Like many states, the state of Washington requires a waiting period before a couple can finalize their divorce. Traditionally, a waiting period was meant to be a “cooling-off” period, or one in which the parties might try to resolve their differences and reconcile. This 90-day waiting period is mandatory, even if the spouses definitely are not going to reconcile and already have worked out a settlement as to all matters in their divorce. Plus, as a practical matter, as negotiations often take time to complete, or there may be one or more issues on which you can agree, so your divorce is likely to last more than 90 days.

Washington’s 90-day waiting period begins to run only after you file your divorce petition and other required documents with the court and these documents are served on your spouse. This means that you have officially initiated legal proceedings to get divorced, and your spouse has received the proper notice of the divorce proceedings. As a result, if you don’t know your spouse’s location, you are likely to have trouble serving him or her properly, and may have to attempt service multiple times. In other situations, your spouse may not respond to the divorce proceedings at all, which also can drag out the legal process.

Divorce cases can be very complex, so you will need to consult a Washington divorce attorneyabout your rights and obligations under Washington law. With our legal knowledge of Washington family law, we can help you make the decisions in your case that will best benefit you and your family in your paternity case or in any other family law matter. We are here to answer your questions, ease your mind, and help guide you through what is likely to be a difficult proceeding. At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we handle family law cases that involve all types of issues, including paternity, divorce, child custodychild supportproperty division, and spousal support. Contact our officetoday and see how we can assist you with your Washington divorce or family law case.