Every family law case is different to a varying degree so the following information is offered to provide you with general information about family law matters. If you are sure that you will be needing our services, it will speed up the process if you can review or complete the Family Law Questionnaire which you can access by double clicking the name of the form.
Washington State is a ‘no-fault’ state and does not require that either party give a reason for wanting a divorce. Even if your spouse does not agree to a divorce, the court must still find that the ‘marriage is irretrievably broken’ and enter a Decree of Dissolution. (Dissolution is the term used by the State in place of the term divorce.) Any family law matter (dissolution, modification of child support, modification of parenting plan, determination of paternity) in the State of Washington begins with the filing of a summons and petition. If there are minor children, a proposed parenting plan must also be filed. We have provided more information on the requirements of parenting plans as required by The Parenting Act of 1987 and subsequent updates. If child support is at issue, child support worksheets, a child support order, and financial declaration are also required. The other party must either be served (by someone other than you) or sign an acceptance of service.
A dissolution can be finalized in as little as 90 days if the parties agree on all issues. If the parties cannot agree, a trial is held. Depending on the county, trial may be set at the time of filing, or you may be required to request a trial date before one is set. Trial dates in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties are generally set within a one year period from the date of the filing of your case.
You can request temporary relief from the court by filing a motion for temporary order, a proposed order, and a declaration(s) supporting your request. The motion would set out what you are requesting (i.e. child support, a parenting plan, etc.) and the declaration would set out the reasons you need temporary relief. The guidelines on filing a motion and the time requirements vary from county to county and are available on-line at Washington Court Rules.
The State of Washington requires that mandatory forms be used which are available for downloading from the State’s home page. The filing fee is $120 for a new domestic case. If you are modifying a prior order in the same county where it was entered, the filing fee is $30. If you are modifying a prior order that was entered in another county, the filing fee is $120 and you must attach a certified copy of the order to your petition.