Family Court General Information
Accessing the Court
About Family Court
The Family Court handles all family law matters where children are involved, including:
- Divorce or legal separation with children
- Domestic violence
- Some dependency matters.
Family law matters may be handled in a variety of ways. Several programs are available to serve the public and assist the court in handling family law cases. These include:
Family Court Services
Family Court Services (FCS) provides parenting plan evaluations and mediation which often help resolve cases outside of court. FCS also conducts domestic violence assessments, which assist the Court in protecting the interests of children in contested cases. FCS staff have extensive experience and education in childhood development and issues that confront today's families, including child abuse, chemical dependency, domestic violence, and mental illness. The focus of every service provided by FCS is to assist the Court by providing timely, impartial information that is relevant to the issues of the case, consistent with statutory requirements, and protects the best interests of the child. When effective services are provided to families, the need for further court involvement can be significantly reduced. This, in turn, reduces in-court time and allows families to resolve conflicts in a more positive way. For more information, visit the Family Court Services webpage.
Family Law Facilitators
The Family Law Facilitator Program provides assistance to self-represented litigants in obtaining and understanding required forms and complying with state and local rules. This improves litigants' access to the Court, and helps reduce court time necessary for cases. Facilitators' help litigants understand how to start certain family law actions, what forms are needed, and where these forms can be found. They can provide written instructions at no cost for many family law actions. Facilitators also review litigants' forms to make sure they are complete, provide information about other Court and community resources, and provide referrals for legal consultation for low-income litigants. The Department of Judicial Administration estimates that at least one party is self-represented by legal counsel at some point in nearly 75 percent of all domestic cases filed in King County. For more information, visit the Family Law Facilitator Program webpage.
The Dependency CASA Program recruits and trains community volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in dependency proceedings. The primary obligation of this representation is to conduct independent investigations regarding the circumstances of the children assigned to them and to formulate recommendations for the Court. Volunteers serving as the "eyes and ears of the Court" spend thousands of hours each year investigating cases, interviewing parties involved in cases, monitoring compliance with court orders, and attending court hearings. For more information, visit the Dependency CASA webpage.