General Questions About Divorce

Is it important as to who files for divorce first?

The party who files first is listed as the “petitioner,” the other party participates in the divorce as the “respondent.”  While the law does not “favor” the petitioner over the respondent, the person who files first has certain advantages.  For example, the petitioner can set the first court hearing for temporary orders (which allows the person to file the opening pleadings as well as a strict reply).

My spouse was unfaithful during our marriage.  Will I need to provide evidence of this to obtain a divorce?

No.  Washington is considered a “no-fault” divorce state. This means the only general allegation that needs to be made is that there are “irreconcilable differences” between you and your spouse. Usually, no additional explanation is needed for the court.

How long will my divorce take to become final?

For a divorce to become final, at least 90 days must pass from when a divorce petition is filed with the Court or from the date when service of the summons is obtained on the other party.  In most contested cases, it will take more than 90 days to complete the divorce. 

How much will my divorce cost?

This depends upon the amount of work performed by the attorney, as well as other costs incurred. Since every situation is different, it is impossible to predict with accuracy the total cost of a divorce from the start of a case.

Can I obtain a divorce on my own without hiring an attorney? 

Yes.  Individuals may access the legal system to obtain a divorce without an attorney.  However, individuals unfamiliar with dissolution law, state or local procedures and/or who have children or significant assets or debts should be extremely cautious before proceeding without the assistance of an experienced professional.