Courthouse facilitators can provide information about court procedures and assist you with legal forms (sometimes referred to as "pleadings") in your family law case if you are not represented by an attorney. If a party in a legal proceeding does not have an attorney, that person is referred to as "self-represented" or acting "pro se." The facilitator is not your lawyer and cannot give you legal advice. If you are acting pro se in your case, it is often a good idea to consult with a lawyer about what is best for you in your situation.
The facilitator can help you with your family law case under Title 26 RCW. Types of cases in Title 26 include dissolution of marriage (divorce), dissolution of registered domestic partnerships, child support, parentage (paternity), nonparent custody, and modification of parenting plans, child support, and maintenance.
GR 27 is the court rule that defines the basic services facilitators may provide to self-represented parties. Services provided by the courthouse facilitator may vary from county to county.
Generally, courthouse facilitators may provide some or all of these services:
- Referral to legal, social service, and alternate dispute resolution resources;
- Assistance in calculating child support based on financial information provided by the pro se party;
- Assistance in selection as well as distribution of approved forms and instructions;
- Assistance in completing approved forms;
- Explanation of legal terms;
- Information on basic court procedures including requirements for service, filing, Scheduling hearings and complying with local procedures;
- Review of completed forms to determine whether forms have been completely filled out but not as to substantive content;
- Previewing pro se pleadings prior to hearings to determine whether procedural requirements shave been complied with; and
- Attendance at pro se hearings to assist the Court with pro se matters
Items the Courthouse Facilitator Cannot Assist you with:
- Termination of Parental Rights
- Changing of a child's name