how long does it take to finalize the divorce in Washington state

How Long Does It Take To Finalize Divorce in Washington State?

Generally, the average time of divorce in Washington State varies from 3 to 12 months. The main factor that influences the duration of the marriage dissolution process is whether the spouses have reached an agreement regarding all divorce-related matters or not. 

Couples who are cooperative in terms of property division, child custody, and support can file for an uncontested divorce. This is the fastest and cheapest way to get divorced in WA. In the uncontested cases, spouses can represent themselves in court without a lawyer and prepare all the necessary paperwork using a reliable divorce online Washington State service.

If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, they file for a contested divorce which usually lasts from six months to one year. The more contested issues the spouses have, the longer it takes to solve them. It is common for both spouses to hire lawyers to represent their interests in court, which makes the contested divorce more expensive in comparison with uncontested cases.

Does Washington Have a Waiting Period for Divorce?

Getting divorced in Washington State, it is crucial to remember about the mandatory 90-day waiting period, also known as a “cooling off” one, during which the spouses may change their decision to terminate the marriage. The countdown for 90 days starts from the moment the original Petition is filed with the court and the respondent is served with copies of the original documents.

Couples who file for an uncontested divorce can expect the divorce length of time to be not much longer than the mandatory 90 days, depending on when the court can enter the orders. Spouses who have many contested issues should be ready for a lengthier procedure as their case will likely go to trial where such disagreements can be settled.

time to finalize divorce in Washington state

Why Can Divorces Take Longer Than 90 Days?

The divorce time frame in the United States differs depending on the divorce waiting period by state. Speaking of Washington State, the minimum time needed to finalize the divorce is 90 days. An uncontested divorce can be finalized within 3-4 months, as some delays may happen due to the court’s schedule. On the other hand, contested divorces last 6 months on average, and the most complex cases can take more than a year to finalize. There are various factors that influence the total duration of divorce:

  • Disagreements over child-related issues, like child support, custody, visitation plan, etc.
  • Disputes regarding property and asset division.
  • Complications due to domestic violence.
  • Issues with the family business division.
  • Unwillingness of the spouses to reach an agreement.

All these factors require additional time for lawyers to investigate the situation and collect the information to present in court. Several court hearings may be needed to solve the disputes, significantly increasing the duration of the divorce. Therefore, the faster the spouses can reach a consensus, the less time it will take to finalize the divorce.