WASHINGTON DIVORCE LAWS:
The Residency Requirement: The spouse filing for divorce must be a resident of Washington or a member of the armed forces stationed in Washington, or by someone married to a resident of Washington or a member of the armed forces stationed in Washington.
Grounds: Only one, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; the court will enter a decree of dissolution if the other party does not deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If the other party denies it, the court will decide whether or not there is a chance of reconciliation. Washington strongly encourages mediation, as a way of reducing acrimony between the parties in the divorce action.
Property Division: Washington is a community-property state. Each spouse’s sole and separate property is assigned to that spouse. Property acquired during the marriage, that is, by the community, is divided by the court in a “just and equitable manner.” Equitable does not equal; it means fairly based on the circumstances of the case (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce).
Alimony: Alimony can be awarded to either party, according to the factors found the in the statute. Marital misconduct is not considered in awarding alimony. Alimony is awarded for what ever period of time is deemed necessary.
Child custody and child support: As in every state, custody is based on “the best interests of the child.” However, when there are children, every petition divorce must include a proposed “parenting plan.” The parenting plan must contain provisions for dispute resolution, a residential schedule for the child, and allocation of decision-making authority. Washington considers the best plan the one that changes the pattern of interaction between parents and child the least.
Washington child-support guidelines use an income-shares model: the total obligation is divided between the mother and father according to their net incomes. There are many factors that go into formula, including the age of the children, and the cost of health care and daycare.
For more information, you can go to: http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/dcs/
Support usually terminates at age 18, but the court may order support beyond that age if that is in the best interests of the child. The court may also award support for college expenses.
Click the following for an expert's overview and a list of articles on child custody and child support.
The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.