Finalize Your Divorce
People often choose to resolve a divorce in one of two ways:
- Uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse agree on terms for the divorce, you can draft an agreement detailing those terms. You can then file for an uncontested divorce. A judge will examine the agreement you draft and determine whether it's equitable. If the judge approves the agreement, they'll sign it and issue an official decree, finalizing the divorce.
- Contested divorce. If you and your spouse disagree on terms for the divorce, you can instead litigate it in court. In a litigated divorce, both parties attend court hearings and ultimately a trial where they present their cases. The judge examines the evidence and then drafts a decree they believe is equitable, finalizing the divorce.
Many divorces that begin as contested become uncontested over time. Parties often use a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation, to transition from a contested divorce to an uncontested divorce.
How much time and money your divorce takes to resolve largely depends on the details of your case. For example, if you file for a contested divorce or the divorce involves valuable assets, it may take longer to resolve than an uncontested divorce with less complications.
At Pacific Cascade Family Law, our experienced Tacoma divorce lawyers work with Washingtonians to handle divorce cases across the spectrum. Our conveniently located Tacoma office has free, safe, easy to find parking right off Interstate 5 at the Tacoma Mall Office Building.
Call 888-981-9511 Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Dedicated Law Firm.
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