Ending a marriage is seldom painless. This is especially apparent when you don’t want it to end. The decision to end a marriage can be difficult, particularly when couples find themselves with opposing views. What actions can you take when your spouse wants a divorce but you don’t? Here is what you need to know about opposing a divorce in Washington State.
Washington is a “No-Fault” Divorce State
Washington is a no-fault divorce state. This means that no spouse has a legal requirement to prove that one party or the other was responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. In other words, no one needs to prove that one spouse or another was “at fault” to get divorced. Instead, either party need only state that there were “irreconcilable differences,” and the court will approve the divorce.
Simply put, if one spouse wants to end the marriage, they can legally do so. Washington State doesn’t consider fault in divorce cases. So, even if one party was guilty of abuse or committed infidelity, these matters wouldn’t be relevant to the divorce petition.
Options You Can Take to Oppose a Divorce
If your spouse wants a divorce, but you don’t, you have a few options you can pursue. These include:
- Contest the divorce — You can argue that no irreconcilable differences exist, so the grounds for divorce aren’t valid. When this happens in Washington, the court will generally delay the process for 60 days and ask the parties to work out their differences. But if there is no possibility of reconciliation, the court may not even go this far.
- Request counseling — If you honestly believe that the relationship can be repaired, you should ask the court to refer you to counseling. If the court agrees, it will delay your divorce proceeding for 60 days. If you reconcile, the court will dismiss the divorce petition. Otherwise, the process will move forward.
- Agree to a legal separation — Another option is to agree to a legal separation in lieu of a divorce. You remain legally married but must settle issues like asset division, child custody, and child support.
What you don’t want is to end up in a contested legal battle, which will prove to be costly and time-consuming. If you are facing divorce, whether you want to follow through with the process or not, it’s a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.
Contact an Experienced Washington State Divorce Attorney
There’s nothing simple about divorce. Whether you want a divorce and your spouse doesn’t, or you are in the reverse situation. One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your future is to protect your rights by hiring an experienced family law attorney. At Bighorse & Associates, we offer free consultations and will help you achieve the best outcome possible in your divorce case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.