What is a Joint Petition for Divorce?

Posted on November 27, 2023.

Divorce is undoubtedly a challenging and emotional process, but there are ways to make it more manageable and amicable. One such option is filing a joint petition for divorce. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of a joint petition for divorce, uncovering its benefits and explaining how it differs from other types of divorce petitions. 

Let’s explore what a joint petition for divorce is and why it might be the right choice for you.

Joint Petition for Divorce

A joint petition for divorce is a unique legal document filed by both parties seeking a divorce.

Unlike traditional divorce proceedings, where one party initiates the divorce and serves papers to the other, a joint petition signifies that both spouses agree about ending their marriage and have reached a consensus on important aspects such as division of assets, child custody, and financial matters.

In Washington State, couples seeking to reduce conflict can file a joint petition for dissolution of marriage. This means that both parties are in agreement, and the divorce process can push through without significant conflict over the terms of the separation. Spouses in this setup are referred to as “Co-Petitioners.”

On the other hand, a contested divorce involves the initiating party, the petitioner, filing for a divorce, and the other party, the respondent, filing a separate document to respond to the petition. 

In Washington State, couples can file a joint petition for divorce, allowing both spouses to initiate the divorce process together. This streamlined approach can save time and simplify the overall process. 

No-Fault Divorce

In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse needs to provide evidence of fault in the breakdown of the marriage. In the past, most divorces were fault-based, meaning that a spouse had to show grounds for the divorce, such as adultery, abuse, or abandonment to obtain a divorce. 

However, with the introduction of a no-fault divorce, couples can now seek a divorce solely based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or irreconcilable differences. This means that the focus is on the dissolution of the marriage rather than blaming one party.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce refers to a situation where both spouses agree on all major aspects of the divorce, including the division of assets, child custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), and any other relevant issues. In other words, no significant conflicts between the parties require resolution by a court or extensive negotiation. 

An uncontested divorce can be achieved through effective communication, compromise, and possibly the assistance of mediation or collaborative law. It offers several benefits, such as reduced legal costs, a quicker process, and a more amicable and less contentious dissolution of the marriage.

In Washington State, an uncontested divorce means both spouses agree on all issues related to the dissolution of their marriage, including the division of assets, child custody, and spousal support. The couple must file the necessary documents with the court, but they may not need to attend court hearings if their agreement is legally sound.

Advantages of a Joint Petition for Divorce

Simplified Process

One of the primary benefits of a joint divorce petition is the simplified legal process. Couples can avoid the complexities and potential conflicts associated with court battles by taking this route. Since both parties are in agreement on the issues identified in the petition, there is significantly less likelihood of extensive negotiations or litigation, making the entire process smoother and quicker.

Control and Collaboration

With a joint petition, couples maintain a higher level of control and collaboration throughout the divorce process. By working together to settle important matters, they can shape the outcome based on their unique circumstances and priorities. This allows spouses to feel more in control of the process and the agreements, including arrangements for child custody, spousal support, and property division.

Less Emotional Strain

Divorce proceedings can be emotionally draining and stressful, especially when disagreements and conflicts arise. A joint petition for divorce aims to minimize such strain by promoting cooperation and open communication from the start. By jointly filing the petition and reaching mutual agreements, couples can experience a more amicable and dignified separation.

Why Choose Truce Law for Joint Petitions

If you are considering a joint petition for divorce, having the right legal guidance and support is crucial. Truce Law is a trusted name in collaborative divorce practices, providing compassionate and effective solutions to couples seeking an amicable separation.

With Truce Law, you can benefit from our knowledge and experience in family law matters, including joint petitions for divorce. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the legal intricacies of these cases and can provide guidance tailored to your specific needs.

We make the divorce process as effortless and efficient as possible. Our secure online portal and easy e-signature feature ensure a convenient and hassle-free experience. Finally, we recognize the importance of flexibility and offer both online and in-person meeting options. This ensures that the legal process can fit seamlessly into your schedule.

What to Expect During the Process

The general process of filing a joint petition for divorce involves several steps.

  1. Agreement: Both spouses must agree to pursue a joint petition for divorce and be on the same page regarding primary issues raised in the petition, such as property division, child custody, and support.
  2. Petition Preparation: The next step is to prepare the necessary paperwork. This includes completing a petition for dissolution of marriage, which outlines the desire to end the marriage and high level descriptions of the general agreed-upon terms. In addition a confidential information form and certificate of dissolution is prepared. 
  3. Document Filing: Once the documents are ready, they need to be filed with the court. This typically involves submitting the joint petition for dissolution of marriage and any supporting documents, along with the appropriate filing fee.
  4. Mandatory Waiting Period: In Washington, there is a 90-day mandatory waiting period after the filing of a joint petition before the court can finalize the divorce. This waiting period allows couples to reconsider their decision and gives them time to resolve any outstanding issues.
  5. Finalization: Both spouses sign the final agreement and it is submitted to the court after the waiting period. The court reviews the final agreement and ensures that the agreed-upon terms are fair and reasonable and if there are children that their interests are protected. If everything is in order, the court grants the divorce and signs a final divorce decree.

File a Joint Petition Through Truce Law

If you are considering a joint petition for divorce, contact us to schedule a consultation. Let Truce Law guide you through this challenging time with compassion. We help couples choose the approach that best suits their unique circumstances and goals when seeking a peaceful and efficient divorce. 

You can reach us by calling (833) MY-TRUCE or emailing talk@trucelaw.com. We have offices in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.

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