Divorce in Washington – Your Complete Guide

divorce in washington state
Worthy Staff

By Worthy Staff | Jul 31st, 2019

While the divorce can be overwhelming, knowing what to expect can ease your worries and help you streamline the process. Washington is a no-fault divorce state, with simpler laws and processes than are found in some other states. Let’s get started.

Basic Divorce Proceedings in Washington State

To file for divorce in Washington state, you and/or your spouse must live in the state and plan to stay there, or one of you must be in the military, and must be stationed in Washington for at least 90 days after the divorce petition is filed and served.

Either party may opt to file for divorce even if the other does not want a divorce. There is no need to prove grounds for divorce in Washington. Simply believing that the marriage is irreparably broken is enough.

In most cases, the divorce is final 90 days after the original petition is filed and served.

Any argument over important issues such as the division of property and debt, whether alimony should be provided, whether child support should be provided, and/or child custody and visitation issues can lengthen divorce proceedings.

Do I Need a Lawyer For a Washington Divorce?

You can obtain a divorce decree without a lawyer since the judge is the one who makes the final decision concerning the division of property, child custody, visitation, and other important issues.

Because it is important to protect your rights, you may want to speak to a lawyer even if you and your spouse are agreeable right now. Things can get complicated when a disagreement occurs and this can lead to problems later in life, such as a loss of entitlement to a pension plan.

There are a few cases in which a lawyer is necessary for divorces in Washington. You should at least consult with a lawyer if any of the following circumstances exist:

Because Washington is a community property state, everything that is obtained by one spouse is considered to belong to the other spouse as well. This is true even if only one spouse’s name is listed on the title. A lawyer can help ensure that you receive just and equitable division of both property and debt.

Does Washington Offer Legal Help for Divorce?

Many lawyers offer reduced rates for consultations, so you can at least have your case reviewed before making decisions about the filing process. If you think you need a lawyer but you cannot afford one, you may be able to obtain help from a volunteer lawyer, or you may be able to ask the judge to appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL), Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Some counties offer these services free of charge, while other counties charge a fee.

The state of Washington is unique in offering a service called CLEAR, which is a toll-free advice and referral program for people who have low incomes, and who are looking for free legal assistance. If you live in King County, you can call 211 and ask for referral to a legal services provider on weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. If you live outside King County, you should call 1-888-201-1014 for this service between the hours of 9:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Those who need assistance with communication because of hearing or speech impairment may use the relay service of their choice to make the necessary call. If you need an interpreter, 211 and CLEAR will conference one in at no charge.

If you are 60 or over, this service is available to you regardless of income or location. You may call CLEAR*SR at 1888-387-7111 for more information.

The state of Washington offers many printable forms and other helpful resources online as well.

Insights From Jumping In: Dating After Divorce in 2019

In 2019, Worthy conducted a study on how divorce women approach divorce and dating in today’s world.

Age of Today’s Divorced Woman
Of the women we surveyed, 42% divorced between the ages of 35-44 and 28% between 45-54, indicating that midlife is the most common time for marriages to break up. Only 9% divorced after the age of 55 and the younger women, 34 and under, made up 22%.

Divorce Proceedings in the 21st Century
We asked our participants to share what legal processes they were familiar with for divorce. Litigation (53%) and mediation (48%) were at the top of the list but many were also familiar with alternative routes such as low-conflict collaborative divorce (25%). Services like working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst are much less well-known (5%).

Divorce Finances 101
When it came to the big issues, the majority of women felt sufficiently informed to make decisions. This included issues like health insurance (60%) and the marital house (56%). However, when it came to issues outside of the immediate household, such as taxes, the participants felt less informed.Reusable Block

Dating After Divorce
Dating is at the forefront of many divorcees’ minds. 78% of the women have already started thinking about dating by the time the divorce papers are signed. 40% of women feel confident about dating after divorce, 68% feel excited and hopeful. 59% of divorced women meet dates on online dating websites or apps.

Getting Divorced in
Washington The Easier Way

Divorce can be a complicated, draining and expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to file for an uncontested divorce in Washington, do it the easy way with our friends at It’s Over Easy, the only online divorce solution that guides you through every aspect of your case, founded by celebrity divorce lawyer Laura A. Wasser. 

“After practicing Family Law for over 20 years I came to realize that people deserve a better way to get divorced. I founded It’s Over Easy to give people a high-quality, less expensive & more amicable option. Our platform takes the user through the entire dissolution process. We provide information and support along the way through our content on our Insights Blog, the Divorce Sucks! Podcast and The Index, our curated professional and lifestyle resource guide. Divorce is difficult but the legal part shouldn’t have to be.” 
–Laura A. Wasser


Here are some helpful divorce resources for Washington: 

Focus Area OrganizationWebsite

National Association of
Divorce Professionals


Certified Divorced


Association of
Financial Planners



Divorce process guide for main US states

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice on any subject matter. Consult with an attorney for more information regarding your individual situation.

Worthy Staff

Worthy Staff

The Worthy Blog is a place for inspiration, insight, and advice for all things surrounding life's greatest transitions - divorce, losing a loved one, retirement, and so much more. You can find us on our blog, Instagram, and Facebook.


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