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Back to basics: FAQs about divorce in Washington

Although marriage may be a matter of the heart, divorce is very much a legal matter. Like any legal matter, it involves lots of paperwork. The type and amount of paperwork depends on where you live, as divorce is a matter of state law.

This means every state handles the particulars of divorce a little different. Having a basic understanding of the process here in Washington can help when going through or considering filing for a divorce.

Are there any requirements before I can get divorced in Washington?

Yes, there are certain requirements that need to be met to get a divorce in Washington. A divorce is a court action and, as such, it requires certain jurisdictional requirements be met. Generally, this means that the person filing for the divorce must be a resident of Washington.

It is important to note that it does not matter where the couple got married. What matters is where the person who is filing for the divorce resides.

How is property split?

Washington is a community property state. This means that the court aims to split all marital property evenly. The goal is to give each spouse a 50/50 split.

It is wise to carefully value property in order to help ensure this split is as fair as possible. This can be particularly difficult when business interests are present. In these cases, it may be wise to get a professional valuation completed.

What about the kids?

There are two big issues if children are present: child custody and child support. Child custody determinations generally focus on the best interests of the child. This determination can be particularly difficult when parents live in different states.

Child support awards are often based off of reported income. This means it is extremely important that the income reported to the court is accurate. The income reported by both parties should be carefully reviewed.