Parenting Plans/Custody

Know Your Rights

Parentage and Parenting Plans

Learn the laws that apply when you have a child and you are not married to or in a registered domestic partnership with the child’s other parent. #3601EN

Parenting Plans: General Info

What a parenting plan is and how to get one. Learn how to enforce or change a permanent parenting plan. #3230EN

Changing a Parenting Plan or Child Custody Order

Learn more about when and how you can change the final court order awarding custody and visitation of your children. This order might be a Custody Decree or Order, Residential Schedule, or Parenting Plan. #3104EN

I Was Served with Parentage (or Petition for Parenting Plan or Child Support) Papers

If you were served with parentage, petition for parenting plan or child support papers, you must respond promptly. If you do not respond on time, the other party may automatically win. You may have as few as four business days to file a response. This will help you figure out what to do. #3614EN

Child Protective Services (CPS) and Dependency Actions

Read this if you are involved with Child Protective Services, but there is no court case or if the State of Washington (through DSHS, CPS, the Prosecutor, or the Attorney General’s Office) has filed a court case to take your child from you. #3120EN

FAQ: Someone is trying to get guardianship of my kids

Find out your rights and options if if you've been served with court papers from a Washington court seeking to name someone else guardian of your children. #4405EN

File a Motion for Revision in a Family Law Case

Use this to ask a judge to change (revise) a court commissioner's order. #3901EN

Name Change

In Washington State, if you are eighteen or older, you can choose and use any name you wish, as long as you are not trying to defraud (cheat) someone. This describes the process. #3400EN

Non-Parent Custody has changed to Minor Guardianship

Washington state's non-parent custody law ended in 2021 and a new court procedure called minor guardianship has taken its place. Read a brief overview here. #3128EN

Questions and Answers about Washington's Relocation Law

If you have legal custody of your child, and you wish to move (relocate) and take the child with you, Washington State law may require you to do certain things first. Read this to learn what to do. #3135EN

Should I file a domestic violence protection order (DVPO)?

If you are being hurt, threatened or stalked, try to talk with a domestic violence program. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE. This explains things to think about before filing a DVPO. #3703EN

The other parent has taken my child

Read this if the other parent or person claiming the right to legal custody has taken your children away from you (with or without a court order). #3118EN

Unmarried Couples: Washington Parenting Law

Basic information about Washington State law that applies to parenting when unmarried couples separate. #3912EN

What happens to my kids if I am sick or die?

If you are a single parent, you may worry who will care for your kids if something happens to you. This explains your options. You should also talk to a lawyer. #3115EN

Tips for phone and video hearings

How to get ready for and conduct yourself during a remote hearing (over the phone or by video-conference). #9961EN

Child Protective Services (CPS) and Dependency Actions

Read this if you are involved with Child Protective Services, but there is no court case or if the State of Washington (through DSHS, CPS, the Prosecutor, or the Attorney General’s Office) has filed a court case to take your child from you. #3120EN

Guardians ad Litem in Family Law Cases

A judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) in a court case about custody or visitation rights. Any party to the case may ask for appointment of a GAL, or the judge can decide to appoint one. This packet has the necessary forms and instructions. #3103EN

How to Work with GALs and Parenting Evaluators

If you are involved in a divorce, paternity or non-parent custody case where the other parent does not agree with you, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) or Parenting Evaluator. Here are some tips to help you work successfully with the GAL. #3106EN

Guardian Ad Litem Report: The basics and how to respond

If you're fighting about a parenting plan in a family law case in a Washington court, read this to learn what a guardian ad litem does, why the report matters, and how to respond to a report when its recommendations don't help you. #3111EN

What happens to my kids if I am sick or die?

If you are a single parent, you may worry who will care for your kids if something happens to you. This explains your options. You should also talk to a lawyer. #3115EN

Questions and Answers about Washington's Relocation Law

If you have legal custody of your child, and you wish to move (relocate) and take the child with you, Washington State law may require you to do certain things first. Read this to learn what to do. #3135EN

Filing a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

Read our resource The Other Parent has Taken My Child before using this. Use this if you have a court order giving you custody of your child and the other parent has taken your child away from you. #3119EN

The other parent has taken my child

Read this if the other parent or person claiming the right to legal custody has taken your children away from you (with or without a court order). #3118EN

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