How to Get a Copy of Divorce Papers in Washington State

by Smokey Yokems

When a divorce is finalized both parties receive a copy of the divorce decree for their records. This certification is helpful and often required for future legal transactions including real estate purchases, drivers license renewal and adoptions. If divorce papers are misplaced or lost, a second certified copy can be obtained in the state where the divorce occurred. The Washington State Department of Health has made it very easy to get copies of vital records, including divorce papers.

Log on to the Washington State Department of Health vital records page; see reference one below for a link.

Scroll down to the web page section titled "Divorce Certificates."

Choose the appropriate office for ordering divorce papers. For divorces filed before January 1, 1968 or within four months prior to the present date, click the county clerk link on the vital records page and contact the appropriate clerk by telephone for more information about receiving a copy of divorce records. For divorce papers filed between January 1, 1968 and four months prior to the present date, click on the "Center for Health Statistics" link.

Choose your preferred method of ordering divorce papers. The least expensive and easiest process is to walk into the Center for Health Statistics in Turnwater, Washington. You can also order by telephone, through the mail or online for additional fees.

Fill out the order form or provide the required information over the telephone. The order form needed to process walk-in or mail in orders is offered on the Washington Department of Health Website. Phone orders can be processed verbally. Online orders are completed by prompt using the same information that is provided on the state form.

Pay the appropriate fees and wait for paperwork to process. Walk-in requests at the Center for Health Statistics require only the copy processing fee and are available right away. Phone and mail in orders will include a postage surcharge and take up to four weeks to arrive. The online ordering process is managed by a private company partner and includes an additional processing fee, along with postage.

Items you will need

  • Date divorce was issued
  • Name of either party named in divorce
  • County where divorce was filed

About the Author

Smokey Yokems has been teaching through writing and performance since 1982. Yokems' strength is translation. Her publications include work-for-hire children's stories, corporate video scripts and a tri-annual newsletter for a nonprofit educational foundation in Maine. Yokems holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and performance from Oberlin College/Lesley University.

Photo Credits

  • enfant et empire state image by The Russian Negresco from