Washington is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that the only grounds necessary to obtain a divorce in Washington is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Under Washington law there is a mandatory 90-day wait upon filing a Petition for Dissolution. The parties must then address the division of property, including assets and debts, as well as parenting, child support and spousal support or alimony, which is called spousal maintenance in Washington. There are many options available to divorcing couples today to address these issues, including Collaborative Law and Mediation.
The process to obtain a legal separation is similar to that of divorce. The same issues must be addressed by the parties involved, including division of assets and debts, parenting, child support and spousal maintenance. However, upon obtaining a legal separation, unlike a divorce, the parties are still legally married.
Billie L. Grissom has been involved in Washington’s collaborative law movement since 2005. She has had extensive training in collaborative law, mediation and other out of court settlement approaches for difficult and complex family law matters.