Washington Law Review


On November 30, 1973, Raymond A. Ways, a member of the United States Navy on active military duty, filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in a Washington superior court. Ways had been stationed in Washington aboard the USS Enterprise (then undergoing repairs at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington) since October 1973, but neither he nor his wife had ever been domiciled in Washington. Ways filed his petition in reliance upon R.C.W. § 26.09.030, a statute allowing members of the armed forces stationed in Washington to petition for dissolution of marriage in the state. On February 2, 1974, sixty-four days after the filing of Ways' petition, the USS Enterprise departed for California, terminating Ways' Washington station. Three days after the ship departed Washington, petitioner's wife filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The Superior Court for Kitsap County denied this motion. Respondent wife next petitioned the Washington Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to review the order denying the motion to dismiss and for a writ of prohibition to bar further proceedings in the dissolution action. In a 5-4 decision, the Washington Supreme Court reversed. Held: Where a petitioning member of the armed forces fails to remain continuously stationed in Washington for ninety days after filing the petition pursuant to R.C.W. § 26.09.030, the superior court is without jurisdiction to enter a decree of dissolution. In re Marriage of Ways, 85 Wn. 2d 693, 538 P.2d 1225 (1975).

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