Things You Need To Know About Divorce Law in Washington

by ECL Writer
Cost Of Divorce In Washington State

Things You Need To Know About Divorce Law in Washington – Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, and understanding the laws that govern it is crucial. If you’re considering or going through a divorce in Washington, there are several key aspects you need to be aware of. From property division and child custody to spousal support and the legal requirements for filing, navigating the divorce law landscape in Washington requires knowledge and preparation.

In this article, will explore the essential things you need to know about divorce law in Washington, providing you with valuable insights and guidance to help you make informed decisions during this difficult time.

No-Fault Divorce

Washington is a state with no-fault divorce. To get a divorce, neither side needs to demonstrate that the other did anything wrong. Simply stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken is sufficient for divorce. Unless the court also needs to enter a parenting plan and the information would assist the court in determining what is in the best interests of the children, evidence of domestic violence, mental health issues, or extramarital affairs is typically not taken into consideration by the court.

Residency Requirement

If you live in Washington State, if you are stationed there as a member of the armed forces, or if you are married to someone who is a resident of Washington State or a member of the armed forces stationed there, you may apply for divorce there. Before the court has the right to hear your case, you do not need to retain your residency for any amount of time.

Waiting Period

The Petition for Divorce must be filed in Washington State 90 days before a final divorce decree may be entered, but most divorces take longer to complete than that.

Informal Family Law Trial (IFLT)

A new rule that permits parties to take part in an informal family law trial (IFLT) was recently adopted by Washington State. In an IFLT, witness testimony is offered in writing (with a few exceptions), evidence is given directly to the court, and the judge examines the parties to the divorce directly, preventing cross-examination of either party. The rules of evidence are relaxed in IFLTs, therefore hearsay evidence, which is often disregarded by courts, may be presented and taken into account by the court if it is pertinent to the family law matter being resolved.

Spousal Support

According to Washington State law, in some divorce cases, the court may mandate spousal maintenance. The court takes into account the length of the marriage, the style of living during the marriage, each spouse’s age and health, as well as their financial capacity.

No Jury

In Washington State, your divorce will not be decided by a jury. If your case proceeds to trial, the only person your attorney will submit evidence to is the judge. You should still expect your lawyer to call witnesses, write an opening and closing argument, and submit evidence exhibits to the judge for consideration.

Length Of Marriage

The length of the marriage significantly affects how a dissolution case turns out in the end. A “short-term marriage” is one where the marriage has lasted for no more than five years, according to Washington law. In a short-term marital divorce, the court works to fairly and equitably distribute the parties’ assets and put them back in the same financial situation as before the marriage.

You might have a medium-length marriage if you’ve been together for between five and fifteen years. The court aims to fairly and equitably distribute the marital estate in marriages of a medium length and to temporarily equalize the parties’ quality of living.

A long-term marriage is one that has lasted 25 years or longer. The goal of a fair and equitable asset division in a long-term marriage is to maintain a long-term or permanent level of living for both spouses.

Retirement Plans

Contributions made during the marriage are regarded as marital assets if one or both spouses contributed money to a retirement plan. The judge will split the retirement contributions in a fair and equitable manner, much like with property distributions. The retirement account manager cannot properly divide the accounts until the parties have filed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) with the court.

Child Custody

A parenting schedule that specifies how much time each parent spends with the children in their primary residence will be issued by the court, along with a child support order that will make sure that all of the children’s financial requirements are covered. In order to decide on a residential schedule that is in the child’s best interest, the judge will evaluate the evidence that has been given. Both parents are often given a sizable amount of residential time with the child, barring any restrictions like a history of domestic violence or substance addiction.

Division Of Property

Washington State law seeks to divide the assets and liabilities of the marriage in a fair and equitable manner. The judge has a lot of discretion to divide property in a divorce; “fair and equitable” does not always mean 50/50. Your attorney can help you advocate for a division of assets and liabilities that will set you up for success in the future.

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