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Washington Divorce Laws

The Basics of Washington's 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 state resident wait for a period of 90 days after petition is filed. The state only allows "irretrievable breakdown" (no-fault) as the grounds for a divorce.

How to Get Divorced in Washington State

It is not necessary to find legal fault in the other partner when seeking a divorce in Washington, as the state only allows for no-fault divorce. But you still need to follow certain procedures in order to get divorced. The partner filing for the divorce, or the plaintiff, must provide the following information when petitioning the court for a divorce:

  • Last known state of residence of each party (last known county of residence if in Washington)
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Whether the parties are legally separated (and date of separation, if applicable)
  • Names and ages of any dependent children, and whether a partner is pregnant
  • Any domestic/residential arrangements made between the two parties
  • Statement regarding community or separate property
  • Relief sought (spousal support)

The same information will be needed in order to dissolve a domestic partnership as well.

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
Residency Requirements Plaintiff must be a resident or a member of armed forces stationed in state.
Waiting Period 90 days must elapse from point of filing petition; decree is final subject to right of appeal. 26.09.150
'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.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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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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