Experienced & Compassionate Divorce Representation in Spokane, WA
The decision to divorce is something that most couples do not come to lightly. It can be very upsetting to everyone involved, and matters can be complicated even further if children resulted from the marriage, or there was debt, wealth, or the acquisition of property. The more you know about the divorce process, the better you will be able to manage it and the less stress you will experience.
Contact the family law team at Twyford Law Office by calling (509) 327-0777 or completing our online form. Our Spokane divorce attorneys have the experience and dedication you need to pursue a satisfactory resolution. We have helped many clients with family law cases in Washington state and would be happy to help you.
Is it Worth Getting a Divorce Lawyer?
An experienced family law attorney can provide sound advice and help make the separation process less stressful for you. In certain circumstances, you should definitely consider retaining a lawyer. These include situations in which:
Abuse is present in the relationship
You suspect your spouse is lying or being vindictive
Your spouse has hired a lawyer
Your divorce involves children or complex, high-asset financial issues
One spouse is a legal resident of the state of Washington or is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in Washington (as long as one spouse is a legal resident of the state, either spouse can file for divorce)
The spouse who is filing deems the marriage to be irretrievably broken
The 90-day waiting period has passed
The other spouse has been served the summons
Grounds for Divorce in Washington State
Washington is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the only grounds for divorce is “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” In some states this is called “irreconcilable differences” and simply means that the marriage is broken and there is no hope of repairing it.
There are no other grounds for divorce in Washington, but it is a broad enough term that it can be applied to just about every situation.
What Does the Divorce Process Look Like?
There are certain terms and particulars that are important to know when filing for divorce.
Terms you may hear include:
Petitioner: The spouse who initiates the divorce by filing the appropriate documents with the court.
Respondent: The spouse who did not initiate the divorce and did not file but received the documents through service.
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: This is the document that is initially filed, where the petitioner asks the respondent for divorce and requests that the court grant it.
Decree of Dissolution of Marriage: This is the final document that a judge signs deeming the marriage to be dissolved.
Contested Divorce in Washington
Under state law, it is not necessary for both parties to the marriage to agree to a divorce. Even if one spouse does not want the divorce or protests it, the courts will still grant it. While some states have special provisions or procedures for a contested divorce, Washington does not.
At some point between the initial filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage and the final decree of dissolution of marriage, both parties involved must file a complete disclosure of all assets, income, and debts. This is known as a Financial Declaration. State law requires this to be completed before the court grants a final decree of divorce. Divorcing spouses are encouraged to complete and exchange this information as early in the proceedings as possible in order to facilitate a more efficient and amicable settlement process.
Distribution of Property
Washington is a community property state, which means that any property, debt, and financial gain that was acquired during the marriage is to be equitably split among the parties to the divorce. The parties may agree on their own distribution of assets if they wish.
When deciding how the property will be divided, the judge will take into consideration:
The extent and nature of the community property
The extent and nature of the separate property
How long the couple was married
Each spouse’s economic circumstances at the time when the property division goes into effect
The end of a marriage is usually accompanied by strong emotions such as sadness, fear, and anger. Often, the parties are experiencing these emotions while they are trying to navigate the court system to obtain a divorce. In most cases, experts strongly recommend hiring a Spokane divorce lawyer to help you work your way through the process to ensure that your interests are protected and your property division is handled correctly.
Other matters that you may need help handling include child custody, child support, spousal support, and more. You can also learn about divorce alternatives, including annulment. The family law attorneys at Twyford Law Office can help you with any of these cases.
Contact a Spokane County Family Law Attorney
At Twyford Law Office, our team of qualified, knowledgeable, and caring Spokane divorce attorneys and staff will help you every step of the way as you go through your divorce. Contact our law firm and find out how we can help you get through your divorce case in Spokane County and make the process a little less stressful. Our family lawyers care and are here to help protect your rights. We offer legal advice and free initial consultations.