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When Can I Remarry After Divorce in Washington?

Curiale Hostnik PLLC May 14, 2024

Marriage is a wonderful bond that's often considered a lifelong commitment. However, sometimes, things don't work out as planned and couples may decide to end their marriage. Going through a divorce is emotionally taxing and usually complex, involving numerous state laws and regulations.  

In Washington State, the divorce process can take several months to finalize. However, once your divorce is officially granted, what are your rights and legal options for getting remarried?  

Washington has a strict set of laws that govern divorce, including rules for when you can remarry after a divorce is finalized. If you are considering getting remarried in the state of Washington, reach out to an experienced divorce attorney at Curiale Hostnik PLLC, located in Tacoma, Washington. 

Understanding Divorce in Washington State 

Before providing an answer for when you can remarry after a divorce, it's important to understand how divorce is processed in Washington, including the types of divorce, legal grounds for divorce, and regulations around the division of property. 

Types of Divorce 

In Washington, divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is classified into two primary types: contested and uncontested.

A contested divorce occurs when the couple cannot agree on important issues such as child custody, property division, or spousal support. This type of divorce requires court intervention to reach a resolution. 

On the other hand, an uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree on all the relevant issues and submit them to the court for approval. This type of divorce is generally less time-consuming and more cost-effective. 

Legal Grounds for Divorce 

Washington is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means that either spouse can file for divorce without proving any fault on the part of the other. The only required grounds for divorce in Washington are that there has been a breakdown of the marriage due to irreconcilable differences. 

However, Washington also recognizes fault-based grounds for divorce, which include adultery, abandonment, cruelty, and incurable insanity. These are less common in modern divorces. 

Division of Property 

Washington is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered equally owned by both parties. In divorce proceedings, these assets must be divided equitably between the spouses.  

This does not necessarily mean an equal 50/50 split, but rather a fair division based on factors such as each spouse's financial contributions, earning potential, and non-financial contributions to the marriage. This also means that all marital debt, including credit card balances and mortgages, is divided equally between spouses as well.  

However, any separate property owned by either spouse before the marriage or acquired through inheritance or gift during the marriage is not subject to division. 

Waiting Period 

The state dictates a mandatory waiting period of 90 days from the filing date before a divorce can be finalized. This cooling-off period is designed to give couples a chance to reconsider their decision. It's also a valuable time for individuals to begin contemplating their future, including the possibility of remarriage, while adhering to legal timelines. 

When Can You Remarry After Divorce in Washington? 

According to Washington state law, once a divorce is legally finalized—meaning the dissolution order has been signed by a judge and the waiting period has concluded—there are no additional statutory waiting periods that specifically pertain to remarriage. This means you are free to remarry as soon as the divorce decree is granted

This differs from many other states, where specific remarriage waiting periods are imposed. However, it's important to ensure that all divorce proceedings are entirely concluded and that you have a certified copy of the divorce decree in hand before making any arrangements to remarry. 

Steps for Remarrying After Divorce in Washington 

For those considering remarriage after divorce in Washington, the process is straightforward once your divorce is final. However, as part of the marriage license application process, you will be asked to attest that your divorce is final and will typically need to provide the date of your divorce finalization.  

Below are the general steps you should follow to approach remarrying after divorce: 

  1. Obtain your final divorce decree: Make sure you have received your final divorce decree. This document officially marks the end of your marriage and is necessary to move forward with a new marriage legally. We suggest requesting several certified copies from the court for your records and future use. 

  1. Wait for any appeal period to pass: Although Washington does not impose a waiting period for remarriage after divorce, be aware of any appeal periods that might affect the finality of your divorce decree. Ensure that these periods have lapsed to avoid any legal complications. 

  1. Meet the legal requirements for marriage: Before you can remarry, you must comply with all legal requirements for marriage in the state. You must be at least 18 years old, not be married to someone else, and not seek to marry a close relative. 

  1. Apply for a marriage license: You and your intended spouse must apply for a marriage license. This can typically be done at any county auditor’s office in Washington. You will need to provide identification and pay a fee. There is a three-day waiting period from the time you apply for your license until it can be used. 

  1. Plan your ceremony: Once you have your marriage license, you can plan your ceremony. The ceremony must be performed by an authorized person, such as a religious figure, judge, or other individuals licensed to perform weddings in Washington. Your marriage license is valid for 60 days, so plan to have your ceremony within that time frame. 

  1. Have your marriage license signed: During your ceremony, you will need to have your marriage license signed by two witnesses and your officiant. This step legally solidifies your marriage. 

  1. Submit your signed marriage license: It’s the responsibility of your officiant to submit your signed marriage license to the county auditor's office where it was issued. Once recorded, you can request certified copies of your marriage certificate for your records. 

By following these steps, you can make sure remarriage after divorce in Washington is smooth and legally compliant. Always consider consulting with an experienced divorce attorney to address any specific concerns or questions you might have during this process.  

Important Considerations Before Remarrying 

Remarrying after divorce is both a legal decision and a significant personal choice. Before deciding to remarry, consider the following:

  • Have you fully healed from your previous relationship? Make sure that you've emotionally moved past your last marriage to prevent past issues from affecting your new relationship. 

  • Are your life goals, values, and priorities aligned with those of your potential spouse? Ensuring compatibility between you and your spouse can foster a more harmonious and fulfilling marriage.  

  • Is your financial situation prepared for a new marriage? In Washington, the divorce process will find an equitable split between shared marital assets. Make sure your finances are stable following your divorce. Consider speaking with a financial advisor to combine your assets and debts and understand the implications of remarriage on your finances. 

The Importance of Skilled Legal Counsel 

At Curiale Hostnik PLLC, we understand that divorce and remarriage encompass both legal and personal dimensions. While Washington law offers a straightforward path to remarriage after divorce, the emotional and financial readiness for such a commitment should not be overlooked.  

Our team is here to provide you with the legal support and guidance you need to make informed decisions that reflect your best future. Located in Puyallup, Washington, we proudly serve clients in cities throughout Pierce County including Tacoma, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Gig Harbor, University Place, Spanaway, and Lakewood. 

For any questions on divorce, remarriage, or any related legal matters, reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.