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26.09.020  <<  26.09.030 >>   26.09.040

RCW 26.09.030

Petition for dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership — Court proceedings, findings — Transfer to family court — Legal separation in lieu of dissolution.

When a party who (1) is a resident of this state, or (2) is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in this state, or (3) is married or in a domestic partnership to a party who is a resident of this state or who is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in this state, petitions for a dissolution of marriage or dissolution of domestic partnership, and alleges that the marriage or domestic partnership is irretrievably broken and when ninety days have elapsed since the petition was filed and from the date when service of summons was made upon the respondent or the first publication of summons was made, the court shall proceed as follows:

     (a) If the other party joins in the petition or does not deny that the marriage or domestic partnership is irretrievably broken, the court shall enter a decree of dissolution.

     (b) If the other party alleges that the petitioner was induced to file the petition by fraud, or coercion, the court shall make a finding as to that allegation and, if it so finds shall dismiss the petition.

     (c) If the other party denies that the marriage or domestic partnership is irretrievably broken the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the circumstances that gave rise to the filing of the petition and the prospects for reconciliation and shall:

     (i) Make a finding that the marriage or domestic partnership is irretrievably broken and enter a decree of dissolution of the marriage or domestic partnership; or

     (ii) At the request of either party or on its own motion, transfer the cause to the family court, refer them to another counseling service of their choice, and request a report back from the counseling service within sixty days, or continue the matter for not more than sixty days for hearing. If the cause is returned from the family court or at the adjourned hearing, the court shall:

     (A) Find that the parties have agreed to reconciliation and dismiss the petition; or

     (B) Find that the parties have not been reconciled, and that either party continues to allege that the marriage or domestic partnership is irretrievably broken. When such facts are found, the court shall enter a decree of dissolution of the marriage or domestic partnership.

     (d) If the petitioner requests the court to decree legal separation in lieu of dissolution, the court shall enter the decree in that form unless the other party objects and petitions for a decree of dissolution or declaration of invalidity.

     (e) In considering a petition for dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership, a court shall not use a party's pregnancy as the sole basis for denying or delaying the entry of a decree of dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership. Granting a decree of dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership when a party is pregnant does not affect further proceedings under the uniform parentage act, chapter 26.26 RCW.

[2008 c 6 § 1006; 2005 c 55 § 1; 1996 c 23 § 1; 1973 1st ex.s. c 157 § 3.]

Notes:

     Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2008 c 6: See RCW 26.60.900 and 26.60.901.