How Long Does a Divorce Take in Washington?
June 13, 2023
In Washington State, divorce is among the available options to dissolve a marital union legally. However, the divorce process often involves a lot of sensitive emotions and can affect every aspect of your life, including your family, children, finances, assets, and future relationships. Therefore, before filing your divorce petition, you need to understand the legal procedures involved, what to expect, and how long it might take to finalize your case.
Attorney William E. Morgan is committed to offering reliable advocacy and personalized legal counsel to individuals and families in divorce-related matters. As an experienced family law attorney, he is available to discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about the eligibility requirements, process, and timeline for divorce in the state. The firm proudly serves clients across Grays Harbor County, Montesano, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Raymond, and Pacific County, Washington.
Filing for Divorce in Washington
Divorce is the legal process to dissolve or end a marriage or marital union. In most states, getting a divorce requires meeting the residency requirements of living in the state for a particular period. However, there is no specified length of time required for you or your estranged partner to live in the state of Washington to get a divorce. You (or your spouse) only need to be a Washington resident on the date you file your divorce petition.
Washington is a No-Fault Divorce State
Additionally, Washington is a "no-fault" divorce state. Under no-fault divorce laws, the spouse requesting divorce doesn't have to show that the other party was responsible for the relationship breakdown. Rather, they only have to prove irreconcilable differences. This means that you and your spouse can no longer get along, and there's no possibility for reconciliation in the future.
Washington Divorce Timeline
Furthermore, the divorce process in Washington starts when the requesting spouse files a petition for Dissolution of Marriage with any of the superior courts in the state. However, there is a waiting period of at least 90 days after filing – and serving the petition to the other party – before the court finalizes the judgment.
During the 90-day cooling-off period, the divorcing couples can resolve their pending issues and reach a settlement on various divorce matters. If they're unable to reach an agreement, the Washington court will not finalize the divorce. Rather, the couples will go through a divorce trial to settle any pending divorce issues through the court system.
Factors That Could Affect the Time
In general, it can take at least 91 days to get a divorce in Washington State. However, there are certain factors and issues that can delay or lengthen your divorce process. These include:
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, the couples mutually agree on the vital provisions and terms of the divorce agreement. In contrast, in a contested divorce, the spouses are unable to agree on one or more terms of the divorce settlement. Therefore, when divorce is contested, finalizing the marital dissolution case may take longer than anticipated.
Complications of the Circumstances
However, a number of different issues can easily make your divorce case become very complex. These include:
significant marital assets
custody of minor children
child support issues
a non-cooperating spouse
gray divorce (late-life divorce)
Essentially, any of the aforementioned issues can make the divorce proceedings drag on for an extended period.
Availability of the Court/Judges
In addition, the availability of judges or the court can affect the time it takes to get a divorce judgment. If court dockets are crowded, or the judge is very busy, your court dates may be rescheduled multiple times.
Don't Navigate the Divorce Process Alone
Navigating the divorce process in Washington State can be complicated and overwhelming. In addition, how long it will take to finalize your divorce will depend on the surrounding circumstances of your personal situation. Therefore, when considering filing for divorce, consulting a reliable family law attorney is crucial for proper guidance and to help you navigate crucial decisions.
William E. Morgan can offer you the personalized support and counsel you need throughout the entire legal process. Contact his firm—William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law—today to schedule a simple consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer. He serves clients and families throughout Grays Harbor County, Washington, as well as the communities of Montesano, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Raymond, and Pacific County.