Most people who file for divorce want everything to be over as quickly as possible. However, in many states the law requires that couples wait a certain amount of time before a divorce will be granted. In Washington State, spouses are required to wait at least 90 days from the time their petition is filed before a divorce will be granted.
Why Do Waiting Periods Exist?
The main reason why states require couples to complete a waiting period is to allow for the possibility of reconciliation. The state has a vested interest in keeping families together, and wants spouses to have time to reflect on their marriages and possibly change their minds.
In addition, the extra time spent in a divorce case allows couples to thoroughly plan for the consequences of their divorce. When tensions run high, spouses may feel as if they have to end the marriage immediately. However, they often fail to plan for the fact that their divorce will affect their children, their finances, their credit scores, their living arrangements, and nearly every detail of their lives. By forcing divorcing couples to spend at least three months thinking about their decision to divorce, spouses are pushed to resolve many difficulties that could otherwise be overlooked.
How Do Waiting Periods Work?
The clock on the 90-day period begins when one person serves a petition for dissolution on his or her spouse, or when a couple files a joint petition for dissolution of marriage together. After this time, the 90-day clock will continue to run until the case is resolved.
If a couple has an amicable divorce which is settled quickly, they may still need to wait a few weeks until the 90 day waiting period finishes. In most cases, however, things like settlement negotiations, mediations, and court hearings will extend the case longer than three months, and the couple will not have to wait any additional time for the divorce to be finalized.
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we help couples with all types of family law issues, including traditional divorces, collaborative divorces, child support agreements and parenting plans, and much more. If you are focused on moving forward and bettering your life and the lives of your children, Pacific Northwest Family Law can help.
To schedule your consultation, or to learn more about your options, contact us today by calling 360-926-9112.