Everything You Need To Know About Divorce Cost in Washington State
Divorce can be expensive. Here’s everything you need to know about the cost of divorce in Washington state.
The cost of divorce ranges in Washington state based on whether a divorce is uncontested or contested. Both divorces are usually expensive because of mandatory fees. Washington state may waive these fees if parties demonstrate a need for a waiver.
Divorce in Washington State
Washington is a no-fault divorce state. In Washington state, spouses do not need to provide a reason for ending their marriage.
Requirements for Divorce in Washington State
If spouses agree their marriage is “irretrievably broken,” a Washington state judge can grant a divorce after a 90-day waiting period after a party:
- Files for divorce, and
- Serves their spouse with legal notice of divorce.
If spouses disagree their marriage is “irretrievably broken,” a Washington state judge will consider all relevant factors in deciding to award the divorce.
A Washington state judge may take the following action:
- Decide the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and grant the divorce,
- Transfer the case to family court,
- Refer the couple to a counseling service of their choice, or
- Ask the counseling service to report back within sixty days to hold a later hearing.
Residency Requirement for Divorce in Washington State
Parties can file for divorce in Washington if:
- Either spouse lives in Washington,
- One spouse is in the military and stationed in Washington, or
- One spouse will be stationed in Washington for at least 90 days after filing and serving the divorce.
Types of Divorce in Washington State
A contested divorce in Washington state means spouses do not mutually agree on divorce terms, and the divorce will settle in court. In comparison, an uncontested divorce in Washington state means the spouses settle outside of court and agree on all of the divorce terms. As compared to a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce is more efficient and less expensive.
Uncontested Divorce Cost in Washington State
An uncontested divorce in Washington state ranges between $500 and $700, including the $300+ court filing fee.
Contested Divorce Cost in Washington State
A contested divorce can be costly. The cost is difficult to predict because costs depend on the issues parties choose to fight. The harder either party fights, the more hours their attorney bills, leading to the increased cost of the case.
Parties are responsible for all filing and mandatory fees on top of their lawyer’s cost.
How to Ask a Washington State Court to Waive Divorce Filing Fee
Parties can file to waive the divorce filing fee if they cannot afford it. A Washington state judge will look at the party’s financial information and decide if they qualify for a waiver under Washington Courts’ General Rule 34.
Resources for Parties without Divorce Lawyers in Washington State
Parties who cannot afford a lawyer but wish for a judge to decide child custody can ask a judge to appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to investigate the situation and report to the court in the child’s best interest. Some counties may provide a guardian ad litem free of charge to litigants, so parties should research what their specific county provides.
FAQs about How Much a Divorce Costs in Washington State
Who qualifies for a fee waiver in a Washington state divorce?
Washington Courts’ General Rule 34 prohibits the court from charging a filing fee or other mandatory fees to indigent parties who apply for a waiver.
Parties who qualify as indigent may:
- Receives public benefits including TANF, SSI, Food Stamps, etc.,
- Has an income at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, or
- Large regular basic living expenses keep them from paying the filing fee and/or other necessary charges.
How do I file for a fee waiver in a Washington state Divorce?
The process of filing for a fee waiver has to participate in an “interview.” The online interview will ask questions and use the parties’ answers to complete the necessary forms. Parties who do not want to fill out the forms online can use this printable packet.