So, You’re Finally Ready to File for Divorce… How Do You Get Started?

Mackenzie O. Bretz Edmonds Lawyer

First, let’s figure out what county you should be filing in. You should file your divorce case in the county where you or your spouse live. If you have children, it often makes sense to file in the county in which they are attending school. If you’re looking for a quick and efficient divorce, you can file your divorce case via mail in Lincoln County. You don’t have to reside in Lincoln County or appear in Court, however it is advised to consult an attorney regarding your paperwork.

Next, a Petition for dissolution must be filed. A Petition for dissolution contains most of the basic information regarding your relationship. This includes the date of marriage, the date of separation, if you maintained a committed intimate relationship before marriage, your request for property division or spousal support, etc. While you don’t have to have a specific list of every piece of personal property, and who you want it awarded to, you need to put the court on notice regarding the issues of your case.

Once your case is filed with the correct county, you must wait a day or two to receive a case number. These case numbers are typically 9 numbers long; in King County, they contain SEA or KNT at the end depending on the area designation. The number will identify your case throughout your proceedings.

After your filing has a case number, the opposing party needs to be personally served with the Petition and accompanying documents. At firms like Beresford Booth, we use a process server to complete personal service. This guarantees adequate service, and we can file a certificate of service once it is done. A process server is also helpful because we can give them specific instructions, such as if there is a need to avoid service when the kids are around, etc. If you are attempting service yourself, remember that you cannot personally serve the opposing party, and the person completing service must be over 18. Once personal service is complete, the Respondent has 20 days to draft and file their response.

From this point, your case can take many different avenues. If both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, like property division, spousal support, child support, and parenting (if necessary), an agreement can be drafted, and the court can be notified that all of the issues have been agreed upon. Suppose you or your spouse need immediate action, like one party moving out of the home or immediate financial support. In that case, a temporary family law order is necessary. Further down the road, you may have to exchange discovery, either agreed or formal. This includes producing financial documents, work documents, potential medical documents, property ownership information, and more. If your case is just beginning, it is helpful to get an early start on organizing these documents.

While if all agreed, your divorce could be complete within 91 days, it is far more common for divorce proceedings to last, on average, one year.

Making the difficult decision to move forward with a divorce can be made easier with the assistance of a Beresford Booth family law attorney, who can help alleviate the stress and guide you towards a new chapter in your life.

To learn more about getting ready to file for divorce, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone at (425) 776-4100.

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