Where is Lincoln County and Should I file for divorce in Lincoln County?


Where is Lincoln County and how do I get there?

Lincoln County is on the eastern side of the State of Washington just to the west of Spokane County. The county seat is in Davenport, Washington. To get there from Seattle, you can either fly or drive. If you drive, you will take Interstate 90 (I-90) eastbound to Sprague, Washington and then head north on Highway 23. The trip takes 4 hours and 2 minutes at normal speeds and is approximately 262 miles one way. If you travel by air, Davenport does not have an airport. The closet airport is Spokane International Airport (“GEG”) in Spokane, Washington. Both Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines offer frequent daily service between Seattle and Spokane. If you plan to fly, you’ll need to rent a car at GEG. It takes 39 minutes to travel from GEG to Davenport, Washington. Almost all major car rental companies provide service out of GEG.


Should I file in Lincoln County?

We get asked this question by many clients. Many people think that you can escape the 90 day rule if you file in Lincoln County. This is a myth and is not true. In deciding where you should file, it’s useful to understand on background how a Washington court decides whether to accept a divorce case. In Washington State, there are two overriding concepts a court considers when deciding on whether or not to “accept” a divorce case: venue and jurisdiction. “Venue” is simply which county the divorce should be filed in and where arguments will be heard. “Jurisdiction” is whether the court has the power to hear your divorce case.

Both Venue and Jurisdiction are determined to a degree by where you live. Most of the time, Venue is the county where you live. Venue can also be where your wife resides. This is known as proper Venue. The court expects you to file in the proper county, but if neither party makes it an issue, the court won’t bother caring about it either. For example, have you ever heard of Lincoln County? Most Divorce attorneys have. At last count, Lincoln County was the second leading filer of divorce decrees after King County. Why you might ask? The answer is because the judicial officers in that county do not require you to personally appear before the court to get your divorce approved and they tend to rubber stamp every proposed order than you send to them—warts and all. When we have a collaborative divorce between married couples, our firm also has filed divorce petitions in Lincoln County for similar reasons. However, we won’t file there if there is a remote chance that you or your spouse will get into a disagreement.

We don’t recommend filing in Lincoln County if there is the slightest chance of disagreement because if there is a dispute and you need to settle it you have two options: go to Lincoln County or have your case transferred to the county where you reside. If you opt for the former prepare for some driving or racking up a lot of miles on Alaska Airlines. If you choose the later, you now basically paid the filing fee twice—doubling your costs. You may also have additional costs to transfer key documents so that the court where you live has the same orders and official documents as the court where you filed. This can add additional costs. However, you must also consider the time factor. If you have an urgent issue, you must wait for the bureaucrats to get your documents to King, Snohomish, or Pierce County and for those documents to be processed. If, for example, your husband or wife has pulled ½ of your savings in your Bank of America savings account on his or her new trip with her new boyfriend then you might find yourself regretting the decision to save a little time up front.

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