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Do it yourself Petition for Dissolution of Marriage signed. not notarized. What should happen next?

Goldendale, WA |

Husband petitioned for divorce. We both signed it at home, and he left to unknown destination and did not give phone or address. The papers were not notarized. Debts and assets were split. House is still joint responsibility. What should happen next? How is the joint bill taken care of?

Thank you.

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Attorney answers 4


Sound like you and or the court have a little work left to do, I would contact the court and ask what happens in this case if you are not able to retain an attorney, the house is your biggest concern however if there equity perhaps it is a benefit to you.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


WA does not require that petitions for dissolution be notarized, so don't worry about that. What you need your ex to do is to prepare findings of fact and conclusions of law (that is one document) and the proposed decree of dissolution.

The decree has to award the same relief requested in the petition. So if you as a married couple own real property, then that cannot be allocated in his absence if it wasn't mentioned in the petition. You probably want to find him so you can get this resolved.

Third party creditors are not part of your dissolution and they cannot be held to honor the terms of your dissolution. They will come after whichever spouse they think cares about their credit in order to get paid. Your remedy is a hold harmless clause in the decree that says if one party doesn't pay what they agreed to pay the other spouse can sue them to make them follow the decree.

What should happen next is you should be able to enter a decree of dissolution after 90 days. You need an attorney to help you, especially since your spouse has apparently taken off for parts unknown. In the meanwhile, you are still married, and will continue to be married unless or until a decree is entered. Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell

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It sounds like the petition is joint, and signed by both parties. If so, you should be able to file it, wait for the mandatory 90 day waiting period, and enter final orders which are agreed. It would be best to consult with a family law attorney about the details.

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You should review the court docket to see what in all has been filed and whether or not your divorce has been finalized. You can see the court records here:

It would be a good idea to set up a consultation with an attorney who can review the docket with you and explain where you are in your case and what needs to happen moving forward.

Good luck!

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