Residency requirements, venue and procedures
1) How long must I have lived in Washington prior to filing for divorce in an Washington court?
Any party who is a resident of Washington, or is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in Washington, or is married to a party who is a resident of Washington or who is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in Washington may petition the Court for a decree of dissolution of marriage. State law doesn’t require you to live in Washington for any specific length of time. As long as you or your spouse has established residency, you can file for divorce within the state.
2) What are the terms used to identify the parties in a divorce proceeding?
The party filing the action is called the Petitioner, while the other party to the divorce is referred to as the Respondent.
3) What is “venue,” and what is the proper venue for a divorce case?
“Venue” refers to which type of court and in what locality the case is filed. In Washington, proper venue for the divorce action is the Superior Court or Family Court. The dissolution of marriage action may be filed in any county where either party resides.
4) What is the title of the document initiating the action for divorce? The order granting the divorce?
The title of the document initiating the divorce proceeding is a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, while the title of the order granting the divorce is referred to as the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
5) Are there any waiting periods associated with a divorce action?
At least ninety days must elapse from the date the petition was filed and served upon the respondent before the Court may enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage.
6) Do I have to move out of my home?
No, unless ordered by the court or as advised by your attorney. Moving out prematurely may be a mistake.
7) What is a Date of Separation?
The date of separation is when facts indicate the marriage is “defunct” and is the end of the community property estate. Property earned or acquired after the date of separation is assumed to be that spouse’s separate property.