File an Action
If you want to file a family law action and you don't have an attorney, the following Superior Court programs may be helpful to you:
- Family Law Facilitators Office. Contact this office if you don't have an attorney. They can give you the necessary forms and tell you how to file your action with the court.
- Family Law Orientation. If you don't have an attorney, you must attend this class within 30 days after filing your action with the court.
Get Help with Child Support
If you need assistance with a child support action, the following programs may be helpful to you:
- Washington DSHS - Division of Child Support. Contact this office if you need assistance paying or collecting administrative or court-ordered child support.
- Family Law Support Division - King County Prosecuting Attorney. Contact this office if you need assistance with a paternity action (for people who do not have an affidavit/acknowledgement of paternity) and for help reviewing child support orders if you have received, or are receiving, public assistance.
Learn about the Family Law Process
These written resources - both produced by the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts - may help you understand the divorce process in Washington State.
If you would you like to petition the court for a protection order, the following resources may be helpful to you:
- Protection Order Advocates Office. This program, provided by the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, can help you request a protection order from the court.
- Domestic Violence Resources. The Prosecuting Attorney's Office also maintains this list of resources for victims of domestic violence.
- Civil Protection Orders. The Superior Court Clerk's Office maintains this helpful webpage which explains the various types of protections orders which may be available to you.
- King County District Court - Anti-Harassment Information. Most petitions for anti-harassment protection orders are now filed in King County District Court. District Court has posted the necessary forms and instructions online.
If you are facing eviction, the Housing Justice Project, sponsored by the King County Bar Association, may be able to assist you. This program serves low-income residents of King County.
- Juvenile Justice 101 - Video. This video will introduce you to parents who have been through the court system with their children.
- Juvenile Justice 101 - Resource Booklet. This guide will introduce you to the Juvenile Court people and process and will help you connect with programs that can help you.
The King County Department of Public Defense provides legal services to children who are facing criminal charges in Juvenile Court or youth facing at-risk youth, CHINS or truancy petitions. Go here to read about the kinds of legal services Public Defense provides. Or call (206) 477-9727 to see if you qualify for an attorney.”
If your child has been removed from your home by the state because of allegations of abuse or neglect, you have a right to have an attorney represent you at the first court hearing. At that hearing you can challenge the removal of your child from your care, propose alternate caregivers, and receive a plan for ongoing contact with your child. Contact the King County Department of Public Defense to determine who has been assigned. After the initial hearing, you may continue to qualify for a public defender. Go here to read about legal services the Department of Public Defense provides. Or call 206-477-9727 to see if you qualify for an attorney. Whether or not you qualify for an attorney, the Parents for Parents Program can help you understand the dependency process. The program will connect you with parents who have been through the dependency system and successfully reunited with their children.
If your child is out of control, the At-Risk Youth Program may be able to assist you. This program allows you to seek help from the court in handling your out-of-control child.
The following organizations provide free or reduced-cost legal assistance or may be able to assist you in finding answers to questions about your legal matter.
- Northwest Justice Project. Provides free civil (non-criminal) legal services to low-income residents of King County. Interpreters are provided to those who do not speak English or who are hearing impaired. Help is available in the following areas: family law (for domestic violence survivors), housing law, consumer law, education, public benefits, and in some limited circumstances, immigration. Please note that case acceptance is dependent on office priorities, staff availability, and the merit of each case. Services, especially representation by an attorney, may not be available even if all case criteria are met.
- Columbia Legal Services. Provides legal assistance to low-income and special needs people and organizations in Washington.
- King County Bar Association - Pro Bono Services. Thirty-minute consultation and referral to an attorney for legal representation and referrals to attorneys providing self help legal services.
- King County Bar Association - Neighborhood Legal Clinics. Free 30-minute consultation with a volunteer attorney. Legal advice only (no legal representation)
- Legal Voice. Legal information, referrals, and self help legal materials.
- Eastside Legal Assistance Program. East and north King County residents only. Free 30-minute consultation with a volunteer attorney for legal advice.
- The King County Department of Public Defense. Provides legal representation to people who have been charged with a crime and cannot afford an attorney. DPD also represents youth, people facing civil commitment, people who could lose their children in a dependency petition, and others in need of legal advocacy who cannot afford an attorney.”
- Washington LawHelp Website. Hundreds of free legal education materials available for viewing and downloading.
- King County Bar Association - Self-Help Program. Workshops on divorce, child support modification and parenting plan modification for a sliding scale fee, depending on income. Class includes preparation of pleadings, class instruction, and consultation with an attorney manager. King County residents only.
- Consejo Counseling and Referral Service. Primarily serves Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino population, but will provide services to others. Offers advocate and attorney assistance for low-income clients who are victims of domestic violence. Access to a family law attorney is also available.
- Refugee Women's Alliance (REWA). Multi-service agency provides assistance to refugee and immigrant women and their families. Assists with domestic violence advocacy, family law cases; coordinates with the Self-Help Plus Program. Staff is multilingual in 23 languages and dialects.
- Catholic Community Services - Family Centers. Offers Latino family support and provides legal advocates for interpreting and translation services.
- Watch a video on how to appear in court without an attorney. (Also available with captions.)
- Read 'Preparing for Your Day in Court: A Handbook to Self-Representation in the King County Superior Courts.'