Significant changes were made to our State’s nonparental custody laws in 2020. The new laws were set to take effect after December 31, 2020 but the King County Superior Court Clerk’s office has recently learned that the implementation of these new laws has been postponed. For more details about how this impacts nonparental custody procedures in King County, read the Clerk’s announcement here.
Washington State SB 5598 (companion bill HB 2117) 2017-18 amends RCW 26.10.160 and adds a new chapter to Title 26. The new law allows for grandparents and other relatives by blood or marriage (including step-family members) the ability to seek an order regarding visits with a child who is not their biological child. This law goes into effect on June 7, 2018.
The following is King County related information about this new cause of action:
- A new set of statewide pattern forms will be made available from the Washington State Office of the Administrator for the Courts, including:
- Petition for Visits,
- Response to Petition,
- Motion for Advanced Lawyer Fees & Costs,
- Order After Review of Petition, and
- Final Order and Findings on Petition.
- When those new statewide pattern forms are complete, you may find them here: https://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.static&staticID=14#FamLawForms
- Cases may be initiated upon the filing of a Petition for Visits. This is a new cause of action.
- The domestic filing fee of $260 applies.
- Cases will receive a case schedule and will be assigned to the Chief Unified Family Court (UFC) Judge, Judge Rietschel.
- The Chief UFC Judge will conduct an in camera review hearing to determine whether the case will go forward. If the case moves forward, the Chief UFC Judge will assign it to a UFC Department judge for trial. Both the in camera review hearing and trial date are set via the case schedule issued at the time of filing.