7 Common Misconceptions About Divorce in Washington State

Women taking off her wedding ring

Today, we’re diving into a topic that touches many lives: divorce. We are going to be focusing on the 7 common misconceptions about divorce in Washington State. Did you know that the rules for getting a divorce can be different depending on where you live? 

If you or someone you know is going through this in the Evergreen State, keep reading. We’re here to clear up some common misconceptions about divorce in Washington.

Misconception 1: There are quick and easy divorces.

Many people believe that getting a divorce in Washington is quick and easy. However, while some divorces can be easy, others involve a more complicated process that requires additional consideration. 

The law in Washington requires a waiting period of at least 90 days from the time you file and serve your spouse until your divorce can be finalized (RCW 26.09.030).  And, if there are disagreements or complex issues like custody or dividing property, it could take much longer.

Misconception 2: Believing that assets are evenly split 50/50.

Many people believe that the assets owned with your spouse are split right down the middle when you get divorced. But in Washington, the court looks at what’s fair and equitable for both spouses–and this might not always be 50/50. 

However, things like how long you were married, what each person needs, and even how you got certain items can all play a part. 

Misconception 3: No-Fault Divorce means no reasons needed.

“No-fault” divorce implies that you don’t need to give a reason for wanting a divorce, right? Well, in Washington, you don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong to get a divorce. 

However, you do have to state that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” (RCW 26.09.030). But that doesn’t mean you can’t mention specific problems if they’re important for things like custody or dividing stuff up. 

Misconception 4: Mothers always are awarded primary custody of the children.

A common thought is that kids always end up living with their mothers a majority of the time after a divorce. But that’s not how it works in Washington. 

The court’s main goal is to do what’s best for the child (RCW 26.09.187). This could mean living with mom, dad, or splitting time between both. The father of the child has just as much right to ask for primary custody, and the court will look at lots of factors to decide what’s best for the children.

Misconception 5: DIY Divorce is always cost-effective.

Thinking of managing your divorce on your own as a cost-saving measure? It might seem like a good idea, but it can get complicated. If you miss something important or make a mistake, it could end up costing you much more in the long run. 

Additionally, every situation is different, and sometimes you need a professional to help you through the legal process.

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation. 

The case of John and Jane, a couple who decided to handle their divorce on their own to save money. They agreed on how to split their assets and wrote it all down in an agreement. They filed the paperwork themselves and thought everything was settled.

A few months later, Jane realized that they forgot to include their joint credit card debt in the agreement. Since it wasn’t addressed in the divorce decree, both of them were still legally responsible for paying it off. This led to arguments and tension between them.

Misconception 6: Divorce decisions are Final.

The final decision of a judge is not always absolute. Life changes, and sometimes the terms of your divorce need to change too. 

That’s why Washington allows for post-divorce modifications (RCW 26.09.260). If something significant happens in your life, like a job loss or a move, you might be able to adjust things like child support or custody.

Misconception 7: The process is the same for everyone.

If you’ve heard one divorce story, you’ve heard them all—except that’s not true. Every couple is different, and so is every divorce. Some might settle things quickly and amicably, while others might need to go to trial. Your experience will depend on your own circumstances, which is why talking to a lawyer who knows your story is important.

Final Thoughts.

We’ve busted some misconceptions about divorce in Washington State today. Remember that the process won’t always be quick and easy, assets won’t always split 50/50, no-fault doesn’t mean no reasons, moms don’t always get primary custody of the children, handling divorce on your own isn’t always cheaper, decisions can change, and everyone’s divorce story is unique. If you’re facing this tough situation, make sure you understand your rights and get the right advice. 

We Are Here to Help! 

Need some help navigating your divorce? Our divorce lawyers are here for you. Check out our services, and if you’ve got questions contact us today!

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