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Washington Divorce Laws

Just as state laws regulate marriage, there are legal requirements for divorce as well. These include residency requirements, the grounds for a "no-fault" divorce, waiting periods, and more. In order to get a divorce in Washington, the plaintiff (the partner filing for divorce) must be a Washington resident. The state only allows "irretrievable breakdown" (no-fault) as the grounds for divorce.

This article provides a brief overview of divorce laws in the state of Washington.

Divorce Laws in Washington: At a Glance

The main provisions of Washington's divorce laws are explained below. See FindLaw's Divorce section to learn more, including Eligibility for Summary Divorce and Settlement Agreements and Court Approval.

Code Section

 § 26.09.030 et seq. of the Revised Code of Washington

Residency Requirements

The plaintiff must be a resident or a member of the armed forces stationed in the state

Waiting Period

90 days must elapse from point of filing the petition and service thereon; the decree is final subject to the right of appeal

'No-Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Irretrievable breakdown

Defenses to a Divorce Filing


Other Grounds for Divorce


Note: State laws are constantly changing and divorces can be very complicated, especially where there are large assets to be divided, and custody of children is a factor. It is in your best interest to contact a Washington divorce attorney as well as to conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Washington Legal Requirements for Divorce: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Your Divorce in Washington

Divorce can be tough, both legally and emotionally. But here's the good news: you can have a legal advocate on your side, fighting for your best interests. Contact a skilled local divorce lawyer who can answer your questions about Washington divorce laws and represent you in negotiations or court proceedings.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

Get tailored divorce advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


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