Separating from your spouse is a big decision, and you have to be as mature, practical, and understanding as possible, so as to make the divorce less stressful. Most attorneys in Washington would try to advise clients on avoiding a contested divorce, considering that agreeing with a spouse is a lot easier. However, there are circumstances, when it is impossible to come to a divorce settlement that is mutually satisfying to both spouses. That’s where a contested divorce becomes apparent. If you are in such circumstances, your first step should be about hiring a Tacoma divorce attorney. They can fight it out in the court on your behalf.
So, how does contested divorce pan out in Washington? Here are the steps!
- Firstly, one spouse (called the petitioner) has to file a petition for dissolution of marriage in county where they reside. This petition will be then served to the other spouse, called the respondent.
- Depending on the circumstances, especially when a minor child is involved, the court will grant temporary orders. These orders are usually sort issues like child support, spousal support, and child custody, for the time period before the divorce is finalized.
- In Washington, parents are required to attend a parenting education seminar. The idea is to reduce stress for the entire family, especially children, and counseling parents on how the divorce will impact the family. A proof of attendance is required.
- Even the courts want divorcing couples to come to a settlement. If that doesn’t materialize, the next step is called discovery, where both spouses will request information from each other. For instance, if your spouse is calling witnesses, you have the right to know who these people are.
- If the couple can come to an agreement, lawyers will make necessary papers, which will be signed and submitted to court, where a judge needs to sign on them too. However, if there is no agreement, there will be a trial. There won’t be any jury involved, but the judge will take the call.
If you believe that the orders need to be modified, you may have some options, but typically these are limited. As you may have guessed, contested divorces are not easy and can be emotionally, financially, and mentally draining. You definitely need a skilled divorce attorney by your side, so that you have someone for unbiased advice and to protect your interests.