What Happens During the Snohomish County Divorce Process?

Posted by Alesha Struthers Nov 16, 2021

The Snohomish County divorce process follows. In this blog post, you will learn what happens during the Snohomish County divorce process.

This blog post about filing for divorce in Snohomish County is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not and should not be used as a replacement for legal advice. For legal advice, schedule your free consultation with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers. Alesha Struthers is a family law attorney in Snohomish County. She is also an experienced certified mediator.

Before we get started, however, it is important to note that while we are outlining the divorce process below, that does not mean that each step will last a certain amount of time for you or that your divorce will be entirely uncontested. Because Washington is a community property state, it can take time to work through these matters. If you and your spouse share a child, your divorce will take more time because extra steps must be completed.

Your divorce will take time depending on many factors, including the number of assets and debts. It also depends on whether you and your spouse can settle the issues that must be resolved. This can be challenging since divorce can be very emotional.

Related: 4 Things to Know about Washington State Parenting Classes

With that said, let's begin.

Filing and Serving the Petition for Divorce

The Snohomish County divorce process begins with the filing and serving of the divorce petition. After the petition is completed by the spouse who initiates the divorce (the petitioner) and filed in the Snohomish Superior Court, the petition must be served on your spouse along with a summons. A summons is a notice that tells your spouse (the respondent) that you filed for divorce. If they do not respond, they can lose certain legal rights.

Getting the Temporary Orders

The court listens to you and your spouse, as well as to each of the arguments your attorneys make on behalf of each of you individually, to issue temporary orders. Temporary orders may be issued:

  • To determine who may live in the family home
  • To address temporary child support
  • To address temporary child custody
  • To address temporary visitation
  • To address temporary spousal maintenance
  • To address, if necessary, place restraints on how spouses may contact each other if abuse is involved.
Related:Abusive Litigation Measure Better Protects Domestic Violence Survivors
Mediation in Divorce in Snohomish County

Mediation is required in all Snohomish County divorce cases unless the requirement has been waived. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. In mediation, you and your spouse meet with a third-party mediator to discuss the issues that must be resolved before your final divorce decree can be issued.

Mediation is not always successful, but it is an opportunity. It can help you resolve outstanding issues. If you and your spouse can do so, the judge will review the proposed final orders. If the judge believes it does not take advantage of either party and, if there is a minor child, that it is in the best interest of the minor child, the judge will sign the agreement. The judge will decide any issues that are not resolved during mediation during the divorce trial.

Parenting Classes for Divorce in Washington

If you and your spouse share a minor child, both of you must attend an approved co-parenting class. Snohomish County has two for you to choose from:

  • Successful Co-Parenting
  • Children in Between.

These co-parenting classes are online. For you to complete all of the requirements of the Snohomish County divorce process, you must finish the co-parenting class and submit the certificate of attendance to the court. Otherwise, you must qualify for an exemption or waiver.

Filing a Parenting Plan in Washington State

Filing a parenting plan in Snohomish County follows the same laws as filing a parenting plan in Washington state. A parenting plan is, hopefully, settled between you and your spouse during mediation. It must be in the best interest of the minor child.

The parenting plan defines which parent is the residential parent, the parenting time each parent has, and other important information. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the parenting plan, it may be brought before the judge during the divorce trial. However, doing so does not guarantee that you will get the results that you want.

Related: Child Custody in Washington State: Full Custody Guide
Going to Trial: Snohomish County Divorce

Issues that aren't resolved during mediation are decided by the judge during your divorce trial. The judge will listen to testimony, arguments related to the issues, and review any evidence that may be relevant. Then, the judge will provide a decision for each unresolved issue.

The judge will review any settlement agreement and parenting plan provided by the parties. If the agreements are fair, the judge will sign off on them. During this time, you may also receive other final orders as well.

Final Divorce Decree: When It's All Said and Done

After the divorce trial and after the judge reviews and signs the potential settlement agreement and parenting plan, the final divorce decree is issued. Certified copies can be beneficial to conduct your official personal business.

Free Consult Family Law Attorney in Snohomish County

The divorce process can be complicated as well as legally and emotionally challenging. It can be difficult to go through the process alone. If you're filing for divorce or were served with divorce papers, you can schedule a free consultation with a family law attorney in Snohomish County now.

Disclaimer: This publication is not legal advice. It is intended as legal information only. For legal advice specific to your needs, contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers, PS at 800-972-0411.

Posted November 2021.