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Does Washington Have Any State or County Residency Requirement for Filing a Divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2020 | Divorce |

In many states, petitioners must hold residency for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce. Washington is unique in that it imposes no such time period. However, there are certain other residency requirements for seeking a divorce here.

State law requires that the petitioner (the spouse who is filing for divorce) be one of the following:

  • A resident of Washington, even if they’ve only just moved here
  • A member of the armed forces stationed in this state
  • Married to a person who is a resident of this state or to a member of the armed forces stationed in this state

Petitioners who do not satisfy at least one of these residency requirements have the following options:

  • File for divorce in another state where they satisfy residency requirements.
  • Ask their spouse to file, if the spouse satisfies Washington residency requirements.
  • Establish residency in Washington by taking an action that shows they intend to live in the state. For example, a petitioner could rent a local apartment for personal use or register to vote in Washington.

In addition, there is a county residency requirement. The petition for a dissolution of marriage must be filed with the county where the petitioner lives. and while there is no set minimum period of residence, the court will not act on a divorce petition until 90 days have elapsed since the date of filing.

There are other requirements for filing a divorce petition. Because Washington is a no-fault divorce state, a petitioner need only assert that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. No grounds for divorce need to be alleged or proved. However, the following information must be provided in the petition:

  • The date and location of marriage
  • Whether the spouses are legally separated
  • The date of separation, if applicable
  • The names and ages of any dependent children
  • The last known state of residence for each spouse
  • The last known county of residence for spouses residing in Washington
  • Any living arrangements made between the spouses
  • A statement about community or separate property to be allocated
  • A statement that spousal support is being sought

There are also process requirements that must be carefully observed, including the proper service of divorce papers on the other spouse.

For experienced and compassionate guidance in a Washington divorce, please get in touch with Bottimore & Associates, P.L.L.C. in Tacoma. Our legal team has extensive, first-hand experience in filing for divorce in our state. Schedule a consultation by calling 253-272-5653 or by contacting us online.