Because each couple’s situation is different, the amount of time
it will take for a divorce to be finalized in Washington will vary. The
exact amount of time will depend largely on whether the divorce is uncontested
or contested, whether there are any minor children to consider, and the
net-worth of the marital property. Generally, first-time divorces with
no children and relatively small collection of assets will be much quicker
to obtain than contested divorces which must be resolved in court.
Washington has a minimum time limit on divorces, imposing a 90-day “cooling
off” period which must elapse between the time the petition is filed
through the time when the court can issue a dissolution degree.
This is the absolute minimum amount of time it takes to get a divorce in the state. This waiting period begins as soon as the petition is served.
Couples who can agree on the terms of their divorce can use this 90-day
period for negotiating things like property division, child custody, and
support payments. If both spouses are able to come to an arrangement within
this time period, they can request that the court finalize the divorce in the 91st day. This is not common for couples with children, but for shorter marriages
with no kids and few assets, it can happen quite quickly.
Contested divorces, however, can take much longer. Spouses who cannot come
to an agreement will have to schedule mediation, arbitration or a divorce
trial. This can take up to a year or longer after the filing of the divorce
petition depending on the complexity of your case. In certain areas, couples
may also have to participate in alternative dispute resolution before
they can be granted a trial date. Once a trial date is scheduled, only
if a settlement is reached during the wait can an earlier court date be
Divorces with children may also take more time because they are often more
complicated, especially if the divorce is contested. Both parents will
need to come up with a parenting plan, which outlines the visitation rights
and parenting time that each parent will have, how conflicts will be resolved,
and how important parenting decisions will be made. Regardless of whether
these decisions are made cooperatively or not, a judge will have to sign
the parenting plan, which may take time depending on the court and how
busy they are.
If you are considering divorce, we invite you to consult with the Washington
divorce lawyers at McKinley Irvin. No matter how complex your divorce
may be, our goal is to help you obtain your divorce as efficiently and
in as timely a manner as possible while ensuring your rights and future
are protected. With a comprehensive understanding of Washington divorce
law and a detail-oriented, client-focused approach, you can be confident
in our ability to guide you through the divorce process and answer your
questions and concerns along the way.
To consult with a Washington divorce attorney, contact McKinley Irvin