Divorce can be expensive. We believe in the ability to work through the divorce proceedings with as little conflict as possible. Our goal is to file an uncontested divorce, saving all parties time, money, and upset.

An uncontested divorce means that the parties are in agreement on all major issues. We believe that the process can be handled in a cooperative manner and suggest that the forms be looked over by both parties when contemplating an uncontested divorce.

For answers to more questions, check the Family Law FAQ Page

Divorce, Separation, or Annulment?

Divorce. In a divorce (dissolution of marriage) the court will terminate your marriage, divide your assets and debts, enter a parenting plan, provide for child support, and take care of other matters such as alimony and protective orders. There is only one ground for divorce in the State of Washington: The marriage is irretrievably broken. You do not have to explain why the marriage is broken, and the courts usually do not want to hear why it is broken. Consequently, it is not necessary to say anything bad about your spouse. This “no-fault” procedure is designed to avoid unnecessary conflict. There is a mandatory 90-day waiting period between the time you commence your divorce and the time the court will grant your final decree.

Legal Separation. A legal separation allows you to separate your financial affairs and live separately without ending the marriage. The court does all the same things as in a divorce except that the marriage is not terminated. It is important to understand that the division of property and debts in a legal separation is final. You cannot get a legal separation and go back later and re-divide the property when you get a divorce. There is no waiting period for a legal separation, but you cannot get a divorce for at least six months after your legal separation is granted.

Annulment. You can get your marriage annulled only if there was something invalid about it at the time you got married. You will be granted a decree of invalidity (annulment) only if you can prove one of the required grounds.

Information Gathering

This is the most important step, and it is not difficult. The information you gather will assist the attorney in protecting you and your children and in saving you money. Without the correct information, the attorney cannot answer your questions or prepare your court documents. You must include certain personal information or the court will not accept your papers.

Property and Debts If you leave out a retirement plan, real estate, vehicle, bank account, or some other property, you may get a real shock later when you find out that your ex-spouse owns half of it! You must correctly describe all your property in order to make sure that you get what you want – even if you believe that it already belongs to you alone. If you do not list the debts you want your spouse to pay, you will not be able to force your spouse to pay them later.

Dependent Children If you have dependent children, you must provide adequate information for the preparation of a parenting plan and a child support order (even if you do not want child support) or the court will not grant your divorce. Some people refuse to give income information because they do not want to pay child support and get a surprise when the state calculates the support due based upon an “imputed” income which is much higher than their actual income.

Preparing Your Documents

The State of Washington has mandatory forms which are different from the forms used in any other state. If you do not use these mandatory forms, the clerk will refuse to file your papers and the judge will refuse to grant your divorce. The information packet provided will help you consider the following in your divorce:

  1. Division of property – both personal and real property.
  2. Spousal maintenance, if requested.
  3. Child support – please talk with your spouse first about support. This is often the sticking issue in an uncontested dissolution and can lead to a longer, drawn-out divorce.
  4. Parenting plans – including holidays, birthdays, and summer vacation. Please be prepared to talk about the length of holiday (for example, is “Christmas Eve” 9am on the 24th to 9am on the 25th or 9pm on the 24th? We must account for all holiday exchanges.)
  5. Expenses for the children, including healthcare, education, extracurricular activities.

It is highly recommended that each party fill out a questionnaire and then compare the information you would like included in your paperwork. Compromise can only be reached if we know what every party wants from the dissolution and moving forward.

Filing Your Papers

The Courthouse File To start your waiting period a file for your case must be opened at the county courthouse, and you must make your spouse a party to the court case. In an uncontested divorce, both parties will sign the paperwork before it is presented to the county courthouse to begin your 90 day waiting period. WKLO will represent the Petitioner in the matter and the Respondent will be the other party. The Respondent absolutely has the right to take the dissolution papers to another attorney for review.

Should the dissolution become contested at any point after any work has started on the petition, the representation of the Petitioner shall be terminated without refund for work already performed.

Joint Petition: The simplest and least expensive way to make your spouse a party to the court case is to have him or her sign a joint petition, which is an uncontested divorce. If your spouse signs the petition, the 90 day waiting period begins as soon as the petition is filed in your court file. In other words, the 90 day waiting period begins after these three things happen:

  1. You sign the petition;
  2. Your spouse signs the petition;
  3. The petition is filed with the court.

Washington is a “no-fault” state. It does not matter why you are getting divorced, only that the forms are filled out correctly and the property distributed fairly. After your waiting period of 90 days, the court will return your Decree of Dissolution.

Adult Adoption

We are thrilled to help bring families together when an adult is being adopted into a family. A few words of caution: adult adoption is a permanent decision to remove yourself from your biological family and legally be a part of your adoptive family. There is not a mechanism in the law to reverse this decision and it must be taken very seriously.