Divorce Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How long does a divorce take?
A. The law only requires that a minimum of 90 days expire after the filing and service of a petition for
divorce. In King County, cases may be pending for one year if the parties cannot agree and a trial is
Q. Can children decide who they want to live with at age 13?
A. Absolutely not. Judges will all tell you that the decision is either made by the parents by agreement
or the court.
Q. Since Washington is a “Community Property” state, does that mean my spouse and I each get 50%
of our property and debt?
A. No! Our divorce law sites that property should be divided equitably, which means fairly. Judges can
and do frequently divide property and debt disproportionately so that the party with less income gets
more than 50% of the property and less than 50% of the debit.
Q. Does my spouse have to pay my attorney’s fees?
A. Generally, if each of you were earning the same amount of income, each of you would pay your own
fees and costs. When one party has much more income than the other, judges may require the higher
earner to pay a portion of the disadvantaged spouse.
Q. How long does maintenance last?
A. The length of a maintenance obligation is usually a function of the length of the marriage. Roughly,
maintenance lasts one year for every four years of marriage.
Q. How do we support our child through college?
A. Washington law allows courts to require contribution by the parties and child toward college
expenses. Courts will require parents to pay a portion of the child’s tuition, room, board and books
based on the relative earnings of each party. The maximum amount is the cost for a Washington
resident at a public institution such as the UW, WSU, CWU etc. and not beyond 23.
Q. Does child support cover all of the expenses for our children?
A. No. Over and above basic child support, the law requires each party to pay his/her proportionate
share of day care and uninsured health care expenses. Sometimes judges will require the parties to
pay proportionate shares of extracurricular activities like select soccer and other youth sports with
substantial fees and costs.
Q. How do I ensure that my child support gets collected?
A. The party receiving child support may opt to let his/her spouse pay directly to them or heave the
Department of Child Support collect it through a wage assignment.
Q. Can my spouse deny me a divorce?
A. No. Your spouse can refuse to settle and hold out until a trial, but the trial judge will terminate the
marriage regardless of your spouse’s objection.