State Laws

Washington Divorce

     

Washington Divorce Requirements
The state of Washington has specific residency requirements that need to be met prior to filing for divorce. Divorce cases are handled by the county circuit court system, which means where individuals file for divorce is important.

Prior to submitting a divorce petition in Washington an individual must first reside within the state borders and be a state resident. Those who are stationed in Washington for service in the armed forces are considered state residents and may petition for divorce.

Also all those who are currently married to a Washington state resident or an individual serving in the United States armed forces may petition for a Washington divorce.

If both individuals reside within the state but live in separate counties, either individual may petition for divorce in either county. When individuals file for divorce on the claims of irreconcilable differences, at least ninety days must pass before the court will continue the filing process and summon the opposing spouse.

Grounds for Divorce
When individuals file for divorce they must also state why they desire a divorce. This is called the grounds for divorce. Each state has different grounds for divorce.

Washington divorcing grounds will not be legal in the surrounding states. Prior to filing the individuals involved will decide upon which grounds they will file and present them to the court. If only one individual is filing for divorce, he or she will need to prove these decided grounds before the court.

Washington divorce grounds include the grounds of irretrievable breakage. This is where the couple states that the marriage is diminished beyond repair. Under these circumstances many couples first enter into marriage counseling prior to filing for divorce. The grounds of irretrievable breakage also do not name one individual responsible for the divorce decree.

Under these grounds both individuals must agree that the marriage is beyond repair before the court will consider granting a divorce petition. If one individual opposes that the marriage is beyond repair, the court will consider the situation and the reasoning for the claims.

If the court cannot find true reason to grant the divorce, the petition will be dismissed. The circumstances of the marriage and any possible means of reconciling will also be considered before a decision is discussed.

Distributing Property
When a divorce petition is to be granted, the individuals must then divide the acquired marital property. The state of Washington is considered a community property state where all the property in the marriage is to be divided equally between the individuals.

Other states may be considered equitable property states where the property is distributed fairly, rather than equally. If those involved cannot reach a decision on who shall claim which kind of property, the court will intervene.

The court will consider all the factors surrounding the marriage when dividing the property. These things include which spouse has custody of an subsequent children, the individual's employment status, the length of the marriage, each individual's contribution to the household, and each individual's economic status.

The court will also consider any circumstances of desertion, infidelity, and marital misconduct.

See also:
Washington Felony
Washington Gun Laws
Washington Bankruptcy Laws
Washington Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
Washington Expungement External link (opens in new window)