"DO IT YOURSELF" MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION GUIDELINES
When you file for dissolution of marriage, you will be given two identical case schedules. One is for you and one is to serve on your spouse along with the other papers you are serving. The case schedule gives dates when certain papers have to be filed and specific actions have to be taken. The papers required by this case schedule can be purchased at the King County Clerk's Office Copy Center and are also available on-line for free. The schedule also gives a trial date for your case (if you need a trial.) Most dissolution cases do not need a trial, because they are not contested. If your spouse has joined in the petition, or if your spouse has not responded, you will not need a trial.
1. To file your Petition for Dissolution, completely fill out all documents and sign the petition. The forms must conform to those approved by the Administrative Office for the Court. Both you and your spouse may sign the petition if you agree to the conditions in the petition. If only you sign, you must serve the Petition and the Summons on your spouse, or file a Joinder document, which indicates that your spouse agrees with the statements in the Petition. Make copies of all documents before filing.
2. Bring the Petition, Summons and Confidential Information Form to the King County Clerk's Office, Cashier window, Room E609 in Seattle or Room 2C in Kent. A Vital Statistics form and Case Assignment Area Form and Case Index Cover Sheeton form will be given to you to complete. The Clerk's Office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding court holidays) and is located at 516 3rd Ave. in Seattle, Washington and at 401 4th Ave. North in Kent, Washington.
The staff of the Clerk's Office cannot help you complete forms, set a hearing date, or give any legal advice. If you have any questions, you may review instructions accompanying the forms, a "do-it-yourself" dissolution manual, or seek legal advice from an attorney. Additionally, the Court has a staff of Family Law Facilitators located in Room W382 in Seattle or Room 3D in Kent who may be able to help you.
3. The filing fee is $290.00. We only accept personal checks from a person who is a party to the action, if it is drawn on a Washington State bank and has your name, address and the check number imprinted.
4. As stated above, you will be given two forms called "Order Setting Original Domestic Case Schedule." You must serve a copy of this order on your spouse even if it's a joint petition. It is important that the due dates on the schedule are met, especially the confirmation of issues requirement.
If you or your spouse is now or has been on public assistance and have any minor children, you must first contact the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Support Enforcement Division, 516 3rd Avenue, Suite E400, Seattle, (206) 296-9020, before a divorce can be finalized. Contact them 30 days in advance to schedule an appointment.
You must attend a mandatory seminar if you file an action requiring a parenting plan for minor children. You must also attend the seminar to participate in evaluation and/or mediation services at the Family Court Services. If you live outside of the area or need to speak to someone directly about attendance at the seminar, call the Family Court Services coordinator at (206) 296-3900.
5. If the Divorce is contested, then you will follow the case schedule to proceed with trial. If agreed or the other party is in Default, then you may set a hearing with the Ex Parte Department to finalize the Divorce.
6. To finalize the Divorce, you may set a hearing with your assigned judge or the Ex Parte Dept. You must choose a final hearing date at least 91 calendar days from the date the petition was filed, from the date of service, or from the date a Joinder was signed, whichever was completed last.
To finalize the Divorce in Ex Parte, you must file a "Note For Motion Docket" for entry of a Final Decree and set it for any day Monday through Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Seattle or 1:30 p.m. in Kent if you will be appearing without an attorney of record. This document must be filed at least 14 calendar days before the requested hearing date. Do not set the hearing on a weekend or holiday. Link to Court Holidays
The letters after your case number designate the location you must appear at for your hearing. The letters SEA/UFS mean the King County Courthouse in Seattle and the letters KNT/UFK mean the Regional Justice Center in Kent.
7. On the date of your hearing, bring the originals of all your documents with you. They should include:
- A. The Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and the Decree of Dissolution
- B. If there are children of this marriage, you must bring the following:
- 1. Parenting Plan Final Order
- 2. Order of Child Support.
- 3. Child Support Work Sheet (attached to Order of Child Support).
- C. If only one party signed the Petition and no Joinder of Respondent was filed, you must bring:
- 1. Motion and Declaration for Default
- 2. Order for Default
- 3. Proof of Service
The Ex Parte Department is located in room W325 in the King County Courthouse in Seattle (516 3rd Ave.) and in Courtroom 1J of the Regional Justice Center in Kent (401 4th Ave. North).
Forms and other information are also available on the Internet at www.kingcounty.gov/courts/scforms.aspx
III. CHANGE OF ADDRESS:
You must send written notice to the clerk and your assigned Judge if you change your address.
PLEASE NOTE: The court does not automatically send you a copy of your divorce decree. Please read and follow the directions below.
Your divorce is final when your Decree of Dissolution is signed by the Court Commissioner and filed with the Clerk's Office. After one week, the Decree is available in your case file for you to copy orto request a certified copy from the Clerk's Office. If you want a certified copy, bring your case number to Files Access and request your file. Place your order with the Copy Center or Customer Services and your Decree will be copied while you wait. You may also purchase a certified copy through the mail by completing the form below and returning it to the Clerk's Office.
To purchase a certified copy of your Decree immediately after it is signed, ask an Ex Parte courtroom clerk to have the Decree delivered to the Cashier or Customer Service section of the Clerk's Office. A certified copy can be prepared there.
FEES : The cost of each certified copy is $5.00 for the first page plus $1.00 for each additional page. A portion of a Court document cannot be certified, only the entire document. You can request your copy through the mail; add the $30.00 correspondence fee in addition to the certified copy fee if the case number and document type are not included. A personal check is acceptable if your name, address and the check number are imprinted and it is drawn on a bank in Washington State. Please make a money order or personal check payable to the King County Superior Court Clerk.
Submit a cover letter stating you want a certified copy of your decree along with your complete name and address, case number, names of both parties, how many copies; provide a LARGE self-addressed manila envelope with sufficient postage, and the appropriate fee to:
Seattle Cases or Kent Cases:
ATTN: Customer Services Section
King County Superior Court Clerk's Office
516 Third Avenue, Room E609
Seattle, WA 98104-2386
ATTN: Customer Services Section
King County Superior Court Clerk's Office
401 Fourth Avenue North, Room 2C
Kent, WA 98032-4429