Divorce: Options for Legally Calling It Quits

End of Relationship

Divorce: Options for Legally Calling It Quits

So, you and your partner have decided to call it quits. The next step in the process is figuring out the best way to legally end the relationship and how to get a divorce. 

Although it sounds quite simple, it may be a little more complicated than just filing for divorce. For instance, in Washington State, there are two options for legally finalizing the end of your relationship. Your choices are petitioning the courts for an annulment (also known as a Declaration of Invalidity) or petitioning the courts for a divorce.

Annulment is not easily granted in Washington State and the courts will only allow it if your marriage is seen as invalid in Washington State.

Here are the ways the courts determine if your marriage is not seen as valid under Washington State law. If your marriage falls under one or more of the following circumstances you can most likely file for an annulment:

  • Duress or Force – One partner was threatened or forced into exchanging vows 
  • Fraud – Being untruthful with your partner about your ability to fulfill the expectations of the marriage
  • Bigamy – One spouse is already in an existing marriage with another individual at the time of the second marriage
  • Incompetence – One partner had a mental impairment at the time that the marriage took place and was incapable of making competent decisions on their own.
  • Marriage to an underage child 
  • Incest – Washington State does not allow blood relative to marry one another

If your relationship does not meet any of the special circumstances for an annulment, then your only other option is to ask the courts for a divorce (also known as a Dissolution of Marriage). Although you can do this on your own, it’s best to hire an experienced divorce lawyer who can advise you on your rights and considerations about property division or spousal support you may not have thought about.

To file for divorce in Washington either spouse, or both, can file the necessary paperwork to begin the divorce process. However, there are some legal requirements must be met before filing the paperwork.

In order to ask for a divorce in Washington State you must: 

  • Live in Washington state on the date you are filing. While there isn’t a residency requirement (laws stating you must have lived in the state for a certain period) in Washington, there are jurisdictional considerations to determine if the court may hear your case.
  • The other requirement is that one of the spouses must state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,”.

Before filing it should also be noted that Washington is a no-fault state. This means you won’t have to prove the other spouse did anything wrong in order to file for divorce, such as infidelity. In fact, the court generally does not give too much weight to the reasons why the marriage is irreconcilably broken.

Need more information? Set up your free consultation by calling (509) 382-800 or by contacting us here.

ALSO READ: Ending Your Marriage: Do You Need An Attorney?


The information contained in this guide is made available by LaCoste Law, PLLC for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be considered legal advice. The transmission and receipt of this information doesn’t form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. Persons receiving the information contained in this guide should not make decisions or take action without first seeking professional legal counsel.


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