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Divorce in Washington Guide

This guide briefly discusses the forms and instructions you will need to use to file for divorce in Washington State.  Visit either of the following web sites for definitions of the terms used here:

General Information

If you would like an overview of divorce, click on one of the links below.


Laws concerning divorce (dissolution) procedures are found primarily in RCW 26.09.  Since filing for divorce often means making arrangements for many other issues such as child support, living arrangements for children and spousal support, you may also need to review additional laws in RCW 26.  You will also need to follow the applicable Washington State Court Rules and any local court rules for the county in which you file.


Washington State uses mandatory pattern forms for divorce.  These can be found on the web with and without instructions. The official source for these pattern forms is the forms section of the web site for the Washington State Courts.  Here you will find divorce forms arranged in the order they are filed in a typcial divorce.  Most are available in both MS Word and PDF formats so you may fill them out online or print them and fill them out by hand.

Washington Lawhelp provides a full set of guides covering typical divorce procedures.  These are located together under the section Family Law - Dissolution of Marrige (Divorce).  These guides include the mandatory pattern forms mentioned above and detailed instructions.  They are available in PDF format only so you will need to print them and fill them out by hand.  If your situation qualifies and you are comfortable using a computer to complete online forms, Washington LawHelp also has the following online interactive guides for divorce:

Books in the Public Law Library

Washington Family Law Deskbook, shelved at KF 505 Z99 W36 2000 REF. This 3-volume set contains detailed information about marriage, divorce, and child custody matters. It is a good source for discussions of the law and of the policies that underlie the law. It also briefly addresses guardianships, parentage, non-marital couples, and domestic violence. 

Washington Community Property Deskbook, shelved at KF 526 .W38. This publication examines the ownership of property by married people in Washington. It details the basics of characterizing property as "his-hers-ours" and includes a discussion of creditor's rights and tax considerations.

Washington Practice, shelved at KFW 80 .W3 RES. Volumes 19 to 22 of this invaluable resource cover Family and Community Property Law. Here you will find detailed and technical discussions of all aspects of family law.

Help For King County Residents

King County Family Law Facilitators: The Family Law Facilitators, located in Room W382 in the King County Courthouse and Room 3D in the Maleng Regional Justice Center, can provide:

  • Instructions and/or packets of forms for all family law cases and motions except paternity.
  • Information on court rules and procedures
  • Forms review to make sure they are complete.

We encourage you to have all your paperwork reviewed prior to filing. You can obtain forms and instructions any time between 8:30 and 12:00 noon and 1:00-4:00.  You can meet with a Facilitator during walk in hours every morning from 9:30 am to 12:00 noon, and from 2:15-4:00 Monday and Thursday in Kent and Wednesday and Friday in Seattle. Note that walk in hours are on a first come first serve basis so we recommend coming early as spots fill up fast. The facilitators cannot give legal advice. The Facilitators have also made their family law instructions available online at their website. If you have questions about their services you can reach the facilitators offices at 206-477-2553 for Seattle and 206-477-2781 in Kent.

Help For Washington Residents 

Legal Voice (formerly known as Northwest Women's Law Center): This non-profit agency provides classes, publications, and referrals for women and men living in the Northwest. 206-621-7691

CLEAR (Coordinated Legal Education, Advice, and Referral): CLEAR is Northwest Justice Project's innovative statewide toll-free telephone service for low-income people to obtain free legal assistance with civil legal problems in Washington state. The hotline operates between 9:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.  Monday through Friday.

CLEAR Sr. is a similar project which serves people age 60 and over regardless of their financial situation.

  • CLEAR - 1-888-201-1014
  • CLEAR Sr. (60 and over) - 1-888-387-7111

Links: 07.22.15




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