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Washington Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Washington divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
How much is the filing fee in Washington? 1586
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The fee for filing for divorce in Washington is currently $314.00.
Does it matter which spouse files for divorce? 4
The spouse that files for divorce is the Petitioner. The other spouse automatically becomes the Respondent.

When one spouse lives in Washington, but the other spouse lives outside of Washington, choosing to have the non-Washington resident file for divorce eliminates potential jurisdictional problems because by filing for divorce in Washington, the non-resident spouse is consenting to the jurisdiction of the Washington courts.

When both spouses reside in Washington, the Washington courts will almost always have jurisdiction regardless of which spouse files for divorce.
What is considered to be the date of separation in Washington? 647
The term "separation date" sometimes refers to the date when the spouses stopped living at... more
What are the Washington residency requirements for filing for divorce? 1151
You can file for divorce in Washington if one spouse is:
  • a resident of Washington
  • a member of the armed forces and is stationed in Washington
  • married to someone who is a resident of Washington or
  • married to someone who is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in Washington
For more informaton, see RCW 26.09.030
How do I file my DivorceWriter documents? 5
DivorceWriter prepares Washington state divorce documents for easy filing by mail. After the customer completes the online interview, DivorceWriter sends the completed documents to the customer with instructions for filing by mail.
Where do I file my divorce? 3787
Washington is the only state where residents can file in any county regardless of where they live. DivorceWriter procedures are designed for filing by mail in Lincoln County, Washington, because it allows you to file all documents at once and without appearing in court. One-step filing means you have nothing else to do after mailing your paperwork. The Court will send you a Final Decree signed by your judge, usually within two weeks after the 90-day required waiting period has passed.
What if I can't afford the filing fee? 3741
Generally, it is very hard to qualify for a waiver of the divorce filing fee. Unless you are already on government assistance and/or have an annual income that falls at least 125% below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Povery Guidelines, it is unlikely that the judge will grant a waiver of the filing fee. Information on the HHS Poverty Guidelines for the current year is available here.

The judge may consider deferring (postponing) your payment of the fee until later, but this means you will still be required to pay the entire filing fee plus an additional amount later. If you think your income is low enough to meet the requirements for a waiver of the filing fee, you may send a request for the fee waiver documents to info@DivorceWriter.com.

While DivorceWriter will provide the fee waiver forms free of charge, we cannot assist you in attempting to obtain a fee waiver or fee deferral.
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in Washington? 1155
The Judge can sign the Decree 90 days after the date the divorce was filed. You will usually receive your signed Decree in the mail two (2) weeks after the 90-day waiting period has passed.
How do I file for a filing fee waiver in Washington State? 3820
If you want to ask the Court to waive the filing fee in your dissolution case, when you file your DivorceWriter documents by mail, also include a 5-page form called a Motion and Declaration For Waiver of Civil Filing Fees and Surcharges, which includes a Financial Statement form that each spouse must complete and sign as well as an Order for the Court to use to indicate whether the fee waiver request was granted.

Then, mail in everything along with a $30.00 money order or cashier's check for the presentation fee (aka ex parte fee). The $30.00 ex parte fee cannot be waived. The Court Clerk will notify you if the judge does not grant the waiver of the filing fee. If this happens, the Petitioner must submit a $314.00 money order or cashier's check before the Court Clerk's office will could file your dissolution papers. Note: If the Respondent does not complete and sign his or her own Financial Statement, the Judge will not consider your fee waiver request.
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What is maintenance/alimony? 9
These terms refer to spousal support paid by one spouse for the benefit of the other spouse. In uncontested divorces, spouses reach their own agreement regarding the amount of spousal support/alimony, if any, that one spouse will receive from the other.

Additional information on the duty to support is available here.
How is child support calculated in Washington? 22
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information can be found here.
Is child support required in Washington? 21
Yes. Even when parents agree to very little or no child support, courts may reject the terms because parents have a duty to support their children both before and after a divorce.

Additional information on the duty to support is available here.
What to consider in calculating maintenance? 11
In uncontested divorces, spouses reach their own agreement regarding the amount of spousal support/alimony, if any, that one spouse will receive from the other. The following are common statutory factors that the court would consider in calculating alimony:
  • Financial resources of each party
  • Work experience and earning prospects of each spouse, including consideration for the time required for one spouse to obtain training for becoming employed or self-supporting
  • Age and physical and emotional conditions of each party
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Standard of living established during the marriage
What if my spouse and I have agreed to an amount different from the standard Washington Child Support Guidelines calculation? 23
Information on deviating from the standard Washington Child Support Guidelines calculation is available here.
Can a child support order be modified at some point in the future? 24
Information on the child support modification process in Washington can be found here.
Where can I go for additional information on child support? 138
Additional information on child support is available at: RCW 26.19 and Social and Health Services.
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Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate? 597
The DivorceWriter online interview allows customers to list not only the street address, c... more
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What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? 733
If your spouse is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return ... more
What if one spouse is in the military? 803
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in t... more
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