Room 314, 128 North 2nd Street, Yakima, WA 98901
Honorable Robert W. Inouye
Honorable Lani-Kai Swanhart
Honorable Gayle M. Harthcock
YAKIMA COUNTY COURT FACILITATOR
If you are married and would like to request relief from the court without filing for divorce, you may file for a legal separation instead. This may be a good option if you are considering reconciliation with your spouse. However, you do not have to file for a legal separation before filing for divorce. The legal separation process may make your divorce take longer.
A legal separation can be filed in Superior Court. You may purchase a “Divorce Book” and a single form called “Petition for Legal Separation” in room 323 of the courthouse. The book is $50.00 and the form is $4.50. The book contains all the forms, samples and instructions necessary to start and finalize your separation. The filing fee is $280.00.
If you need assistance in completing the book, you may contact the Facilitator by calling (509) 574-2695.
1. Do I need an attorney?
You are not required to have an attorney and you may represent yourself. You may also hire an attorney at any time.
2. Do I have to file for separation before filing for divorce?
3. Can I convert the separation to a divorce later?
Yes. You must wait at least 6 months from the date the Decree of Separation was signed in order to convert it to a divorce.
4. How long can I stay legally separated?
As long as you wish. There is no time limit once the Decree has been signed.
5. Does it matter who files for separation first?
Either party can file for a legal separation. The person who files the separation is called the Petitioner and the other party is called the Respondent. Either party can request relief, regardless of who filed first.
6. How long does a separation take?
The 90 day waiting period (as in a divorce) does not apply to legal separations. If your case is agreed, your decree can be signed quickly. However, if your case is contested, it can take much longer.
7. What if my spouse does not agree with my request?
Your spouse will be served with copies and may file a Response to Petition for Legal Separation with the court. They should also mail a copy to you.
8. What if I cannot find my spouse?
You may request court permission to serve them by mail to a last known address or family members address.
9. Can I get an emergency order?
Yes. You may request the court sign an emergency order. If the court feels it is appropriate, they may sign an order immediately. The order may relate to property, debts, custody, visitation, child support or spousal maintenance.
10. Do I have to take a parenting class?
If you have children under age 18 involved in your separation, you must take the mandatory class called Children Coping with Divorce. Both parties are supposed to complete this class, but the minimum requirement is that the Petitioner completes the class. The Judge will not finalize your separation unless you have taken this class. (For more information click on Children Coping with Divorce).
11. Do I have to go to court?
If your case is contested, you will have to go to court.