Grounds for divorce
Where to file
Mediation or counseling
Disposition of property
A spouse filing for divorce in the State of Washington may seek dissolution of marriage based on "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage". Neither spouse has to prove the other’s "fault" in not saving the family.
What is the difference between fault divorce and no-fault divorce?
Before a Washington Court hears a divorce case parties must meet certain residency requirements.
In order to file for divorce in Washington a spouse must be
- a resident of this state, or
- a member of the armed forces and be stationed in this state, or
- be married or in a domestic partnership to a party who is a resident of this state or who is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in this state.
Washington courts will not act on a divorce case until 90 days have elapsed since the filing and the service of summons on the respondent. (Revised Code of Washington,
A proceeding for dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership, legal separation or a declaration concerning the validity of a marriage or domestic partnership shall be entitled "In re the marriage of . (name). . and . (name). . ." or "In re the domestic partnership of . . .. . . and . . . . ." Such proceedings may be filed in the superior court of the county where the petitioner resides. (Revised Code of Washington, § 26.09.010)
Mediation may be ordered either by the court or by a request of a spouse after filing for a divorce to help in the settlement. The purpose of the mediation proceeding shall be to reduce acrimony which may exist between the parties and to develop an agreement assuring the child's close and continuing contact with both parents after the marriage or the domestic partnership is dissolved. The mediator shall use his or her best efforts to effect a settlement of the dispute.
The mediator may be a member of the professional staff of a family court or mental health services agency, or may be any other person or agency designated by the court. In order to provide mediation services, the court is not required to institute a family court.
The mediator shall assess the needs and interests of the child or children involved in the controversy and may interview the child or children if the mediator deems such interview appropriate or necessary. (Revised Code of Washington, § 26.09.15)
In a proceeding for dissolution of the marriage, or for legal separation, or in a proceeding for disposition of property following dissolution of the marriage, the Washington Courts consider the following factors:
- The nature and extent of the community property;
- The nature and extent of the separate property;
- The duration of the marriage or domestic partnership; and
- The economic circumstances of each spouse or domestic partner at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to a spouse or domestic partner with whom the children reside the majority of the time.
(Revised Code of Washington, § 26.09.080)
To promote amicable settlement of disputes between parties to a marriage attendant on their separation or the dissolution of their marriage, the parties may enter into a written separation agreement containing provisions for disposition of any property owned by either of them, maintenance of either of them, and support, custody and parenting time of their children. A separation agreement may provide that its maintenance terms shall not be modified. (Revised Code of Washington, § 26.09.070)
Unless the separation contract provides to the contrary, the agreement shall be set forth in the decree of dissolution, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity, or filed in the action or made an exhibit and incorporated by reference, except that in all cases the terms of the parenting plan shall be set out in the decree, and the parties shall be ordered to comply with its terms. (Revised Code of Washington, § 26.09.070)
Parents have the responsibility to make decisions and perform other parental functions necessary for the care and growth of their minor children. In any proceeding between parents under this chapter, the best interests of the child shall be the standard by which the court determines and allocates the parties' parental responsibilities.
The state of Washington recognizes the fundamental importance of the parent-child relationship to the welfare of the child, and that the relationship between the child and each parent should be fostered unless inconsistent with the child's best interests. Residential time and financial support are equally important components of parenting arrangements.
The best interests of the child are served by a parenting arrangement that best maintains a child's emotional growth, health and stability, and physical care. Further, the best interest of the child is ordinarily served when the existing pattern of interaction between a parent and child is altered only to the extent necessitated by the changed relationship of the parents or as required to protect the child from physical, mental, or emotional harm. (Revised Code of Washington, § 26.09.002)
Upon request by a party at any time prior to the signing of the decree of dissolution or annulment by the court, the court shall order that party's requested former name be restored.