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Residency Requirements for a Washington Divorce
Washington has its own dissolution of marriage laws regarding who is eligible to file for a divorce. Each state protects its jurisdiction and makes sure the appropriate laws are applied to the appropriate cases. To prevent your case from being dismissed, make sure you meet the Washington residency requirements. The most common mistake people make is believing they must divorce in the state in which they were married. This is simply not true. Most divorce cases throughout the United States are filed in the county in which the filing spouse resides.

Washington Filing Requirements: In order to file for a dissolution of marriage in Washington, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. If the court discovers it does not have jurisdictional rights to hear the case it will not be accepted or it will eventually be dismissed. The requirements are as follows:

When a party who (1) is a resident of this state, or (2) is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in this state, or (3) is married to a party who is a resident of this state or who is a member of the armed forces and is stationed in this state.

Petitions for a dissolution of marriage, and alleges that the marriage is irretrievably broken will not be acted upon by the court until 90 days has elapsed since the filing and the service of summons on the respondent. (Revised Code of Washington - Title 26 - Chapters: 26.09.010, 26.09.030)

Copyright Notice: The above synopsis of Washington residency requirements for divorce is original material which is owned an copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This material has been adapted from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. Violation of this notice will result in immediate legal action.

If you discover that you DO NOT meet at least one of the above residency requirements, you can consider the following 4 options:

1. Do not proceed with a divorce and attempt to save your marriage.
2. Establish residency in Washington for the period time set forth above (this does not mean you have to wait to begin the process of getting your documents).
3. Have your spouse do the filing if he or she meets the necessary residency requirements for Washington.
4. Choose another state in which you or your spouse may meet the residency requirements (all state residency laws are unique, so be sure to check the state in which you were married as a potential option).

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