What to Know When Seeking Copies of Washington State Divorce Records

A divorce takes place when a married couple decides to dissolve their marriage. In Washington State, the Washington Department of Health holds and maintains records of divorces filed after1968. The Washington county clerk keeps records of divorces filed before 1968. People who want to access such a washington state divorce record can do this in three ways with varying purposes. 

Because divorce records are public records, people can access them from third-party websites. These records provide information on the couple’s finances, any minor children, and confidential information such as domestic abuse. Due to the personal nature of a divorce, the availability of divorce records is lower than other kinds of public records.

Three Kinds of Divorce Court Documents

People can obtain copies of the following divorce documents:

  • Divorce certificates. These documents certify the occurrence of a divorce. They contain the names of the parties involved, when the divorce occurred, and where. Usually, parties can request these papers when they want to change their name. 
  • Divorce decrees. These papers contain more details than divorce certificates. Apart from the names of parties, location, and date of the divorce, a divorce decree has information on the case’s final judgment. This judgment can cover information on child custody and support as well as spousal support andproperty division. 
  • Divorce records. These detailed documents can be used for challenging any agreements they contain. They hold all files, reports, and transcripts produced during the divorce case. The public can view and access these records but certified copies can only be obtained by related parties. Divorce court records must be available to the public unless a judge puts them under seal.

Ordering Divorce Records

Divorce records can be ordered online, by mail, or in person. In Washinton, people can search for and order divorce records over the web using the case number and the names of parties. But the availability of these portals may not be always guaranteed. Divorce records can also be obtained by visiting the clerk’s record access portal in one’s county. 

Those who want to order their records by mail must submit a request form, along with the necessary identification and fees. For every document, they will request they must fill out a separate form. The ordered copies should be available within 6 to 8 weeks. Lastly, people who wish to access their records in person must visit the Department of Health office. Often, the requested documents will be available on the same day as requested. 

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