of operation are: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (Closed daily-Noon to 1 p.m.)
In April 1998, the Thurston County Clerk's Office began its Family Court Facilitator Program. This program was designed to provide self-represented litigants access to the judicial system.
Additionally, facilitators provide assistance to self-represented parties involved in domestic relations matters by providing information about local court procedures, use of mandatory forms and by providing assistance in preparing child support worksheets based on the Washington State Child Support Guidelines by utilizing the family income. Facilitators also assist self-represented parties with ex parte procedures and provide assistance during court calendars.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of litigants filing actions without attorneys. This has been proven by the number of litigants that the facilitators meet with each year. During 2003, facilitators met with 2,067 people. During 2004 the facilitators met with 3,166 people, an increase of 1,099 people. Since then, the numbers have increased and the facilitator service has proven to be a valuable resource.
The Family Court Facilitators
Parties representing themselves are called pro
se litigants. The Clerk’s Office has Family Court Facilitators available
to assist pro se litigants involved in domestic relations cases such as dissolution, legal separation,
support/custody modification, contempt, non-parental custody and parentage
The facilitator is available to assist litigants
with court processes, understanding procedures, scheduling hearings and processing
The facilitator CAN
- Explain Court protocol
- Assist in identifying and selecting forms for family law cases
- Assist in scheduling hearings
- Check paperwork as to completeness prior to court
- Arrange for interpreter or other special services for court
- Refer to other agencies for special needs or legal advice
The facilitator CANNOT
- Give legal advice
- Represent party in court
- Complete the forms for any party
- Tell any party what to say
- Provide assistance in any other case types
- Verify the accuracy of information provided
- Answer questions about the meaning or effect of forms or terms
- Establish an attorney-client relationship with you or provide you
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All meetings with the facilitator are by appointment only. If you have children, please do not bring them with you to your appointment. Appointments are 30 minutes and there is a $20 fee for the appointment. Please arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment in order to complete the required paperwork (Stop first at the Family Law Division of the Clerk's Office to verify your appointment and to pay the $20.00 fee).
Please complete your forms to the best of your ability PRIOR TO YOUR
APPOINTMENT to make the most of your appointment time.
* Bring your
completed paperwork and a list of
written questions you want to ask the Facilitator.
* All meetings with the facilitator are by appointment only. If you have children, please do not bring them with your to your appointment.
are 30 minutes and there is a $20 fee for the appointment.
Please arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment in order to complete the required
paperwork. Stop first at the Family Law Division of the Clerk's Office to verify your
appointment and to pay the $20.00 fee.
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Thurston County Clerk's Office
Family and Juvenile Court
32nd Avenue SW
(360) 709-3269 - Scheduling Only
case-specific information will be provided over the telephone.)
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
(Closed daily-Noon to 1 p.m.)
$20.00 per appointment. (RCW 26.12.240)
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Ex Parte Matters
you need an emergency order because of an urgent situation (such as a
restraining or custody order), need a fee waiver to file your case, or have an
agreed order that does not require a hearing, you may present your order on the
ex parte calendar.
All ex parte matters presented to the
court by self-represented parties are reviewed by a Court Facilitator for
completeness prior to presentation. Form
packets are available for certain ex parte matters.
Please check in and bring your completed paperwork to
the Facilitator for review by 8:00 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. Ex parte is heard twice daily at 8:30
a.m. and 4:00 p.m. It is recommended
that you have copies of your documents made prior to meeting with the
There is a $30 ex parte fee due when you check in for ex
parte. If your case is not ready or you have to come back back at another
time, there is another $30 ex parte fee due for handling your case again when
on your situation, you may need to notify the other party in advance of your
intention to seek an order to be signed ex parte. The Facilitator will
advise you in this regard. In that event, you should have the other
party's phone number available where you can reach him or her during the day.
meeting with the Facilitator for ex parte matters, only those documents being
presented ex parte are reviewed. If you are filing a new case or want the
facilitator to review other documents prior to seeing the Court Commissioner,
you will need to make an appointment.
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FAMILY COURT ORIENTATION
Dissolution and legal separation cases involving children are subject to family court orientation. Orientation must be scheduled at the time each new case is filed and must be attended within 30 days from the date of filing.
Family court orientation is an informational session in which litigants are provided with an opportunity to schedule the required Consider the Children seminar and also to attend a power point presentation regarding family law matters and procedures. The Facilitator's power point presentation is designated to help parents understand the court process. Information is provided on:
- serving the other party
- agreed cases
- contested cases
- temporary orders
- how to schedule hearings
- emergency orders
- notice to the other party
- attending the parenting class
- resolution methods
- finalizing the dissolution/legal separation
The Facilitator's presentation provides valuable information that is useful to parents in processing their dissolution to completion.
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THURSTON COUNTY VOLUNTEER LEGAL CLINIC
Legal advice clinics are available for low income residents of Thurston and Mason Counties in the areas of family law, landlord-tenant law and consumer law. To be screened for an appointment, call the toll free CLEAR intake line at 1-888-201-1014. For more information, call the Clinic office at (360) 705-8194.
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UNBUNDLED LEGAL SERVICES
A recent law (RPC Rule 1.2) now makes it possible for attorneys to offer limited legal representation (unbundled legal services). This means that self-represented parties can hire an attorney for limited assistance in their case, such as temporary orders, support or parenting plan modification, settlement conferences, trials, etc. The Clerk's Office at the Family and Juvenile Court maintains a binder containing attorneys offering these services along with the areas of practice and the fees each attorney charges. If you are interested in obtaining limited assistance, ask the Clerk's Office to view the binder for Unbundled Legal Services.
FOR ATTORNEYS who desire to be included in the list, please complete the PDF form or the WORD form for Unbundled Legal Services and return it to the Manager at the Clerk’s Office Family and Juvenile Court Division as soon as possible.
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