Uncontested Divorce in Washington State: The Ultimate Guide


Filing for an uncontested divorce is an option for couples looking for a quick and stress-free termination of marriage in Washington State. In this article, we will review the basic requirements for divorcing spouses and present the steps they must go through to finalize the process.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce in Washington state is a divorce in which both spouses agree on all key issues, such as property division, child custody, and support, without the need for court intervention. This uncontested process is generally quicker and more cost-effective than a contested divorce.

Who Qualifies for an Uncontested Divorce?

To proceed with an uncontested case, spouses must meet the residency requirements and agree on all the divorce terms. Their list includes but is not limited to:

  • Division of assets, liabilities, and debts.
  • Determination of child custody and child support proportions.
  • Decision on alimony, etc.

You don’t have to live in the state for a certain period to start the divorce process. To meet the local requirements, you or your spouse need to be a state resident when the petition is submitted to the court. In addition, there is no mandatory separation period for filing for divorce in Washington. You mustn’t reside apart to initiate marriage dissolution or indicate living without cohabitation as its reason. The only ground for divorce in the state is an irretrievably broken marriage.

However, meeting these residency requirements may not be sufficient if your spouse has never lived in Washington or if you have minor children together. The court will have jurisdiction over your case if the other party resides in the state when the documents are filed with the clerk’s office, lived here during your marriage, or you still live in Washington. For a judge to rule on child-related issues, your kids must have lived in the state for at least 6 months, or Washington should be their home before moving.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Washington Uncontested Divorce?

The average duration of an uncontested divorce in the state is from 3 to 4 months. Considering that Washington has a mandatory 90-day waiting period spouses have to complete before finalizing the divorce, the case will remain open at least until it expires.

Often, uncontested marriage dissolutions may take longer than 90 days. In agreed cases, the timeline mainly depends on the court’s workload.

How to Start an Uncontested Divorce in WA?

To start the divorce process in Washington State, you must prepare and file the paperwork with the county court clerk’s office. You can hire an attorney or choose a DIY divorce; Washington State does not require the involvement of a family lawyer in the proceedings. Here are the basic steps you need to take to get an uncontested dissolution of marriage.

Step 1. Preparing the Divorce Forms

To file with the court, you should determine what papers you need and fill them out. Even in an uncontested divorce, the Washington State forms that may be required can vary greatly from case to case. Typically, you should complete a Petition for Divorce and a Confidential Information form; if you do not have disputes regarding the divorce terms, you and your spouse can sign the petition together. The list of other necessary paperwork will depend on case-specific circumstances and may include an Attachment to Confidential Information, a Washington State Child Support Schedule, etc.

Step 2. Filing Your Divorce Forms

After you prepare the papers, you must file them with the court clerk’s office and pay the mandatory filing fee. If your spouse signs a Petition for Divorce or completes an Agreement to Join Petition or Service Accepted form and attaches it to the divorce paperwork, Washington State laws will not require a Proof of Personal Service. In addition, you should submit a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope to the clerk’s office to receive return documents indicating the case number, hearing dates, if scheduled, or copies of the final decision.

Step 3. Completing an Uncontested Divorce

When granting a dissolution of marriage, Washington court will most likely not require setting a hearing, provided you have settled the disputes independently. The judge will review your agreements and sign the Divorce Decree if they have no questions or objections.

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?

In case of an uncontested divorce, Washington State cost of the procedure ranges from $350 to $500 on average but can be higher and reach up to $1,000-$3,000 if spouses have a large amount of property that needs to be evaluated, should complete parenting classes to finalize the process, decide to involve an attorney, etc.

The bulk of expenses on a full-agreement divorce consists of the mandatory court fee, which is $314, according to RCW 36.18.020 and RCW 36.18.016. If a petitioner has a low income and cannot afford it, they can file a Motion and Declaration for Waiver of Civil Fees and Surcharges with the court to ask the judge to exempt them from paying it.

You can get a quick and cheap divorce in Washington State in several ways. If you have an uncontested case, you can prepare for it yourself or use a document preparation service to complete the paperwork quickly and reliably. With its help, you don’t have to spend time searching for the forms on your own; you will receive a ready set of papers required for the case in just a few days. It will most likely cost you less than if you complete the wrong paperwork independently and have to resubmit it to the court.

Is It Possible to File for an Uncontested Divorce Online?

In Washington, divorce online is an option for couples who want to avoid filing documents in person; it is possible to file papers for an uncontested dissolution of marriage through the eFileWA website.

To make the process even faster, you can complete the paperwork using the online document preparation service and then submit the papers yourself through the e-filing system.

Washington does not provide a simplified procedure for couples filing for an uncontested case. However, agreement on the divorce terms between spouses before the start of proceedings is the fastest and cheapest option for terminating marriage in the state.