My husband filed the papers and served them on me. I want to just sign the joinder, but I'm not sure what to do then. Do I need to file it with the court or just mail it to his attorney? Please help!
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
The divorce summons directs you to file a copy of your response with the court, and also send a copy to the attorney. If you are simply going to join the petition, sign at the end where it says "Joinder" and think seriously about requesting notice of all further proceedings, just in case. Give an address where you can receive documents, and then send that back to your ex's attorney. Keep a copy for your records.
I do cases like this frequently from the perspective of representing the moving party, or alternatively the responding party. Never both at the same time, there is a conflict. You can get "unbundled" advice from some other local family law attorney just as a check and balance, to ensure your interests are being adequately and reasonably addressed.
Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell
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Family Law Attorney
The joinder could have been signed before the petition is filed. The pattern petition has a joinder section at the very end of the petition.
Since the petition has already been filed, you can file a joinder as a separate document. The blank mandatory pattern forms for most WA family law proceedings are free at http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/ .
If you look under the "Divorce" link at the form page, you will find the "joinder" form.
Alternatively, in theory, if you just ignore the petition and do not file a response, the husband will eventually get a default decree whose terms are limited to what is in the petition.
However, before filing a joinder or ignoring the petition, you likely should review your specific facts with your attorney to find out your legal options.
If you have minor children with your husband, you want to make sure the proposed parenting plan and order of child support are what you want.
If you two had been married for some time, you may have property rights or rights to spousal maintenance.
You should consult with your own attorney to make sure that your rights are protected. If, after knowing your rights, you still want to sign the joinder, there is plenty of time to do that.