There are times when married couples in Washington State are no longer able to stay together and must move forward with a divorce. Contemplating and moving forward with the end of a marriage can be more difficult that people think, and it's imperative to understand the way the state looks at marriage and how it can end. Issues such as annulment, legal separation, marriage dissolution and residency requirements can come up.
With an annulment, the court states that the marriage is invalid. These are relatively rare and are only granted in circumstances in which there might have been a legal dispute making the marriage invalid. In cases such as this, the court will still have the ability to order a division of property, decide where the children will live and issue other decrees. A legal separation is not a divorce. Instead, the couple has decided to live separately and inform the court of this decision. There could be a great many reasons for this. After the couple has been legally separated for six months, there can be a request from one or the other to have the marriage dissolved.
The dissolution of marriage is a legal conclusion to the union. Either or both spouses can file for dissolution. According to the law, the marriage will be "irretrievably broken" if it is no longer working and couple is moving on separately. Only one spouse has to use the term "irretrievably broken" for it to be a viable reason to divorce. Once this is done, orders for support of children, where they will live and whether one spouse will be supporting the other will be dealt with.
In Washington, it is only necessary to be a resident of the state on the day that the petition to dissolve the marriage is filed. Considering the amount of confusion that can arise from a decision to divorce, it behooves both parties to seek help in navigating all the various divorce legal issues that can crop up when a decision to divorce is made.