Washington State No-Fault Divorce Laws


Washington state no-fault divorce laws set forth the procedures utilized for all divorce cases in the state. Washington law only permits no-fault divorces. Despite the fact that all divorce cases in the state are no-fault, Washington divorce law maintains specific requirements to satisfy to obtain a divorce.

Grounds for Divorce

  • The only grounds for divorce in Washington is a demonstration that the marriage is irretrievably broken. An irretrievably broken marriage occurs when the marital relationship no longer can be mended and there is no realistic hope that the parties can reconcile.


  • Washington no-fault divorce laws' residency requirements differ from those in most other states in the country. While most states require at least one party to reside in the state for a set period of time before a divorce is filed, Washington state law contains no such requirement. Legally, you can pursue a divorce on your first day in the state.

Waiting Period

  • Pursuant to the Washington state no-fault divorce laws, a final divorce decree cannot be granted until 90 days after the date the respondent is served with divorce papers. The waiting period must run even if the parties enter into a settlement agreement.

Hearing or Trial

  • Even if both spouses reach a final settlement of all issues arising out of the no-fault divorce, at least one of them must appear at a final divorce hearing. Under Washington divorce laws, the judge asks the spouse present at the hearing basic questions about the marriage, resolution of the case and the desire to terminate the marriage. Both parties are free to attend the hearing.

    If the issues between the parties are not resolved, the court schedules the case for a trial at which the spouses present relevant evidence. Evidence regarding fault directed at the issue of dissolving the marriage is not relevant. Evidence pertaining to other issues--child custody, division of property and related matters--is relevant at a trial in a Washington no-fault divorce case.


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