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Divorce Laws in Washington

In the State of Washington, divorce is called “dissolution of marriage.” There is a 90 day waiting period for dissolution of marriage.

Washington law strongly states that a parent who denies visitation rights due to failure to pay child support, or a parent who withholds child support due to failure to comply with visitation orders, may go to jail.

Residency and jurisdiction in Washington
At least one spouse must live, or be station by the military, in the State of Washington to file for divorce in the state.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in Washington
Washington only grants no fault divorce and only on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

A spouse may contest the divorce by claiming that the filing spouse has been coerced or induced by fraud to file for divorce, or by claiming that the marriage is not irretrievably broken. In either case the court must decide whether to grant dissolution of marriage or dismiss the petition.

Division of property in Washington
Washington is a community property State. Property is divided in half between spouses. The court will not consider marital misconduct when dividing property and must consider:

  • Nature and extent of community property
  • Nature and extend of separate property
  • Economic circumstances of each spouse
  • Child custody

Spousal support in Washington
In Washington, spousal support may be temporary or permanent. When determining spousal support, the court will not consider marital fault and must consider the following factors:

  • Length of marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Financial resources
  • Ability to be self supporting
  • Child support
  • Time necessary to become self supporting in a manner that suits the skills, interests, and lifestyle of the spouse seeking support
  • Age and physical and emotional health
  • Debts
  • Ability of spouse, from whom support is sought, to pay support while remaining self supporting

Child custody and support in Washington
When filing for divorce in Washington, a parenting plan must be submitted for approval by the court. The court will take into consideration all aspects of the parenting plan submitted by the parent or parents and then order a permanent parenting plan after considering:

  • Strength, nature and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent
  • Whether one parent has taken greater responsibility for daily parenting duties
  • Past and potential for future performance of parenting duties
  • Emotional needs of the child
  • Child’s relationship with siblings and other significant adults
  • Child’s involvement in school and other activities
  • Wishes of the parent
  • Wishes of the child if the child is mature enough to express a preference
  • Employment schedules

Washington follows the Income Shares Model for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Washington, contact an experienced Washington divorce attorney today.

Click here to select from Washington divorce lawyers in your area.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Washington and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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