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Update from Family Law regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Activities

Please continue to check this website and the links below for updates about the family law response to COVID-19. Because this is an evolving situation, the guidance below may change. 

Self-Represented: This document is to help you understand how to access the court during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Englishالعربية, 中文SoomaaliEspañolTiếng Việt.

The following court calendars are operating with modified procedures: 

Family Law Motions

The processes for setting hearings for temporary orders and other motions in family law cases have changed.  The court has created a one-stop document containing basic information to help parties file family law motions: Setting Family Law Motions Hearings for Lawyers and Parties (العربية, 中文 , Soomaali, Español, Tiếng Việt)

The Family Law Motion calendar is now hearing all motions allowed by LFLR 5 except Motions for Adequate Cause in nonparental custody cases, and COVID related parenting motions, which will continue to be noted in front of the assigned trial judge (or the Chief UFC Judge if there is no assigned judge) until further notice.

Important!

There have been significant changes to the processes and procedures for family law motions and the Trial by Affidavit (support modification) calendar. Before noting a motion visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/confirmations.aspx for more information.

Agreed Family Law Orders

Agreed family law orders which previously would have been presented in person to Ex Parte or Family Law should be submitted via e-filing through the Orders for Review process. For more information click here.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders

Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) hearings are occurring telephonically. Do not come to court for your hearing unless you have been directed to do so.

Please visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/confirmations.aspx for more information. 

Weapons Surrender

This calendar will be conducted by phone. Parties should e-mail weapons-surrender@kingcounty.gov with their case name and number, day of their hearing, and a telephone number where they can be reached between 8:30 and noon.

For more information about the weapons surrender calendar click this link: Protection Order Announcement.

Trials /Motions before Judges/ Pre-Trial Conferences

Trials: All Unified Family Court (UFC) Judges are now hearing family law trials and holding pre-trial conferences remotely.

All proceedings will be conducted by video conference or telephone except in rare circumstances where the court determines that in-person presence is necessary and appropriate.

Motions for Adequate Cause in Nonparental Custody Cases should be noted before the assigned judge.

COVID Related Modifications:

In certain circumstances, parties may be able to seek a temporary modification of a parenting plan or non-parental custody order without filing a Petition for Modification or noting a Motion for Adequate Cause. They may also seek an immediate order and order to show cause in the Ex Parte Department if it is an emergency and there is an imminent threat of irreparable harm. These motions shall be set to the assigned judge or, if there is no assigned judge to the Chief UFC Judge. See Emergency Order #18, for more information.

All motions and status/pretrial conferences will be conducted telephonically or by video unless otherwise directed by the judge. Please contact the bailiff for your judge with questions. Contact information for the bailiffs can be found at: https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/directory/judges.aspx.

Final Decree Calendar

All in-person hearings on the self-represented agreed finalization (final decree) calendar have been suspended. In lieu of in person final hearings the facilitators will work with you to help you present final orders.  Visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/facilitator.aspx for more information. 

Defaults

Motions for Default: You can submit motions for default that do not require notice to the other party to the Ex Parte Department via Ex Parte via the Clerk.  Submit your motion to Ex Parte only if the other party has not participated in the case in any way.

If the other party has appeared (participated) in the case but has not filed a response, you must provide notice.  For motions for default that do require notice, there is a separate calendar on Fridays at 1:30 pm in front of the Chief UFC Judge.  The Notice of Court Date for that calendar can be found athttps://kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk/forms.aspx.  Self-represented parties should talk with the facilitator about how to note these default hearings.

Status Conference

All Status/Non-Compliance hearings have been suspended. Do not appear for the hearing. You will receive information in the mail, or by email, about the status of your case. If your case is not in compliance you may be scheduled for a calendar to determine whether your case should be dismissed (show cause calendar).

Please visit: https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/status-conference.aspx for more information. 

 


 

The following court programs are operating with modified procedures:

Parent Seminar/Family Law Orientation (FLO)

In person classes have been canceled. In lieu of in person classes, we will be sending class participants materials to review. If you need to attend the FLO or Parent Seminar you must still register for the class.

For more information please visit: 

Family Law Information Center/Family Law Facilitators

Family Law Information Center will be closed for in-person walk-in hours until further notice. Facilitators will be assisting people by phone only. 

Please visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/facilitator.aspx for more information.

Family Court Services

If you have any questions about upcoming appointments or mediations please contact your assigned evaluator / conciliator. If you are unsure who your evaluator / conciliator is, please contact the family court services front desk at: FCS@KingCounty.Gov and see more information at our website: https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/services.aspx

Adoption Services

If you have questions about your adoption please check the Adoption Services webpage at https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/adoption-services.aspx or contact the adoption specialist at: 

Early Resolution Case Manager (ERCM)

If you have questions about an upcoming mediation with an Early Resolution Case Manager (ERCM) please contact the ERCM assigned to your case. Please refer to the appointment form for contact information.

Family Court handles all family law matters where children are involved, including:
  • Divorce or legal separation with children
  • Parenting
  • Paternity
  • Adoption
  • Child or spousal support
  • Domestic violence
  • Some dependency matters
Listen to Chief Family Court Judge Tanya Thorp discuss the work in this 8 minute podcast

Several programs are available to serve the public and assist the court in handling family law cases. These include:

A variety of family law instruction packets are also available online.

Information on Status Conference and Non-Compliance Hearings is available on the Status Conferences webpage.

All family law actions are filed in Room E609 at the King County Courthouse and Room 2C at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.

Some actions require a filing fee which is paid to the Clerk at the time the action is filed. Payment can be made by cash, money order or personal check if it is drawn on a Washington State Bank. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, you may file a Fee Waiver Request.

Retain or consult with an attorney to determine what type of family law action you should file. If you are representing yourself and know what type of action you would like to file, visit the family law facilitators to get the forms you need, as well as information on court processes and procedures.

If you have scheduled a family law hearing, you must confirm it before your court date. The easiest way to do this is to visit our Confirm a Family Law Hearing webpage and follow the instructions posted there.

Family Court operates at two locations: the King County Courthouse in Seattle, and the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Most Family Court programs and services are available at either facility; however, please note that calendar schedules and hours of operation sometimes differ.

To contact the Family Court visit the Contact Superior Court webpage.