Filing the Divorce Petition
- Know Where to File: The divorce petition may be filed in the county where you live, or the county where the respondent lives.
- Know Your Spouse’s Address: To file the divorce petition, you need to make sure you know your spouse’s address. You’ll need to serve your spouse with the petition and you will also need the addresses of any other parties to your case.
- Fill Out a Parenting Plan: If you have children, then you may propose a parenting plan with your divorce petition. Or, you can defer creating the parenting plan until after the filing and then present it to the court later.
- Fill Out the Forms: You, or your attorney, will need to fill out the forms required by your county to start a divorce.
- Make Copies: Make at least three copies of the completed form. One to file with the court, one for your records, and one to serve on your spouse.
- Pay the Filing Fee: A filing fee must be paid when filing the paperwork in the County Clerk’s office, which is in the Superior Courthouse.
How Long a Divorce Takes from Start to Finish
You must wait at least 90 days after filing and serving the petition before entering final orders. If you and your spouse have an agreement, you can enter final orders right after the 90-day period. Divorces can take longer than 90 days if the spouses cannot agree. If this happens, your case will go to trial.
How long it takes to finalize your divorce also depends on your county and how complicated your case is. If you have children, and there are claims of domestic violence, child abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, or other things that could be dangerous to the children, or you have complicated property issues, your case could take much longer.
Trials can be complicated. You will want a lawyer.
→ Go to Serving the Divorce Petition
Chad Foster is a trusted Washington lawyer serving Snohomish and King counties with an office in Bothell. Contact us today to discuss your legal issue.