No one gets married expecting it to end in divorce. However, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes relationships just don’t work out. Whether it’s irreconcilable differences or another issue, in many cases divorce is the only option.
The good news is divorce doesn’t always have to be messy. For some couples, they’re able to make major decisions and come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce in an amicable way. In these cases, they may have the option to file a joint petition for divorce.
What is a Joint Petition for Divorce?
A joint petition for divorce allows a married couple to file for divorce together, as opposed to separately. More often than not, spouses wind up filing for divorce separately because they cannot agree on a number of major issues that come up during a divorce.
For instance, you will need to make decisions regarding child custody and visitation, the division of personal property, real estate, and alimony. If there are any other issues regarding the marriage, they’ll need to be resolved too.
If you and your spouse have come to an agreement on those issues, then you will likely have the option to file a joint petition. This certainly has its benefits. For one, it’s going to save time and money, and things are less likely to get messy since you won’t be going against one another in court.
When Can You File a Joint Petition?
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on the terms of the divorce, it will be considered a “contested” divorce. This means you’ll wind up in court to come to an agreement on everything before the divorce can be finalized. In this case, a joint petition is not an option.
You can file a joint petition for divorce if your divorce is “uncontested.” In an uncontested divorce, the couple needs to agree on all major issues. As mentioned before, this includes a variety of things such as custody of the children, division of assets, and alimony. You will also need to make decisions regarding child support, health and dental coverage, and any other issues related to your marriage.
You will want to consult with an attorney first to ensure a joint petition is the best option for you. If you and your spouse have an amicable relationship, no children, and very few assets, you’ll be the perfect candidate for a joint petition for divorce.
How to File a Joint Petition for Divorce
Familiarizing yourself with the divorce process will make the ordeal less stressful. So, here’s how to file a joint petition for divorce:
1. File for Divorce
To get the ball rolling, there are some forms you will need to complete. This includes the Petition for Divorce, Agreement to Joint Petition, plus a few others. There are additional forms for those with children. The state of Washington offers online forms or you can choose to get a hard copy at your nearest courthouse.
2. File the Papers With the Court
Next, the judge will review the paperwork you’ve submitted. This will happen only once 90 days have passed since the filing date. The judge will either approve or deny your divorce settlement. If approved, on the day the judge signs the Decree of Dissolution, your divorce will become final.
Is Filing a Joint Petition for Divorce Right for You?
Filing a joint petition isn’t a realistic option for everyone. For many couples, going to court is necessary to hammer out the details of the divorce. However, if you and your spouse have come to an agreement on important issues beforehand, it’s certainly the best option.Are you considering filing a joint petition for divorce in Washington state? Call our office at (360) 866-7393 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.