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  • Candace E. Duecker, CFP®, CDFA®

An Overview of the Divorce Process in WA State


Researching how to get divorced in WA State.


Filing for divorce in Washington State involves several steps. Here is a general overview of the process:


  1. Meet Residency Requirements: Ensure that either you or your spouse is a resident of Washington State or stationed in Washington as a member of the armed forces.

  2. Prepare Divorce Papers: Complete the necessary forms, including the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and any other required documents related to property, finances, and if applicable, child custody and support.

  3. File the Papers: Submit the completed forms to the county courthouse where you or your spouse resides. Pay the filing fee, or apply for a waiver if you cannot afford it.

  4. Serve Your Spouse: Legally notify your spouse of the divorce filing by serving them with the divorce papers, using an approved method of service.

  5. Respond to the Petition: Your spouse has the opportunity to respond to the petition, agreeing, disagreeing, or requesting modifications to the terms.

  6. Negotiate Settlement: Work towards an agreement on all aspects of the divorce, including asset division, custody, and support. This could include alternative methods, such as collaborative or mediation.

  7. Finalize the Divorce: If you reach an agreement, submit it to the court for approval. If not, the case may go to trial for a judge to decide. Once all issues are resolved, the court will issue a final divorce decree. Note that Washington State has a mandatory 90-day waiting period from the time the divorce is filed and served until it can be finalized.


This overview provides a very basic framework, but divorce can be complex, and the specifics can vary widely based on individual circumstances. It may be beneficial to consult with a legal professional to guide you through the process based on your personal situation. Consulting with a family law attorney or qualified legal professional is advisable to navigate the specific requirements and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.


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