Can You Get a Divorce by Mail in Washington State?
Considering court costs and attorneys’ fees, as well as energy spent trying to come to an agreement with a soon-to-be ex-spouse, the divorce process can often be expensive and drawn out, draining the parties financially as well as emotionally. With that grim prospect in mind. spouses sometimes choose to pursue a so-called “do it yourself” divorce, filling out a packet of downloadable forms and submitting them to the court without a lawyer’s advice or review. In fact, there are places in Washington state where a divorce can be done entirely by mail.
All counties in the state allow for mailing in a petition for dissolution of marriage, but there are a couple in which marriages can be dissolved without a court appearance. One is Lincoln County, which has become the quickie-divorce capital of Washington. Individuals across the state looking to get divorced painlessly send their filings in droves to the courthouse in this wheat farming community of slightly more than 10,000 residents in the eastern side of the state. Other counties require the spouses to attend parenting classes when there are children of the marriage, but in Lincoln, the spouses need only agree on a parenting plan. The parties can appear telephonically for the final hearing. Wahkiakum County, on the Columbia River, is the second most popular venue for divorce by mail.
But despite the allure of the DIY mail-in divorce as a cost and time saver, it really only works when the spouses are completely in sync on all terms, including parenting issues and division of assets and debts. Even when there is general consensus on these points, numerous unforeseen details and problems can arise, especially as to child support, custody and visitation. When that happens, travel to a remote courthouse may be necessary. For example, Tacoma residents would have to drive 270 miles to attend legal proceedings Davenport if they filed in Lincoln County, or 120 miles to Cathlamet in they filed in Wahkiakum.
Finally, drafting a separation agreement that fully accounts for all the parties’ rights and obligations can be difficult or impossible to do without professional counsel.
If you are contemplating a divorce, consult with the experienced family law attorneys at Bottimore & Associates, P.L.L.C. in Tacoma. We can advise you on the best path to completing your divorce as efficiently as possible. Call us at 253-272-5653 or contact us online today.