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Important points to remember about divorce in Washington State

Marriage in Washington State and across the country can be difficult whether it is an opposite sex couple or a same-sex couple. On the other hand, people must keep a few important points in mind when they decide to divorce. The end of a marriage carries with it numerous divorce legal issues. Knowing and understanding this - regardless of the nature of the dispute that led to the decision to part ways - is key to a successful resolution of the situation.

To move forward with a divorce, a petitioner will file a summons with the court to end the marriage. The other spouse will be known as the respondent and will receive a document informing him or her of the filing. This document will include the way in which the petitioner would like the process to conclude. The respondent will have between 20 and 60 days to respond in writing. The respondent can file a petition on his or her own. After the filing, temporary orders will be put into place. These orders will deal with issues ranging from child custody and alimony to which party will be responsible for paying certain bills like a mortgage or car payment.

For a divorce, there is a three month waiting period. This is meant to give the spouses the opportunity to reconcile if they choose to do so. If any issue in the divorce is contested, the process could take longer than three months. Temporary orders can be implemented during this waiting period. If the wife took the husband's surname when married, she can request that the maiden name be restored once the divorce is completed. The request to do so must be part of the filing.

Once the court signs the "Decree of Dissolution of Marriage," the court will approve the settlement and it will be signed by the judge. In some instances, the couple agrees to the settlement without having to go to court. If a trial is required, the judge must sign the decision. The divorce will not be completed until the decree has been signed. Of course, every divorce is different and there are various personal issues that will arise. Those who are considering a divorce or are in the midst of a divorce should discuss their case with a lawyer.

Source: wsba.org, "Dissolution: What you should know...," accessed on Sept. 1, 2015

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