No matter what state you’re in, going through a divorce is never an easy ordeal. Not only is the process mentally and emotionally taxing, but the complex laws surrounding this matter can leave individuals feeling as if they’re without a paddle. Let’s explore what you need to know when it comes to divorce in the State of Washington.

What Are the Divorce Laws in Washington?

If you’ve never filed for divorce before in the State of Washington, you are likely unfamiliar with the several facets of the state’s divorce law. Here are some questions about divorce law you need to take into account should you be facing marriage dissolution in Washington:

What’s the Difference Between a No-Fault Divorce and an At-Fault Divorce?

A no-fault divorce hinges on the idea that you don’t have to prove the breakdown of the marriage is the fault of the other spouse, either based on their behavior or mental state. Instead, you indicate the marriage is irretrievably broken, that you have irreconcilable differences, or you are otherwise incompatible as a couple. In essence, the petitioner (the spouse seeking divorce) is merely stating the marriage is no longer working and cannot be saved.

Washington is a true (as opposed to optional) “no-fault” state, meaning individuals don’t have the choice of asserting the other person is at fault for the divorce.

In all but 18 states, you can file for divorce asserting one of several legal fault grounds. Each state has its statutes governing divorce, but typically, these fault grounds include:

  • Adultery
  • Physical/mental abuse
  • Addiction/chemical dependency
  • Abandonment
  • Bigamy
  • Mental illness

What Is a Community Property State?

Washington is a “community property” state. This means that all property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be both spouses’ property. Certain exceptions exist (inheritance, gifts, etc.), but generally speaking, all property acquired during the marriage is “owned” by the married couple. All property and liabilities obtained during the marriage are subject to division, including debt.

What Is Marital Misconduct?

Marital misconduct is a catch-all term consisting of actions that undermine or otherwise erode a marital relationship. Things like misappropriation of a marital estate or infidelity could theoretically be looked at by a judge in a determination of property distribution or an award of spousal support.

The State of Washington, however, does not consider marital misconduct. Many individuals mistakenly believe they’ll be entitled to a larger share of assets or even primary custody of their children if their spouse cheated on them, but this is not necessarily the case.

Going Through a Divorce in Washington State? Make Sure You’re Protected

The team at Envision Law is uniquely qualified to manage every phase of a family law case. For dependable legal representation and attorneys well-versed in Washington’s divorce laws, contact Envision Law today!