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Is there a waiting period in a divorce in Washington?

Divorce may have been a long ways coming for many Washington couples, but once the decision to divorce has been made, many couples wish to see the process occur as quickly as possible. However, is there a wait time when it comes to finalizing a divorce in Washington?

In Washington, a couple must wait 90 days to finalize a divorce. Accordingly, at least 90 days must have passed since one spouse has served upon the other a summons and the petition for divorce has been filed with the court before the judge can sign off on the divorce decree.

The purpose of such a time period is to give spouses in Washington a chance to reconcile if possible, or at least to have their emotions "cool down," so they can make level-headed decisions. 90 days is only the minimum time period that must pass; if there are problems with coming to a settlement the process could take longer.

Once all of the divorce legal issues, such as child custody, child support, spousal support and property division arrangements are settled, a divorce case will come to an end. Sometimes spouses are able to settle all of these issues on their own. If not, litigation may be necessary to reach an appropriate result. In either case, a divorce settlement must be approved by the court.

Deciding to divorce is a major decision, but when spouses are in a troubled marriage, it is often for the best. That being said, it is an emotional time. It may be good not to rush the issue, but to carefully work through all steps of the divorce process to ensure a fair outcome is reached.

Source: Washington Courts, "Family Law Handbook," Accessed Oct. 5, 2015

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