Family law

General information

Family law includes a variety of topics such as divorce and dissolution, parentage (unmarried parents), visitation, child support, and adoption.

Washington State uses mandatory pattern forms for many family law cases. The official forms, without instructions, can be found on the State Court website.

Do-it-yourself packets with step-by-step instructions for many family law topics are available from Washington LawHelp in the 'Family' section. For instructions on how to fill out a particular form, type the form number (located in bold in the bottom line of the form) into the search box.

Clark County's Family Court Facilitator program provides assistance to individuals who choose to represent themselves in matters dealing with many family law issues. The facilitator is available for in-person assistance and there is a $20.00 for a 20-minute visit. Checklists of forms for some common family law situations are available from the Facilitator's office.

Additional print resources about family law topics are available at the Law Library.

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Dissolution (divorce)

Resources that are available from Washington LawHelp include:

Washington State's official mandatory pattern forms for divorce can be found on the State Court website under the 'Family Law' heading. The forms are listed in the order they are filed in a typical divorce.

Checklists of forms for asking for, responding to, and finalizing a divorce can be found on the County Clerk's family law instructions page.

The State Court publishes a Family Law Handbook Marriage Edition with information about marriage and divorce, as well as a Family Law Handbook Domestic Partnership Edition with information about domestic partnerships and dissolution.

Parentage (unmarried parents)

Parentage involves unmarried parents. This includes legal parents asking for parenting plans or child support for the first time (Petition for a Parenting Plan, Residential Schedule and/or Child Support). It also includes cases to determine a child's legal parents when they are unmarried (Petition to Decide Parentage).

Resources that are available from Washington LawHelp include:

Washington State's official mandatory pattern forms for parentage cases can be found on the State Court website under the Family Law heading.

Checklists of forms for parentage cases where an Acknowledgment of Paternity was filed at the Washington Center for Health can be found on the County Clerk's family law instructions page.

Child support

Child support is often part of a family law case. If you are seeking child support, you would do so as part of your divorce, parentage, or other case.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has a quick child support estimator that can provide a rough estimate of your monthly child support obligation. For a more accurate calculation, you can use their automated child support worksheets.

Modification of a final parenting plan or child support

Parenting plan modifications: Washington LawHelp has some helpful guides in the Family: Parenting Plans/Custody section related to changing parenting plans. Specific instructions and forms for some situations are in a guide called File a Petition to Change a Parenting Plan, Residential Schedule, or Custody Order. Responding to a request to change a parenting plan for some situations is covered in a guide called Respond to a Petition to Change a Parenting Plan, Residential Schedule, or Custody Order.

Washington State's official mandatory pattern forms for parenting plan modification can be found on the State Court website under the Family Law heading. The forms are listed in the order they are filed in a typical divorce. Checklists of forms for asking for or responding to a parenting plan modification can be found on the County Clerk's family law instructions page.

Child support modifications: Washington LawHelp has some general information and guides in the Family: Child Support section to modify a final child support order or to respond to a request to modify the child support.

Washington State's official mandatory pattern forms for child support modification can be found on the State Court website. The forms are listed in the order they are filed in a typical divorce. Checklists of forms for asking for or responding to a child support modification can be found on the County Clerk's family law instructions page.

Relocation

Washington LawHelp has instructions and blank forms to print and fill out that can be used if you have legal custody of your child, and you wish to move (“relocate”) and take the child with you. Washington LawHelp also has instructions and blank forms to print if you are a noncustodial parent and you want to try to stop the custodial parent from moving with your child.

Washington State's official mandatory pattern forms for relocation can be found on the State Court website under the Family Law heading.

Checklists of forms for to give notice and get permission to move with children, to object to the request to move, and to respond to the objection can all be found on the County Clerk's family law instructions page.

Visits with children

The Petition for Visits process can allow people who are related to a child or to the parents of the child to request visits in certain circumstances. Washington LawHelp has general information about the process. There are also instructions and forms that can be used to respond to a request when you have been served with a Petition for Visits.

Washington State's official mandatory pattern forms for visits with children can be found on the State Court website under the Family Law heading. You may also need additional forms.

Contempt of court

Contempt of court is a procedure to address violations of court orders.

Washington LawHelp has general information about contempt. They also have blank forms to ask for or respond to contempt along with instructions for completing and filing the paperwork.

Washington State's official mandatory pattern forms relating to contempt can be found on the State Court website under the Family Law heading. Checklists of forms and steps to ask for or respond to contempt can be found on the County Clerk's family law instructions page.

Power of Attorney for parents

Washington LawHelp also has information and forms for parents who want to give another adult Power of Attorney to temporarily care for their minor children.

Adoption

Washington LawHelp has some information related to adoption. The Clark County Clerk's Office has a page about adoption, and the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) website has adoption information.

King County Adoption Services has legal forms for limited types of adoptions available for purchase at their Family Court Services offices in Seattle and Kent or by mail. Each packet comes with forms and instructions to assist in completing the adoption process. Packets are available for the following types of adoptions:

  • Step-parent / Second Parent consenting
  • Step-parent / Second Parent non-consenting
  • Adult
  • International (Re-adoption)
  • Independent / In Home (Non-agency)

According to the King County Adoption Services FAQ, "You may feel free to modify our forms for use in another county."