Most (if not all) family law cases in Washington will involve a pattern form. Pattern forms are forms provided by the state of Washington for use in proceedings in Washington cases. Family law is an area of law with a number of forms designed for all different types of family law cases. If you are considering filing a family law action in Washington, it is worthwhile to review the Washington State pattern forms to give you an idea of what types of issues the court can and will address during your proceedings.
Washington State pattern forms may be found here.
Most cases begin with either a petition or a motion. Both of these documents are used to alert the court to the issue at hand and to ask the court to do something regarding the issue. Looking at these pattern form documents can give you an idea of what you can ask the court to do as part of your case. In some cases it will also give you some idea of what you’ll need to prove to obtain the results you want.
Most cases end (unless dismissed or withdrawn) with an order. Many family law issues have pattern order forms. These documents can be especially helpful, because they provide litigants (or potential litigants) an idea of what the court may order the parties to do at the conclusion of the case. For example, a quick review of the Washington order of child support pattern form will show that the court may order the parents to provide health insurance for the child in addition to basic child support.
Reviewing both the initial filing forms and the orders in the type of case you are thinking of filing is a good way to prepare for your first meeting with a family law attorney. This review gives you a brief introduction to some of the legal terms and issues that will be important during your case, and it can help you develop questions to ask your family law attorney during your first meeting.
While a review of the forms is worthwhile, it is important to note that many forms can be modified to suit the needs of a particular case. Just because a particular form of relief is not written in a proposed order does not necessarily mean it cannot be added. A family law attorney can advise you on what types of modifications can and should be made to your family law forms prior to submission to the court and the other party.
Some counties have forms too. These can be found at county websites or at the county courthouse. County forms are used in addition to mandatory state forms.
If you are involved in or considering a family law action, it is worth it to look at the family law forms that may be used in your case. If you decide you want to file a family law action and you need an attorney, please contact us today. We represent Seattle-area families in all types of family law cases.