How to File for Divorce in Bellevue, WA

July 29, 2020

You recognize that you need a divorce, but you may not have any idea about how to move forward with the legal process. While divorce is never an easy decision and the divorce process is complicated, a better understanding of how to file for divorce can help you proceed with increased confidence. Reach out to an experienced Bellevue divorce attorney today.

Who May File?

To file for divorce in the State of WA, at least one of you must have lived in the state for at least six months and in the county in which you’re filing for at least 90 days prior to filing.

Does Fault Play a Role?

WA is what is known as a mixed state when it comes to fault and divorce. This means you can proceed with a no-fault divorce or you can pursue a divorce based on fault. The vast majority of divorces in WA are no-fault, which means that no fault is assigned to either party and that the dissolution of the marriage is based on insupportability (discord and/or conflict between the two of you that can’t be resolved). Nevertheless, WA also supports divorces that are based on the grounds of fault, and fault in this context can include any of the following:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Abandonment that lasts a minimum of one year
  • A felony conviction
  • Confinement in a mental hospital for a minimum of three years

While most divorces are no-fault, fault-based divorces are available when appropriate.

Filing Your Forms

Your initial filing will include your Original Petition for Divorce and will need to be filed in the appropriate county. You can request that the court – at this time – issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), which is intended to help ensure that both of you refrain from diminishing your community property in any manner (including by selling or moving any portion of it) in the interim. Community property is also called marital property, and it refers to that property that you and your spouse acquired together as a married couple. Finally, your TRO will instruct both of you to treat each other with civility during the pendency of your divorce.
If you move forward with the TRO, the court will schedule a preliminary hearing within 14 days, and if you decline the TRO, your spouse will have 20 days to file his or her response to your original petition. Ultimately, your dedicated divorce attorney will help you determine which path forward is most appropriate for you and your situation. It’s worth noting that, in some WA counties, these TROs are automatic (ATROs).

Serving Your Spouse

After filing for divorce in WA, you are required to notify your spouse of the filing, and this is known as the Service of Process – or as serving your spouse. This service involves having copies of all the divorce documents delivered to your spouse (known as the non-filing spouse). There are several means of accomplishing this task:

  • Your spouse can sign a waiver of service indicating that he or she does not need formal service.
  • A sheriff or constable can serve the papers to your spouse.
  • A process server can be hired to serve the papers to your spouse.
  • You can serve your spouse via publication, which means that you do not know his or her whereabouts and have no other alternative for service.

If you and your spouse are moving forward toward divorce amicably or reasonably amicably, you’ll likely employ a waiver of service, which means your divorcing spouse will sign a form acknowledging that he or she received a copy of the filing. If a waiver isn’t in the cards, you’ll need to choose between a process server or a sheriff’s constable. While the constable is less costly, a process server can typically get the job done far more quickly, which is beneficial if you are motivated to expedite the process.

An Experienced Divorce Attorney in Bellevue Can Help

If you’re ready to begin the divorce process, the dedicated Bellevue divorce attorneys at the Aberdeen Law Firm have considerable experience helping clients like you successfully navigate the divorce process and obtain terms that help protect their best interests. We’re on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at (425) 363-9877 today.

Fill our form below or Call 425-333-2830 Today!