Separation

Establishing separate lives

Separation can be the first step toward divorce or an alternative you might choose for religious reasons, a desire to legally keep the family together for the sake of your children, or to protect valuable benefits, such as healthcare or tax savings. If you opt for separation, you are still legally married; however, you can live separate lives. 

FILING A PETITION

Filing for Legal Separation

 

 

Similar to filing for a divorce, you need to file a petition with the local court to legally separate. There is no waiting period in Washington to finalize your legal separation. Either party can convert the legal separation to a divorce after six months. The agreement you adopt in your separation will be the same one used if it is converted to a divorce order. 

 

You may choose to use mediation during this process, and if there are any issues you cannot agree on, you can go to court and have a judge issue a final ruling.

 

Once your separation is granted, there is a six-month waiting period before you can ask the court to convert it to a formal divorce. 

 

Any assets or debts acquired after your date of legal separation are considered separate property and would not be further divided should you decide to move forward with a divorce. 

GETTING TO AN AGREEMENT

What to Consider in a Legal Separation

 

When considering a separation, you will need an agreement or decision from the court on the following: 

 

•  Child custody and residential time

•  Child support

•  Spousal maintenance

•  Health insurance

•  Division of property and debts, including the disposition of the family home

•  Division of retirement assets

 

Separation agreements are legally binding under Washington law. It is wise to consult with an attorney who understands the impact of a separation contract before signing.

GETTING TO AN AGREEMENT

What to Consider in a Legal Separation

 

 

When considering a separation, you will need an agreement or decision from the court on the following: 

 

 

•  Child custody and residential time

•  Child support

•  Spousal maintenance

•  Health insurance

•  Division of property and debts, including the disposition of the family home

•  Division of retirement assets

 

 

Separation agreements are legally binding under Washington law. It is wise to consult with an attorney who understands the impact of a separation contract before signing.

NOT READY TO SEPARATE?

Post-Nuptial Agreement

 
If you are actively working to reconcile your marriage and are not ready to separate, you may wish to consider a post-nuptial agreement. This may allow you to put your finances in order and concentrate instead on your relationship.

SKILLED LEGAL ADVOCATES

Contact a Separation Attorney Today


When facing marital discord and the possibility of divorce on the horizon, it is advisable to hire an attorney experienced in these matters to avoid future disputes. If a post-nuptial agreement or separation agreement does not cover all current and potential issues, you may again find yourself in court or mediation to address unresolved matters.


A skilled legal advocate at our firm can advise you on the appropriate statutory language to include, highlight essential topics to consider, and help navigate a legal separation with an eye toward minimizing current and future conflict.

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