To get a divorce in Washington state, you need to live in the state and intend to stay there. There is no specific residency requirement to file. However, the court needs to have jurisdiction not only over you but also over your spouse and children to issue orders on:
- Property division.
- Child support.
- Alimony payments.
As long as your spouse lives in Washington as well, it should not be an issue. However, if they reside in another state, you might need legal advice on whether Washington is the right state to file in. When it comes to your children, they should live in WA for at least 6 months if you want the court to make decisions concerning them.
To get a Whatcom County divorce, you or your spouse must reside in the county and file your paperwork with the local court. Washington State no-fault divorce is the only option available to couples, and you simply need to state that your marriage is irretrievably broken to get divorced. Fault reasons like cheating or mistreatment cannot be indicated on the forms.
Divorce Process in Whatcom County
The general steps to the Whatcom County divorce process are:
- Decide whether you will be filing jointly.
- Get the relevant Whatcom County divorce papers based on your filing decision and agreements.
- Fill out the paperwork, sign it as required, and make the copies.
- Start your divorce by filing the forms with the clerk of court and paying the fee.
- If you are not filing jointly, hire a Whatcom County process server or ask another adult to serve your spouse.
- After the service process is completed, if it is required, bring the proof to the court.
- Once the 90-day waiting period elapses, schedule the final hearing if needed.
- Bring the rest of your paperwork to the court and appear before a judge to officially end your marriage.
Spouses who cannot settle their disputes will have to undergo a lengthy marriage dissolution process and hire lawyers. In such contested cases, an attorney would be responsible for guiding their client through the steps to getting a divorce, which may differ from those mentioned above.
Those who can reach an agreement are free to choose whether to get legal assistance and may opt to file without it. Couples may start their uncontested (agreed-upon) marriage dissolution together by signing a Petition filled out by both of them.
Whatcom County Divorce Forms
The main Whatcom County courts forms required to file for divorce are:
- Petition or a Joinder
- Confidential Information Form
- Certificate of Dissolution
- Case Information Cover Sheet
- Separation Agreement
- Financial Statement
To divorce with children, you will need to file additional Whatcom County clerk forms, such as the:
- Parenting Plan
- Child Support Order
- Child Support Schedule and Worksheet
- Financial Declaration
- Cover Sheet for financial documents
In cases both with and without children, you might require other or more Whatcom County family law forms depending on various factors. The aforementioned divorce papers are common in uncontested cases, and many of them will have to be notarized.
To fill out divorce papers in Washington State, you will need to:
- Get the personal and contact information of everyone involved in the case.
- Inquire about your spouse’s financial and employment information.
- Make child support calculations and create a parenting schedule if you have kids.
- Provide complete and truthful answers to relevant questions.
- Look up any terminology and information that you are not familiar with.
After you finish, you may want to review the forms for possible mistakes and typos before signing them. The clerk will likely ask you to redo the whole document if it is filled out incorrectly.
Whatcom County Filing Fees
Whatcom County divorce filings will cost you around $280-320. The clerk will ask you to make the payment once you give them your paperwork and, potentially, to cover other miscellaneous fees. As the exact sum may change slightly, you may contact the courthouse before your visit to learn the precise amount.
The judge may waive the court fee and related surcharges upon your request. However, you will have to prove that you are at a financial disadvantage in your Waiver and, likely, in other financial documents. If the court finds that you qualify for the indigent status or the fees should be waived due to other circumstances, you will not have to make the payment.
Divorce Courts in Whatcom County, Washington State
You can find the contact information and the address of the Whatcom County divorce court in the following table.
Whatcom County, WA Divorce Court Information
Court Name: Whatcom County Superior Court
Court Title: In the Circuit Court of Whatcom County
Circuit Court Location: 311 Grand Avenue Suite 301, Bellingham, Washington 98225
Court Phone: 360-676-6777
Court Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
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