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Navigating Washington State Divorce Paperwork: Your Essential Guide to Filing for Divorce

If you’re facing a divorce or custody case in Washington state, you’ll need to get acquainted with the proper paperwork.  If you have an attorney, their legal team will put most of the paperwork together based on your input and the documents you provide (i.e. tax documents, credit card statements, etc.).  If you’re planning on the do-it-yourself approach, there are some resources available to help you out.


Getting the Right Paperwork

What paperwork you need depends on the substance of your case and whether or not you are filing or responding to the case.  Most of the paperwork you will need can be found on the Washington Courts website.  Here are some of the forms you will need for a divorce or custody case.

If you’re filing for divorce you will need:

Summons: Notice About a Marriage or Domestic Partnership PDF

The Summons is to tell the other party in the case that they have been named in a case and have the right to respond to the matter.

Petition for Divorce (Dissolution) PDF

The Petition for Divorce outlines the information for the case.  It documents what assets are owned, involvement of children, request for spousal support, etc..  Filing first has some strategic advantages.

If you are responding to the case you will need:

Response to Petition about a Marriage PDF

The Response to Petition is the responding party’s opportunity to identify whether they agree or disagree with what the petitioner has requested in the different sections the Petition for Divorce. If your wife filed first, check out our page on how to respond.

If the case involves children:

Financial Declaration PDF

The Financial Declaration outlines you income and expenses for considerations around spousal support and child support.

Washington State Child Support Schedule PDF

The Child Support Schedule is a set formula used to determine the child support obligation between two parents.

Parenting Plan PDF

The Parenting Plan outlines residential custody and visitation for the children involved in a divorce or custody case.

These are the main pieces of paperwork that you will have to have in dealing with a divorce case. There are more, most of which can be found on the Washington Courts website. Which of the other forms are needed depend on whether or not there is a restraining or protective order associated with the case, confidential information, and a several other situations.

Working with a lawyer will ensure that you have all the correct paperwork, but you can also talk to the county clerk’s office in the county that your case is being filed for some assistance.

If you’re filling out and filing divorce papers on your own, make sure to check the County Clerk’s office website before filing. Each county has different rules and cover sheets that you need to know and comply with.

Some counties also offer classes on family law matters. Depending on which county you live in, packets may be available for you to purchase.

Here is a list of the websites for the County Clerk Offices in Washington:

On top of knowing how to fill out the paperwork, you need to know the process. Learn more about that on our Divorce Process page.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided to help people dealing with divorce or custody issues. This is not legal advice. These are informational resources to help you be better educated in navigating family law matters.

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