The Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) is offering free one-hour consultations with family law attorneys in the Bellevue branch of the King County Library System. The volunteer attorneys cannot represent clients but can refer to other help. The consultations are by appointment only. To learn if you qualify for assistance and to schedule an appointment, please contact ELAP at (425) 747-7274.
Learn more about ELAP’s Family Law Clinic
Washingtonlawhelp.org has new online, interactive forms for both Durable Power of Attorney documents and Health Care Directives.
A power of attorney document lets you choose a trusted friend or relative to help you with your finances or health care decisions. A Health Care Directive lets you state what kind of medical treatments you do or do not wish to have if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious and cannot make decisions for yourself. These new programs ask you questions related to your situation and then fill out the proper forms for you.
Get started — Durable Power of Attorney Document
Get started — Health Care Directive
The King County Bar Association’s Kinship Care Solutions program provides free legal advice and representation to relatives or significant caregivers trying to set up minor guardianships. The service is staffed by volunteer attorneys. Eligibility is income-based and also uses the following criteria:
- The length of time the child may have already resided with the caregiver.
- Is the caregiver a safe and stable placement for the child?
- Would the child be at risk if returned to his/her parents?
- How difficult it is to find a volunteer attorney for the case?
- Would the caregiver be able to bring the case without an attorney?
For more information, visit the KCBA website to fill out the online intake form or contact KCBA via email at KinshipCare@kcba.org or by phone at (206) 267-7086.
The King County Family Law Information Center (FLIC) provides assistance with a variety of family law-related processes including divorce, child support, parenting plans and parenting plan modifications. FLIC is introducing a new service system affecting both the Seattle and Kent courthouses. It will launch in January 2023. In preparation for that launch, FLIC will have reduced hours in December 2022.
Read more about the launch of the new Help Desk here.
Read more about FLIC’s overall services here.
In May 2022, ACLU of Washington sponsored a pre-Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization discussion about abortion and reproductive rights. The speakers included Dr. Erin Berry, Washington State Medical Director, Kia Guarino, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Washington, Miranda Varags, board member of Northwest Abortion Access Fund, and Leah Rutman, Health Care and Liberty Counsel, ACLU-WA. The program was moderated by ACLU-WA Executive Director, Michele Storms. ACLU-WA has made a recording of this discussion available again and encourages you to watch again or attend for the time.
There is an effort to protect family cohesion when they face allegations of neglect or abuse. The effort includes legislation in Olympia (HB 1227) and seeks to emphasize alternatives to placing children into foster care, where appropriate.
You can read the full story HERE.
Without public debate or a formal hearing on the topic, the Washington State Supreme Court decided last month to end the Limited Licence Legal Technician (LLLT) program. The June letter ends a program that broadened access to legal representation and served as a model for other states across the nation. Please read/listen to the KNKX new story HERE.
The QLaw Foundation of Washington is sponsoring a new, free, full-representation legal clinic called Family Matters to help LGBTQ families get legal orders affirming their legal parental relationships to the children they are raising.
Assistance will be provided by both attorneys and social workers and will vary in length depending on the family’s needs. LGBTQ families living anywhere in King County are eligible to apply. All services provided by Family Matters are free of charge.
To request help, you can complete the online registration form here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your family would like help from the Family Matters clinic.
The Northwest Justice Project, via its self-help site WashingtonLawHelp.org, has released a new guide to help custodial parents respond to a petition from a third-party–such as a grandparent or another relative–for visitation rights. It’s titled You Have Been Served with a Petition for Visits and includes a complete set of instructions and forms. Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to read through the information in two related NJP guides: Which Court can Enter Custody Orders? Questions and Answers about Jurisdiction –which will help you understand how to determine if a Washington court has the right to consider a petition for visitation–and Washington’s New Non-Parent Visitation Rights –which provides a general overview of our State’s Non-Parent Visitation Rights law.
During the 2018 Regular Session, the Washington State legislature passed Senate Bill 5598, Chapter 183 of the Laws of 2018, which adds a procedure for grandparents and other relatives to petition the court for visitation rights. The new law amends RCW 26.10.160, repeals 26.09.240 and adds a new chapter to Title 26. For more details about the new law, see the Final Bill Report. Forms for the new procedure can be found on the State Court’s web site under the section titled Visits with Children.