Low-Cost Divorce in Washington: In its essence, filing for divorce in Washington is a simple and straightforward procedure. But the general perception is that divorce is costly emotionally as much as financially. In fact, both aspects are in the control of the divorcing spouses. If a couple is reasonable enough to understand that their cooperation will save them money and nerve cells, they can have their dissolution of marriage over within months. Let’s examine in greater detail what is expected of couples who want a cheap divorce in the state of Washington.
Each family has its own definition of cheap and low-cost. But a rare family would call legal representation in divorce affordable if it went to trial. For this very reason, many spouses reason that having an uncontested divorce is the best option for all the parties involved in terms of expenses.
When spouses agree to an uncontested divorce, they resolve all their issues before taking their case to court. They are willing to have a no-fault divorce where neither spouse is to blame for ending the union. At that, Washington has no fault-based grounds for divorce like some other US states.
The main point is not to make a divorce a complicated affair with many months in court, battling child custody, alimony, or distribution of marital assets. At the same time, if spouses decide to use legal help with the paperwork and filing, each will need to hire a divorce lawyer. Most legal firms offer flat-fee uncontested divorce packages. In Washington, pricing starts from $1,195 (filing fees included).
At that, uncontested divorces can be pursued without an attorney, which will help each spouse to cut down on unnecessary divorce-related expenses. Do-It-Yourself divorce is a term for a situation when spouses prepare divorce papers and apply for divorce at the courthouse independently. Having a DIY divorce is not difficult as the state of Washington provides petitioners with free court forms to fill out and filing instructions to initiate the divorce process.
Between the costly option of an attorney-assisted process and the cheap DIY divorce, there is the middle ground of online divorce. Online divorce services assist divorcing spouses in preparing state-approved court forms for divorce over the Internet. Using Internet divorce forms generation tools, you can have divorce documents completed and forwarded to you. The only thing left to you is to file the forms with the court and do all the other steps in the Washington divorce timeline.
Step 1. Meet the requirements. Unlike many other US states, Washington has no specific requirements other than residency. Either spouse must live in the state at the moment of filing for divorce, without any specific length of time. The court will look at your driver’s license, mailing address, and voter registration for proof of residency.
Step 2. Fill out the divorce forms. Obtain an application for divorce online https://www.courts.wa.gov/, from a local courthouse, or from an Internet divorce service. Complete and notarize the forms.
Step 3. File the paperwork. The petitioner files the completed forms at the courthouse of their residence or the county where the spouse lives. Filing fees should be paid unless the court grants a fee waiver.
Step 4. Serve the respondent. In case of an uncontested divorce, spouses can file their divorce papers together. Then one spouse is the petitioner, and the other is a joinder to the petition. Otherwise, the non-filing spouse should be served with the petition. For this, the petitioner hires a sheriff or a process server and submits the receipt to the court.
Keep in mind that for filing a joint petition, spouses should have a less than 3-year marriage, no minor children together, no alimony request, less than $30,000 in personal property, and less than $15,000 in debt.
Step 5. Observe a cooling-off period. According to Washington law, the waiting period is 90 days after serving the spouse and before scheduling a court hearing. Spouses use that time to agree on custody, spousal support, and property division and to sign the settlement agreement. Also, each party is to file its financial disclosure. Both parents are to attend a parenting seminar and submit proof of it.
Step 6. Have your divorce finalized. In Washington, spouses are not required to attend a court hearing in case of an uncontested divorce. If the judge reviews the paperwork and ensures the agreement both parties reached is fair and just for all involved, the divorce is final.
What about families that would like to have the above-mentioned options but cannot agree on some issues? Mediation is cheaper than hiring a divorce attorney. Spouses can use mediation services to work through their disagreements and untangle the emotional knot of miscommunication. Legal Aid is the assistance of a divorce lawyer to petitioners who qualify for pro bono service. Consult the Washington State Bar Association.
In Washington, couples can start a divorce without third-party assistance, but there are requirements that not all spouses can meet. If you are ready to have an amicable divorce but need support preparing divorce forms, complete divorce online. Using the services of online divorce companies will help you initiate your dissolution fast and easily.