A divorce can be finalized as soon as 90 days following the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Washington State. However, there are many reasons why it may take longer. The process isn’t always straightforward and simple, as there are typically a number of issues that require resolution.
90 Day Cooling Off Period
Even under the best set of circumstances, it will take at least 90 days to obtain a dissolution decree, to legally end a marriage. This is due to Washington State’s mandatory 90-day waiting period, also called a “cooling off period.” It is imposed on all divorces, and the clock begins once the petition is served. There is no way to reduce this minimum time limit.
Contested vs. Uncontested
An uncontested divorce means that a couple is in general agreement on both getting a divorce and the terms of it. Filing an uncontested divorce petition signals to the court that the couple has settled all of their major issues.
Whereas, a divorce that is contested will take longer and requires additional proceedings and much more paperwork to be filed before the divorce can be finalized. There will be a discovery phase, in which each spouse’s divorce attorney will have to gain information about the other party by exchanging documents and investigating the couples’ assets, finances, debts, and parenting behaviors. This information can later be used as evidence if the couple must attend hearings to have a family court judge settle particular issues or problems. The judge will then make the final decision on how the matter will be resolved.
In an uncontested divorce, there will not be a trial, since the parties have agreed upon the terms of their divorce. Therefore, discovery will either be skipped or only a few documents will be exchanged.
Issues that Could Delay Your Divorce
Some of the major issues involved in legally ending a marriage, that can delay the process, are:
These are but a few of the issues that need to be decided before the court can grant a divorce.
Final Court Orders
Once a divorce is approved and signed by a judge, final court orders will be issued. Final orders will only be entered after one of the following scenarios has occurred:
All issues have been resolved, and each party is in agreement.
A trial has been conducted to resolve all contested matters.
The 90 day cooling off period has expired and the spouse who was served failed to respond.
Once the final court order is filed with the court clerk, the divorce will be considered finalized. The document will outline the details of the divorce, including the settlement agreement and the specifics of support and child custody.
Contact a Spokane Divorce Attorney
If you are in need of legal assistance with your divorce or family law matter in Spokane, contact Twyford Law Office. We will set up a free consultation with an experienced divorce attorney.