Last Updated on February 7, 2021
Those who are filing for divorce didn’t see it coming when they were getting married. It is extremely difficult for the couple and even more for kids (if any) who want to get done with their divorce process quickly. To make this emotional and challenging process less stressful and more straightforward, spouses apply for an uncontested divorce in Washington. Another reason for getting an uncontested divorce is that it reduces the cost of divorce, and the whole process is accelerated without any hassles.
However, it is important to familiarize yourself with the whole process of Uncontested Divorce in Washington before moving forward with a divorce. We have made a comprehensive guide that will help you and your spouse.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Also known as ‘Simplified Divorce,’ it happens when the couple is on good terms and has already reached an agreement regarding all the divorce issues. With an uncontested divorce, there is no need to go through a court trial. An uncontested divorce is named a “divorce by agreement” by the Evergreen State divorce courts. It is an inexpensive and quick way of getting a divorce. Since Washington is a no-fault state, there is no need to prove your spouse is at fault for filing for divorce.
Who can get an Uncontested Divorce?
People with no assets or children are the ideal candidates for getting an uncontested divorce, but that doesn’t mean that others cannot get it. Any couple who has reached an agreement on the following matters can get an uncontested divorce.
The issues include:
- spousal support or alimony (if any)
- child custody and child support
- property division
- assets or debt divisions
- or any other issues regarding your marriage.
If you agree on all the matters mentioned above, you can get an uncontested divorce easily. But if your spouse is not willing to sign the divorce papers, you will have to obtain a contested divorce.
Whether you are getting a contested or uncontested divorce, you must meet the Washington state’s residency requirement. To prove your residency, you must present at least one of the following:
- The spouse who is filing for divorce is a current resident of Washington, DC.
- Either spouse is a member of the armed forces and stationed in Washington currently.
- One spouse is married to a Washington state resident.
How does an Uncontested Divorce Work?
The couple should reach an agreement before they file the case to make it an uncontested divorce. By doing this, there will be less paperwork and fewer steps for filing for divorce. The whole divorce process becomes quick. There are two ways by which a case becomes uncontested:
- Both the spouses can file a joint divorce petition after reaching an agreement. Both of them will sign this petition, and the case will proceed.
- Alternatively, any one of the spouses files the case as a sole petitioner, after which an agreement is reached. After the case is filed, the other spouse will be served with documents and paperwork and has the time to join the petition. Once they do, the uncontested case will proceed, and the divorce will be finalized after 90 days.
Benefits of Getting an Uncontested Divorce
By now, you know that the major benefit of an uncontested divorce is that it is inexpensive. Apart from that, here are other benefits:
- It removes the need for the temporary order hearings, which are quite expensive and add time to your divorce.
- In some cases, there is no need to hire an attorney to negotiate on behalf of a spouse.
- The case’s time is reduced from 11+ months to 90 days since a lot of paperwork, hearings, or other court requirements are eliminated.
- It is easier emotionally. The couple doesn’t have to get into ugly courtroom fights and rely on a judge to decide on their behalf, so the unpredictability and stress are less.
- It leaves their relationship on amicable terms, which is rare in the cases of contested divorces.
After reading all those benefits, you must be wondering, are there any drawbacks of getting an uncontested divorce? There aren’t any. However, it is hard for a spouse to have an open discussion with his/her partner in some cases. It might seem intimidating when they cannot openly discuss all the matters related to marriage’s dissolution.
In such cases, it is better to consult an attorney for the spouse who is having difficulties. Consulting with an attorney doesn’t make it a contested divorce; it will still be uncontested. An attorney will explain all the agreements and legal matters to you, so there is no ambiguity, and you will know what to expect.
Role of an Attorney in an Uncontested Divorce
An attorney plays three important roles for a spouse in an uncontested divorce:
In counseling, the represented spouse meets with the attorney and gets help regarding legal forms. In contrast, the unrepresented spouse meets to get legal advice and counseling on all the matters regarding their divorce, such as property division, alimony, child custody, etc.
When you fill all the forms of divorce over the internet by yourself, an attorney can evaluate to ensure everything is in order. It will give you peace of mind.
As a mediator, your attorney will clear any disputes and educate both the spouses about the legal matters and court and conclude with an approved plan that will work for them. It doesn’t cost much, and there are fewer conflicts between the couple if they have a mediator.
However, there are some risks involved. The spouse may miss out on individual legal advice if the mediator is working for both of them. And if the mediation fails, the mediator can’t represent the couple as an attorney.
It depends on you, whether you hire them and for what purpose, or proceed without an attorney.
Uncontested Divorce Process
We have explained the whole process by breaking it into six steps:
- Step 1– Have a discussion with your spouse in which you will talk about the terms and check whether an agreement is possible on those terms.
- Step 2– Prepare the divorce forms. You can do it yourself by getting the application for divorce online or hire an attorney who will do it for you. Or use an online service for divorce https://divorcewashingtononline.com/.
- Step 3– If you were doing the whole process without an attorney, now is the time to get one to ensure all the things are in order. It is better to get things right the first time and not to go back to the court if you miss something. That will further elongate the divorce process.
- Step 4– File the case and send a notice to your spouse. The requirements will depend on whether you filed the case through mail or in person. You must comply with all the requirements and deadlines.
- Step 5– There are some required classes for pro se filers that you must attend. There is an introduction to family law class. If you have any children, you will have to participate in a parenting class too.
- Step 6– After 90 days, you can finalize the case. Those who file the case in person are supposed to go to ex-parte court to get a commissioner’s signature. For those who did it through the mail, the court will process their paperwork after the deadline.
Getting a divorce is already hard, and it can become worse if you don’t go through the process correctly. We hope that now you are familiar with the whole process of uncontested divorce in Washington, and there are no ambiguities.