The Divorce Process in Washington State

Puyallup Divorce Lawyers Serving all of Pierce County

How does divorce work in Puyallup and Pierce County?

  1. The Divorce Process in Washington State:

A Washington State or Puyallup divorce is finalized with the issuance of a Decree of Dissolution.  This is the final legal document that formalizes the issues of your Puyallup, Washington divorce. The document becomes legally binding upon the parties and declares the end of the parties’ marriage.

There are two "paths" to seeking a Divorce or a "Dissolution" in Puyallup and Washington State.


Most of our Puyallup divorce clients choose to file for a Decree of Dissolution, which will formalize the parties divorce anytime after the mandatory waiting period of 90 days.  It is final upon issuance.

Our Puyallup divorce lawyers are very familiar with Washington State’s divorce statutes, and we will ensure that your divorce paperwork is properly drafted and filed. 

This action is initiated by filing a Petition for a Decree of Dissolution.  When the petition and other required documents are filed and properly served upon the other party the waiting period will begins.


The parties may initiate a separation action that will result in a Decree of Legal Separation.  In general, our Puyallup divorce lawyers typically do not recommend this route unless unusual circumstances are involved, such as medical insurance issues, or unique debt and asset issues.

The Decree of Legal Separation can be converted to a Decree of Dissolution six months after the Decree of Legal Separation is issued upon motion by either party.  If you have questions about this process, one of our Puyallup divorce lawyers will be happy to discuss and explain it in more detail.

The Decree of Legal Separation is initiated by filing a Petition for Legal Separation.  A legal separation allows the parties to remain married while officially separating their economic community.  A legal separation allows for the same protections granted in a Decree of Dissolution, such as child support, parenting plan and spousal maintenance, but without dissolving the marriage until the parties reach that decision.

Our Puyallup divorce lawyers can assist with the filing of a legal separation and advise you about the differences between a Legal Separation and a Decree of Dissolution.  Although they are similar in some respects, there are also critical differences that warrant consideration. 

Our Puyallup divorce lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide our clients with the best of service and value for their complicated and personal legal needs.


  • Washington State has a mandatory minimum waiting period to finalize a divorce of 90-days.  No Pierce County or Puyallup divorce attorney can get this mandatory waiting period waived.  The intention of the waiting period is intended to allow the parties’ time to reconsider their intended divorce and allow for an opportunity to reconcile.  Again, the waiting period cannot be waived under the current law and is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.  
If, however, unusual circumstances are present, such as one party will soon be leaving the state or the country, our Puyallup divorce attorneys can arrange for your divorce to be completely finalized, even in the absence of one of the parties.  But this requires significant preparation and coordination. 

If you believe that you may need us to do something like this in your case, please tell one of our Puyallup divorce lawyers during your initial consultation. the parties can reach agreement on all the issues of their divorce they can agree to finalize their divorce anytime after the 90-day waiting period and before the trial.

So long as you and your spouse reach agreement on all the issues in your divorce, it can be finalized at anytime after the 90-day waiting period and before the trial.


  • Most of our Pierce County and Puyallup divorce clients do not end up going to trial.  In most Washington State divorce cases, trial is the option of last resort.  Our Puyallup divorce lawyers are experienced and effective advocates, and we will guide you through the entire process. 
Over the years, however, our Puyallup divorce attorneys have learned that most family law cases are best resolved through an artful blend of pragmatic lawyering and skillful negotiation.  When trial is necessary it is usually because the opposing party is divorce from reality. 

Our Puyallup divorce lawyers are prepared to assist you in making every critical decision in your case.  And, there are times when we recommend going to trial.  Our job is to provide you with the knowledge and the information to allow you to make an informed decision about how your case can best be resolved in order to achieve the goals that you have told us are most important to you and your children.

If you and your spouse are able to reach agreement on all of the issues involved in your divorce, then our one of our Puyallup divorce attorney will set your case up as an "uncontested divorce".  For many of our Pierce County and Puyallup divorce clients, this is the easiest, least stressful, and most cost effective way to end their marriage.

An uncontested divorce has many benefits.  First, and foremost, however, it allows you and your spouse to make your own decisions about how you will divide your debts and assets, share custody of your children and deal with any other issues unique to your particular situation.

By reaching agreement from the very beginning, you and your spouse can reduce the level of conflict, save court and legal costs, and improve the chances that your agreement will not need modification later on down the road.

  • Our Puyallup divorce attorneys are prepared to assist in memorializing your agreement in the most effective and efficient manner possible.  We will document your agreement and prepare all of the necessary paperwork to submit to the court and finalize your agreements. You will also receive the full advice of our knowledgeable attorneys, so you will feel confident you fully understand the consequences of your agreement.

Trial in most jurisdictions is set out approximately 6-18 months from the date of filing. Trial will be held to finalize a divorce action if the parties cannot reach agreement on their issues. At trial the Judge will hear evidence from the parties who are present and reach conclusion on their issues based on the fundamental principles of law that apply.  

  • Not all attorneys are trial attorneys. A trial attorney brings with them the experience and unique knowledge necessary for the successful presentation of their clients goals before the Trier of fact.  At the Law Offices of Jason S. Newcombe our attorneys are invested in advocating your interests from the first filing of the petition to the end of the trial.