What does a court need to do in a divorce?

The court needs to determine the following:

  1. Should the parties be divorced? Washington is a “no fault” state and the court must determine that a marriage is irretrievably broken, and that more than 90 days have passed since the later of the filing of the Summons and Petition and the service on the opposing party.
  2. Characterize and divide the assets and debts of the parties. The court must first determine what is separate and what is community, then make an equitable division of the assets and debts of the parties.
  3. Parenting Plan. If there are minor children the court must establish a Parenting Plan which allocates when the children will be with each parent, makes decisions for the children and rules how minor disputes about the Plan are to be resolved.
  4. Child Support. The court must establish support for the children pursuant to the child support guidelines.
  5. Spousal Maintenance. The court must consider whether a party requires spousal maintenance.
  6. Name Change. The court should consider whether either or both parties should be granted a name change.