Divorce papers in Washington — filing for divorce in WA

Online divorce in Washington

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How to get divorce in Washington

Online Divorce provides qualitative and approved by Washington courts divorce papers. The information below may help to understand more about the divorce in Washington. onlinedivorce.com provides quick and inexpensive services of online divorce in Washington.
The key conditions to get a divorce in Washington are


Divorce in Washington is usually called dissolution of marriage. One of the most basic conditions for ending a marriage should be that marriage is legal. In other words, marriage is recognized in the eyes of the law of Washington state.


Either spouse must be residents of the state.


Washington state law has no-fault ground for divorce, which means that the marriage is considered irretrievably broken and there is no need to prove in court that the spouse made a serious mistake that led to a break in relations. However, if the court sees at least some opportunity to restore marital relations, then by all means it will facilitate the reconciliation of the spouses.


All the issues of the property division, spousal support, child custody, visitation, and support must be solved by the spouses or by the court during the divorce process.


The Washington divorce papers must be filled out.


As soon as all the Washington divorce papers are ready, they must be filed to the court and the copies must be sent to the Respondent (meaning, the non-filing spouse).


In order to be able to file for divorce in Washington, either spouse must be resident of the state. Unlike most states, Washington does not oblige spouses to reside in the state for a certain period of time before filing a lawsuit. Also, the court will take into account the voter registration, driver's license or postal address to determine the main place of leaving.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Washington

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To file for divorce in Washington is only possible on the basis of no-fault grounds. This means that the relationship between partners is irretrievably broken and there is no opportunity to restore marital relations.


If one of the spouses does not agree with the grounds for divorce, then the court will consider all the circumstances that led to the fact that the spouse wants to dissolve the marriage, and will also consider any opportunities for reconciliation.

If the court is convinced that the relationship is really irretrievably broken and there is no chance of trying on, then the divorce in Washington will be granted fairly quickly. If after analyzing all the factors the court comes to the conclusion that there is a chance for the resumption of relations, then by all legal means it will facilitate the propitiation of the spouses and the restoration of the marriage relations.

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Annulment of the marriage in Washington

As in many states in Washington, one way to terminate a marriage can be an annulment, also it is called "declaration of invalidity." Annulment is not applied to all marriages, but only in cases where, in fact, marriage does not exist in the eyes of state law. This means that Washington does not recognize this marriage, since it was concluded with violations of state regulations. Such marriages include marriages that are concluded where:

  • One of the spouses has not reached the age that is authorized by the state for marriage;
  • Spouses are blood relatives to each other, for example, parent and child, marriage and sister, etc.
  • At one of the spouses at the time of registration of the marriage there is already a living spouse and their marriage is still not terminated;
  • One of the spouses was too drunk or mentally ill and could not give his or her consent for the marriage;
  • One of the spouses was forced to marry by coercion or by means of swindling;
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Custody of the child in Washington

Custody of the child

With a divorce in the state of Washington, the court is guided by the best interests of the child. Similarly, when deciding on custody, the court obliges parents to provide a parenting plan that must be attached to divorce form documents. The parenting plan is designed to provide the best support for emotional growth, the health and stability of the child, as well as physical assistance in the upbringing of the child. Each parent must provide his/her plan, which will describe:

  • Ways to ensure physical care for the child;
  • Supporting the emotional level of the child;
  • Satisfaction of the basic needs of the child in the process of his or her development;
  • Distribution of responsibilities between parents;
  • Ways to minimize the child's participation in the conflicts of the parents;
  • Choosing a place to stay;
  • Ways to overcome disagreements between parents when making important decisions regarding the upbringing of the child;
  • The schedule of the child's stay with each parent;

If the parents do not agree with the parenting plan, then the court will independently decide on all of the above issues and will oblige parents to follow new plan. In the same way, parents can supplement or change some points in the parenting plan by submitting an application to the court with arguments for any changes.

Despite the fact that the divorce in the state of Washington is granted on the basis of no-fault grounds, nevertheless such facts as physical, emotional or sexual violence in the family, deliberate abandonment affect the decision regarding custody. So if one of the parents was guilty of one of the above fault grounds, then the court for such a parent can significantly reduce the time of the child's visit or prohibit seeing the child at all. If in the family has had a place of violence or the spouse has intentionally left the family for a long time, it should be indicated in the Washington divorce papers in order to provide the child with the most comfortable conditions for upbringing

Rules for child support in Washington

With a divorce in Washington, the court obliges both spouses to support their minor children born in wedlock. The formula for calculating financial assistance to a child is used on the basis of the Income Shares Model. The basic parameters of the formula are the monthly income of parents, the number of children and their age from 0 to 11 years, or from 12 to 18. Thus, if the total income of parents is $ 8,600 per month, and in the family there are 3 minor children under 11 years of age, then the amount of financial support will be $ 758.

Not always parents will pay in equal shares the amount of financial support for the child. When calculating the amount of financial support, the court will also calculate the share of each parent in the amount of financial support for the child, based on the level of the monthly income of each partner.

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Rules for spousal support in Washington

Rules for spousal support

Typically, alimony is paid to the spouse who needs financial assistance after the divorce so that he or she does not live in poverty after the marriage is terminated. In many cases, the spouses can agree on the amount of alimony and the time of their payment, but if the couple can not come to an agreement, then the court will make a fair decision after analyzing a number of factors, which include:

  • Financial opportunities and resources of a spouse who needs support;
  • The standard of living to which the spouses are accustomed during the marriage;
  • The time and resources needed for a needy spouse to acquire skills that will help find a satisfactory job;
  • Duration of marriage;
  • Age, level of physical and mental health of the requesting spouse;
  • Debt obligations of the requesting spouse;
  • The financial resources and resources of the spouse who will pay alimony;

These are the main factors that the court will consider when making a decision on alimony. So if there was a physical abuse in the family or a spouse made an adultery that led to the desire to file a divorce, these circumstances will still not be considered by the court, since Washington is no-fault state.

Property division in Washington

Property division

Washington is a community property state. Under state law, all property that was acquired in marriage is a common property and must be divided in half after the dissolution of the marriage. In a private conversation, the spouses can agree independently about how exactly the community property should be shared.

If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, then the court can make its decision.
It's typically required to specify all the property that was acquired by the parties during the marriage as accurately as possible. Debts are considered to be the part of the property too.
Private property - this is what was acquired by the spouses before the marriage. 

Divorce without a lawyer in Washington

Cases, when a divorce is made without the participation of a lawyer, are called Pro Se Divorce, it is a Latin expression that translates as "on her or his own". A divorce without the participation of a lawyer is completely legal and is subject to execution in any state. If the spouses have come to the agreement of a division of property and custody of children, then it may be rather convenient to initiate the Pro Se Divorce.

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Contested Divorce
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Offline and inconvenient process with attorney representation for each spouse. Costly attorney fees resulting in unpredictable expenditures. Overall lenghty and expensive way to go.
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Mediation support in Washington

Any spouse can self-request the help of mediators whose job is to reconcile the spouses and help them to reach a consensus on the contentious issues during the divorce in Washington.

Divorce forms in Washington

To file for a divorce in the state of Washington, courts require spouses to fill out a number of documents which will vary depending on the circumstances of the divorce case. The main documents to be submitted to the court are: "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage", "Summons", "Confidential Information Form", and "Vital Statistics Form". On the Washington state courts website, all the different forms can be found online. 
Online Divorce offers the service of preparation of the divorce forms, in order to make an uncontested divorce easier and faster. 

Uncontested divorce in Washington

Uncontested divorce in Washington

In Washington as well as in many states there is a simplified form of divorce or as it is also called: uncontested divorce in Washington. This type of divorce is much cheaper and faster because it assumes that the spouses have come to a common decision on all issues that are related to divorce, including custody, alimony, property division, the amount of financial support for underage children, and so on.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement on even one issue then the divorce case is contested, so the spouses probably have to go through the trial.

How to serve divorce papers in Washington

After all the divorce form documents are filled in and handed over to the court, the next step is to notify the other party the divorce proceeding providing him or her with the copies of all the needed Washington divorce papers. Also, the spouses have an opportunity to fill out the "Joinder to the Petition" together, and, therefore, not to deliver the papers.

There are several ways to deliver the copies of divorce paperwork to the Respondent:

  • sheriff service; 
  • private service of serving; 
  • service by publication. 

Divorce might be granted after 90 days after that, if there are no any disputes.


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Filing fees for divorce in Washington

Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using OnlineDivorce.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.