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.
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.