Divorce Lawyers for Men

Washington Divorce Process

The Process of Divorce in Washington State

Learn the Steps to Ending a Marriage in Washington


The Road Traveled in a Typical Dissolution of Marriage can be Winding.


We know that navigating the Divorce Process in Washington State is a challenge.

To help, we’ve created this easy-to-follow infographic that maps each turn and straightaway on the Divorce Highway.

You can find more detailed information about How to File for Divorce here; as well as information on what to do if Your Wife Files for Divorce by clicking here.

Click on the infographic to enlarge and zoom. Enjoy!


Washington State Divorce Process Infographic

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The Divorce Process in Washington State

This is the road traveled in a “typical” Dissolution of Marriage.

For detailed descriptions and step-by-step instructions visit our Washington Divorce Process page.

For Military Divorce information visit the Military Divorce section of our website.


1) Determine Jurisdiction

Determines in which state and county court you can file for a divorce. It is usually the county in which one of the parties resides.


2) Identify the Parties

The parties to the divorce are the husband and the wife, the Petitioner and the Respondent.


2a) The Petitioner

The party who starts the divorce by filing and serving the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.


2b) The Respondent

The other spouse who was served with the Petition and files a Response.


3) Service of Documents

Having the Petition handed to the Petitioner’s spouse.


4) Filing a Response

The document stating what the Respondent wants in the divorce.


5) Establishing Temporary Orders

You may file a motion with the court requesting a Temporary Order to control child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support (alimony), possession of property, and payment of bills.


6) Required Parent Education Classes

All divorcing parents of minor children must attend a parenting education course within 60 days of the service of the petition.


7) Discovery Phase

This phase is several legal processes by which you both obtain information from, and provide information to, your spouse about issues raised.


Related Article: Why Do I Need an Attorney?


8) Participate in Mediation

A formal negotiation to resolve the disputed issues in the divorce with the assistance of a professional mediator before going to trial.


9) Move Forward with a Trial

If you are unable to resolve all issues in your divorce, you will have to go to trial and have a judge decide the issues for you.


10) Coming to a Settlement

If you and your spouse resolve all issues prior to trial, you can settle your case. You will present a written settlement agreement to the court. If approved, your divorce will be finalized without a trial.


Final Documents

The Parenting Plan

States the residential care (child custody and visitation) and support.


The Decree of Dissolution of Marriage

This is the final document that sets forth all of the terms and details of the divorce through settlement or court order.


More Helpful Divorce Resources

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