I’m often asked: “What are final orders?” It’s usually followed by how soon can I get my divorce case over with? The term final orders term can vary state to state and even by county to county. In Washington, it’s fairly uniform for divorcees in King County and Snohomish County, but there are differences! The term “final orders” is slang term that refers to the orders that end your case. If you are getting a divorce and you have children, then the final orders would include:
- Decree of Dissolution
- Findings of Fact/Conclusions of Law
- Order of Child Support
- Child Support Worksheets
- Final Parenting Plan
Most of the time, you and your spouse are entering the orders by agreement. This means you both signed the orders. If you you both haven’t signed the orders, then you both need to sign them otherwise you are not getting your divorce case over with anytime soon. The judge signs every document outlined above making your divorce official. If the documents do not contain the judge’s signature then you aren’t divorced yet. Instead, you have what are called unsigned orders or “proposed orders”.
The Decree of Dissolution is your actual divorce order. This is what will allow you to get remarried. The findings of fact contain key information which can include who gets which car and who gets the home. The Order of Child Support and Final Parenting Plan are self-evidence. You will also need a document called the “Child Support Worksheets” which show the judge how you came up with your child support figure. You can find the documents at the Washington State Website for Court Forms. Bookmark that site as it’s very handy.
Stop here if you don’t have children.
For divorce cases with children only
King County Specific Issues:
You can’t just take your final orders down to the courthouse to get them entered by a judge so you can get divorced. There’s a few other things that must be done before you can show up in the Ex Parte Department. King County requires you to take a course called “What about the children”. You may also need a declaration supporting the parenting plan, although I’ve rarely seen this required.
Snohomish Country Specific Issues:
Snohomish County requires that you take a course called “For Kid’s Sake”. It’s about $100 and dates can be hard to get so make sure you take the course early. Be sure that you have completed the course. I’ve seen people turned away from getting their final orders entered because they failed to take the class. Snohomish County also requires that you schedule your time in advance for divorces with children.