Find Free Washington Divorce Records & Dissolutions of Marriage

Free Washington Divorce Record Search
Find out if someone in Washington is divorced, free of charge.

Access free Washington divorce records with your rights as a citizen to view this public information. This right is provided to you through the Washington Public Records Act.

Under state law, divorce records and related information must be provided to the general public; this information can typically be found for free using online search tools.

With access to these documents, you can learn about the marital history of a friend, neighbor or partner. In addition, these records can serve as a helpful source for performing genealogy searches. Finally, a person may have a business or legal reason for obtaining an official copy of a divorce record.

Use this resource as guidance to help you better understand how to access divorce records in Washington for free. You can also use this article to learn more about the divorce process.

This resource was written by Attorney Robert Bailey Jr, who holds a Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law.

Who Is Able To Access Divorce Information in Washington?

Divorce records in the state of Washington are considered public information and can be accessed by anyone. There is no waiting period for access to these records either, which means a citizen can search for divorce records as soon as they have been finalized. In addition, there does not have to be any legitimate purpose for searching and a citizen can access these records for any reason.

A screenshot of a divorce record that is available statewide, displaying features such as reference number, spouse last name, spouse first name, spouse middle name, decree date, decree type, county of decree, certificate year, and sequence number.
Source: Washington State Archives1

The type of divorce information publicly available in Washington includes the decree, pleadings, docket entries and other related information. Washington General Rule 31 requires the courts to provide access to court records, including divorce cases.

Washington General Rule 31.1 provides procedures to ensure that requests for these types of records are responded to properly and provided to the requester as long as there is no exception provided by federal or state law.

Public access to divorce records includes informational and certified records.2 In some states, only certain qualified individuals can request a certified record, but Washington allows anyone to make this request.

In addition to divorce records, an individual can access divorce rates and related information through the Washington State Department of Health.

The Department of Health provides this information in a few different ways. First, there is a general overview of divorce occurrences by county and year. In addition, you can view divorce rates and counts by a specific county. In the last year in Washington, 43,526 were divorced.

How To View & Obtain Free Washington Divorce Records

If you are looking to perform a free public divorce records search online, you can use the Washington Court’s Unified Case Search Tool.3 To use this tool, first start by selecting “Superior Court” for the Court Level.

This is because Washington Superior Courts are responsible for handling domestic cases and issuing certificates of divorce. Next, you can select to either search by case number or the person’s name.

Once you make the selection to search by case number or name, you will be able to narrow your scope further to divorce records. Under the “Case Type” option, you will want to select domestic cases. If you happen to know the county where the divorce occurred, you can also select the relevant superior court.

Lastly, you will want to enter the divorcee’s name or case number and select a filing date range. Once you conduct your online search, you will see a list of matching cases. The matching cases will contain basic case summary information such as the court and case number and the date the divorce petition was filed.

A screenshot of an online divorce case search result from Washington Courts displaying information such as the parties involved, case number, filing date, court house, case type, and case status.
Source: Washington Courts Online Case Search Portal4

Another tool to access divorce records in the state — if you only have a person’s name — is to use the Washington Court’s name search tool to help gather useful information. This search tool allows you to search by a person’s name to view basic identifying information for a particular case.

Similar to the Unified Case Search Tool, this tool will provide you with the case number, county and court where the case was tried. The search tool will also provide you with the filing date.

A screenshot of a personal name case search result from several district courts in Washington state, featuring the case number, court info, name of the respondent or defendant and the district court where the case is filed.
Source: The Washington Courts5

For both of these search tools, additional docket and case information is only available for open cases. If the case is closed, it is archived and will have to be searched with the specific  Washington Superior Court, which is the custodian of the record.6

A record seeker can use the information obtained with these tools to better direct their search for a particular divorce record either online or at a courthouse.

When searching for divorce records at a courthouse, you should consider starting the process by calling the Clerk of Court to ask them for information on their processes for searching their divorce records.

How To Request a Copy of a Washington State Divorce Record

If you want to obtain a certified copy of a certificate of divorce, you can make a request with the Washington State Department of Health. They can provide any requester with a certified record of divorces from 1968 to the present. The basic cost for a certified or non-certified informational copy is $25.00.

To request a certified divorce record, you will have to provide the names of the people who were divorced. While you can provide one name, it will speed up the process if you can provide both names. You will also need to provide the approximate date when the divorce occurred and the county where the matter was handled.

A citizen can make a request via mail by completing a Divorce Certificate Mail Order Form.7 You can then send the completed form along with the fee and a copy of your government-issued identification to the below address:

Department of Health
Center for Health Statistics
P.O. Box 9709
Olympia, Washington 98507

You can also make a request at any of your local Washington Department of Health locations. You should call the health department location before you go to make sure they have the  specific record you want available.

You can also make a request through an approved third-party vendor, VitalChek. You can do so either online or by phone at 866-687-1464. There are additional costs using this option, and the total fee is $40.50 for a certificate of divorce.

Note: While the Washington State Department of Health provides certificates of divorce, they do not provide the decree. A decree can be requested from the Clerk of the County Superior Court where the divorce was filed and will contain detailed information about the terms of the divorce.  

Searching Washington Counties & Cities for Divorce Records

State tools are a great resource for conducting a broad search for divorce records. However, in certain situations, a citizen may have a need to access divorce information at the county level. Maybe an individual wants to perform a search at the courthouse, or it may be that the county has an easier process for accessing the court records.

Whatever the reasons, it is important to understand the nuances and processes involved when searching for divorce records at the county level. Below is information on how to access divorce records in the three largest counties in Washington.

The largest county in Washington is King. For a quick way to access divorce records, you can use the Records Access Portal provided by the King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office. You can also request a divorce decree by mail or in person at the King County Superior Court.8

You can call the courthouse at 206-296-9300 with any questions you may have. The Superior Court is located at the address below:

King County Courthouse
516 Third Ave., Rm. W382
Seattle, Washington, 98104

A screenshot of the King County Superior Court Case Search Tool, which requires any known information such as case type, case number or pre-1979 case number, last name, first name, middle name, organization name, and filing date; it also requires code typing before hitting the search button.
Source: King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office9

If you cannot find the record you are looking for, you can also search for records with the King County Archives. For questions on accessing their records, you can call them at 206-263-2480 or go to the address below:

King County Archives
1215 East Fir St. 
Seattle, Washington 98122

The second largest county in Washington is Pierce. For divorce records from 1991 to the present, you can search their online database.10 This search tool allows you to access dissolutions and legal separations.

For older divorces, you can submit a request for court records with the Clerk of the Pierce County Superior Court. For these older records, you should first call the Pierce County Clerk at 253-798-6455 to make sure the record is available. For mailed requests or to look up physical records, a person can use the address below:

Pierce County Clerk
ATTN: Records and Copies
930 Tacoma Avenue South, Rm. 110
Tacoma, Washington 98402

The third largest Washington county is Snohomish County. To access divorce records, you can make a request either at the Snohomish County Superior Court or by submitting a request by mail to the Clerk.11 A citizen can contact the Clerk by phone at 423-388-3466 or go to the address below:

Clerk – Snohomish County Superior Court
3000 Rockefeller Ave.
M/S 605, Rm. M206
Everett, Washington 98201

Tracking Down Free Historical Divorce Records Through Washington State Archives

Whether it’s to perform a genealogy search or for some other reason, you may have a need to access historical public divorce records in Washington. A record seeker can search historical information by viewing the records maintained by the Office of the Secretary of State’s Washington State Archives.

An interested individual can use the Washington State Archives online divorce index. The Washington State Archives contains a variety of indexes, so for the Collections drop-down menu, select divorce records. Then, you will want to enter the subject’s name you are searching for.

Once you perform your search, you will see a list of available record subsets and the number of records matching your search are contained within each record series. You then have the option to narrow your search by selecting a particular county or record series to view.

For divorce records with the certificate, you can view both parties’ names as well as their name at birth. The results will also show you the decree year and the county where it was issued. On the far right, you can click on the magnifying glass to view the actual PDF of the certificate.

If only an index is available, you will be unable to view the certificate but can still access the other information previously mentioned.

You can also search the archives collections online to find out where divorce records are located that have not been digitized. This can allow you to know exactly where to search when looking through any physical copies or making a request by phone or email (more on these options below).

To search these collections, select the geographical location you want to search under the collection drop-down menu. Next, enter the subject’s name in the “Keywords” section. Once you perform your search, you will be able to see where any archived records containing that individual’s name are located.

Another option is to go in person. The Washington State Archives are located at the address below:

Washington State Archives
1129 Washington St. SE
Olympia, Washington 98504

You can also contact an archivist by phone or email in the appropriate regional branch to make a request for a particular record.12 While there are fees for copies of records, there is no cost for making a research request.

For additional questions, you can contact them by emailing the state archivist at [email protected] or records management at [email protected]. If you would like to talk to someone, you can call their main phone number at 360-586-1492.

How To Look Up Washington Dissolutions of Marriage

In Washington, to determine if there was a dissolution of marriage, a citizen can use the Unified Case Search Tool provided by the Washington Courts. However, this tool will only provide you with basic information if the case is closed.

If you are looking for more than the case number and filing date for a dissolution, you have two options. First, you can go online and see if the case is available using the Washington State Archives online index of divorces or, if not available there, you can search their archives collections.

A screenshot of the Washington Digital Archives search portal. It has three search features: search by name, which requires filling out the first name, last name, or company name, and the type of collections; search by case number or keyword, which requires a keyword and the type of collection; and detailed search, which only requires selecting a collection type.
Source: Washington State Archives13

Second, if you know where the dissolution occurred, you can search for it at the county superior court. You can first contact the clerk of the court to confirm their hours of availability, the process for searching records and any fees.

Note: This information can be accessed in the same way for legal separations and domestic partnerships. 

How To Get a Divorce in Washington: Filing & Addressing Petitions

If you are looking to get a divorce or you have had divorce papers served to you, it can be a highly stressful time. This is a major life change, and there are often many questions as to how the process will unfold.

Washington is a no-fault divorce state, which means that a party does not need to be at fault for a divorce to be granted. The primary ground for divorce is that the parties have irreconcilable differences that they are unable to resolve. However, to file for a divorce in Washington, you need to meet certain minimal jurisdiction requirements, such as living in the state or having conceived here.

If you are the party initiating the divorce, you will have to submit a Petition for Divorce (Dissolution).14

The Petition informs the court and your spouse that you want a divorce and will contain any specific requests you are hoping to obtain from a divorce. Common requests include the division of assets, spousal support, name change and custody (whether the children were through adoption or birth).

Once you complete this form, you must submit the petition to the court in the county where you currently live, not where you were married. A petitioner must then deliver (or “serve”) the petition on their spouse. To prove that you provided the petition to your spouse, you must have written documentation of them acknowledging receipt.

The fee for filing a divorce in Washington varies depending on the county. Lastly, it’s important to know there are other options besides divorce. For instance, you can request a legal separation from the Washington State Courts.

A legal separation (sometimes referenced by its Latin phrase, mensa et thoro) provides many of the benefits of divorce (e.g., separation of property, spousal support etc.) without actually ending the marriage.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a petition for divorce, you may be anxious about what you need to do. In Washington, you will need to submit a Response to Petition about a Marriage.15 This filing will allow you to indicate to the court what aspects of the petition you agree with and those you do not.

If you disagree, you can provide the reason why, along with your own requests for what you want from the divorce.

Note: In Washington, they do not recognize common law marriage. In addition, common law divorce does not exist, and there is no specific legal remedy for separating parties that have only cohabitated together. 

While this covers the basics of Washington divorces, it is always a good idea to speak with a licensed attorney specializing in Family law in the state. They can assist with answering specific questions and helping you address the particulars of your situation.

For instance, you and your spouse may have numerous assets you need to divide, and they can assist you with a divorce appraisal and proposing settlement terms.

With the tools and resources outlined in this article, you are now prepared to search and access a variety of Washington divorce records.


1Washington Secretary of State. (n.d.). Department of Health Divorce Certificates. Washington State Archives. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

2Washington State Department of Health. (n.d.). Ordering a Marriage or Divorce Record | Washington State Department of Health. Washington State Department of Health. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

3Washington Courts. (n.d.). Washington Courts Unified Case Search Tool. Washington Courts. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

4Washington Courts. (n.d.). Case Information. Odyssey Portal Washington Courts Online Case Search. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

5Washington Courts. (n.d.). Person Search. Washington Courts. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

6Washington Courts. (n.d.). Court Directory. Washington State Courts. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

7Washington State Department of Health. (2021, February). Instructions for Marriage and Divorce Certificate Order Form. Washington State Department of Health. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

8King County. (n.d.). Divorce Decrees Online Directory. Online Directory. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

9King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office. (n.d.). Records Access Portal. Criminal (1), Civil (2), Domestic/Family (3), Probate/Guardianship (4) | KC-Script Portal. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

10Pierce County Washington. (n.d.). LINX Search. LINX. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

11Snohomish County Washington. (n.d.). Access Court Records. Snohomish County. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

12Washington Secretary of State. (n.d.). Ask an Archivist for Regional Branch. Washington State Archives. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

13Washington Secretary of State. (n.d.). Washington State Archives Search by Name. Washington State Digital Archives. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

14Superior Court of Washington. (n.d.). Petition for Divorce (Dissolution). Washington State Courts. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>

15Superior Court of Washington. (n.d.). Response to Petition about a Marriage. Washington State Courts. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from <>