This page provides information and forms for the following types of Domestic Cases: Dissolutions under RCW Chapter 26.09, third party custody cases under RCW Chapter 26.10, parentage actions under RCW Chapter 26.26.
Click HERE to view the Family Law Handbook.
“DELAY IN REPEAL OF RCW 26.10”
Please refer to: Proclamation by Governor Inslee, Amending Proclamations
NON-PARENTAL CUSTODY ALERT
IMPENDING LAW CHANGE
The legislature did away with the Non-Parental Custody statute effective January 30, 2021. Because of the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the Governor has given parties additional time to complete pending Non-Parental Custody cases, but that could change at any time. The legislature enacted a new statute, the Minor Guardianship statute, to take the place of the Non-Parental Custody statute.
If you are a party to a Non-Parental Custody case where the final orders have not been signed by the Court. You are urged to take immediate action to either finalize/resolve your case, dismiss your Non-Parental Custody petition, or convert your case into a Minor Guardianship case.
What are my options?
1.) If all parties were properly served in your Non-Parental Custody case and failed to respond or appear in Court, you may file a motion and notice of hearing to complete your case by a Default Order and entry of final orders.
2.) If all parties in your Non-Parental Custody case were served and agree to the Non-Parental Custody, then you may file a motion to enter agreed final orders.
3.) You may choose to dismiss your Non-Parental Custody case, by filing a motion to dismiss, a declaration explaining why you wish to dismiss the case, and a Notice of Hearing.
4.) You may convert your Non-Parental Custody case into a Minor Guardianship case.
It is critical to your Non-Parental Custody case that you proceed in one of the four methods noted above. If the timeline for completing your Non-Parental Custody case expires without your taking action, which could happen at any time, your Non-Parental Custody case is no longer a method to gain custody of the child/ren in your petition. At that time, the Court will be unable to enforce any temporary orders of Non-Parental Custody and/or restraining orders issued.
Please go to www.courts.wa.gov/forms to locate the forms you need to complete your case. See the section for Minor Guardianships, which includes order number 502, which is a petition to terminate or change (modify) a minor guardianship or non-parental custody order. Also see the Non-Parental Custody section for orders needed to complete your case if you can do so prior to the termination of the State of Emergency. You may wish to counsel to assist you during this process.
COVID-19 FAMILY LAW INFORMATION
ALL FAMILY LAW ORDERS MUST BE FOLLOWED
* Parenting Plans
* Restraining Orders
* Child Support Orders, and
* Any other temporary or final order signed by a judicial officer.
You must continue to pay your child support obligation. If you are unable to pay your child support obligation for any reason, you may discuss your options with the Washington State Division of Child Support at https://www.dshs.wa.gov/location/dshs-dcs-ken.
You may NOT withhold parenting time from a parent for failing to pay support.
PARENTING PLANS MUST BE FOLLOWED
Court-ordered parenting time must be followed and permitted where possible. If the government is permitting individuals to leave their homes to obtain necessary provisions, go for walks, etc., then the court deems CHILD EXCHANGES AS ESSENTIAL.
*Spring/Summer Break, Vacation and /or holiday:
While school may be out of session at this time, this is not considered summer break, spring break, or a holiday. Parents shall follow the holiday and school break residential schedules in place at the beginning of the school year.
*Parenting Time in Public Places:
Governor Inslee has forbidden all nonessential gatherings, regardless of size. If the parenting plan states that parenting time will occur in a public place, parenting time should continue at locations that are permitted under the health and safety guidelines for the state, such as a large park, or nature hike. If that is not possible, then the parenting time should be conducted virtually via videoconferencing or by telephone.
*Supervised Parenting Time:
If the parenting plan is ordered to be supervised, and the supervisor is unavailable due to COVID-19 related issues or government orders, the parties should work collaboratively to ensure parenting time continues to occur in a manner that promotes their children’s safety and wellbeing, such as finding an alternative supervisor. If that is not possible, then the parenting time should be conducted virtually via videoconferencing or by telephone.
*Parenting Plan Impossible to Follow:
In those limited circumstances where parenting time cannot be followed, for example because the exchange requires the child to fly to the other parent and the airline has cancelled those flights, parents should liberally allow the other parent access to the child via videoconferencing or by telephone.
*Exchanges “after school” or “at school”:
If your child is not attending school and it is an exchange day, communicate with the other parent and find an agreed upon exchange time and location. If no other time is specified in writing, use the approximate time school would have been out (for example 3:00 p.m.). If you can’t exchange the child at someone’s home, find a public place as close to the child’s school as possible to make the exchange.
If your child is sick with something “regular” (not requiring emergency medical assistance or COVID-19 symptoms), the child should be exchanged at regular parenting times unless your parenting plan states that a sick child stays with one parent, or the parents otherwise agree.
*Other Parent is not Protective:
You may feel the other parent is not following social distancing guidelines or not following a structured schedule that you have set up in your home, this is not a basis to withhold parenting time. As a general rule, each parent is able to use their own good judgment about what to do when they have the child, so long as their actions are not violating the law.
Make-up time may be requested by a parent whose parenting time has been impacted due to COVID-19 related issues once the court’s regular schedule is resumed. Parents are encouraged to come to agreement on make-up time on the own prior to filing a motion with the court.
For more information, court-wide Coronavirus announcements for Benton-Franklin Superior Court can be found here: http://www.benton-franklinsuperiorcourt.com/administration/coronavirus/
Please check back frequently as things are changing rapidly.
Franklin County Domestic/Paternity Calendar
8:30 a.m to Noon (Overflow will start at 1:30 p.m.)
Franklin County Domestic Violence Calendar
Franklin County Domestic Settlement Conferences
Benton County Domestic Status Conferences
8:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Benton County Domestic Calendar
8:30 a.m to Noon
Benton County Paternity Calendar
10:30 a.m. to Noon
Benton County Domestic Contempt Calendar
Benton County Domestic Over-Ten Calendar
Benton County Domestic State and Pro Se Calendar
Benton County Prosser Domestic Calendar
8:30 a.m. to Noon
Benton County Domestic Settlement Conferences
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Benton County Domestic Violence Calendar
Mediation. By Local Rule, a domestic case cannot go to trial unless the parties have mediated the disputed issues. Click below for a list of approved mediators.
Settlement Conference. By Local Rule, a domestic case cannot go to trial unless the parties have participated in a settlement confernce with judicial officer to attempt to resolve disputed issues. Click below for the form for the required Position Statement.
Parenting Seminars. By Local Rule, the court will not enter a temporary or final parenting plan unless the parties have taken a mandatory parenting seminar. Click HERE for a list of approved parenting seminar providers.
July 21, 2021
Superior Court Statement On Gradual Transition To In Person Appearances In Court
The Superior Court has indicated in its most recent masking order that in criminal proceedings there is a general presumption of personal appearance. Specifying a presumption in criminal matters is necessary to recognize the unique requirements of identity and presence for some criminal hearings. While the Court wants parties and counsel to start moving more toward in person appearances generally as we re-open, we recognize that this is a process that takes time, and that the Supreme Court’s Emergency Orders are still in effect allowing remote appearances where appropriate. Some counsel and/or their families have health concerns that make it appropriate to continue to appear remotely, as do some litigants. If Counsel, or a party has a reason to continue to appear remotely on any docket, and does not wish to state it on the record, they may contact Court Administration so that it can be communicated to the bench.
Court's Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
En respuesta a la nueva pandemia de coronavirus (o COVID-19), nuestros servicios estaran limitados
Click HERE for the latest information concerning the Court's response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Effective September 1, 2021 - 2021 Superior Court
Local Court Rules
Click HERE for a description of the Ex Parte process.
The Courts will be closed for Independence Day on Monday, July 5, 2021.
Please refer to the Court Holiday Schedule to see changes to regular calendar.
Click HERE for information and attestation form.
Superior Court Administration Benton County Justice Center
7122 W Okanogan Pl
Kennewick, WA 99336
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the Court’s information on the internet pages, the Benton and Franklin Counties Superior Courts cannot insure 100% accuracy. The data and links are provided for informational purposes only and may not have been updated on the date you view it. The Courts assume no liability for any legal consequences arising out of any information on these pages.