Family Court

Welcome to Pierce County Family Court

Pierce County Family Court consists of two judicial departments, commissioners and Family Court Services (supervisor, legal assistant, case coordinator and two staff GALs). It is a team dedicated to implementing the plan for Family Court while putting into practice learned lessons to reduce conflict and timely resolve disputes involving the custody of children. 

Main Goals

The main goals of Family Court include:
  • Identify, segregate and prioritize cases involving the custody of children.
  • Provide consistent and timely judicial decision-making with intensive case management, settlement conferences and education to litigants using Impact on Children seminars to speed case resolution and reduce conflict.
  • Provide early judicial intervention.

Main Types of Cases

The types of cases that are in Family Court:
  • Modification of custody
  • Non-parental custody
  • Relocations
  • When a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is authorized in a matter involving parenting plans (dissolutions, legal separations, petition for residential schedule) and there is at least 90 days until the original trial date
  • De Facto Parentage Petitions
  • Relative Visitation Petitions

Helpful Resources

Use the links below to help your understanding of Family Court procedures and processes.

Specific to Pierce County

Non Parental Law Change as of January 1, 2021

The current law regarding Non Parental Custody, RCW 26.10 will no longer be in effect after December 31, 2020.You must conclude your case prior to this date by either default, agreement, dismissal, or trial; otherwise your case will be dismissed by the court and you will need to file a new Petition for minor Guardianship under RCW 11.130.185 et seq.

EFFECTIVE January 1, 2021, any temporary orders entered, other than those entered pursuant to RCW 26.10.115, will no longer be valid. Any final orders signed in your case will remain effective.

Please plan to mediate or otherwise participate in alternative dispute resolution to avoid trial and bring your case to resolution prior to December 31, 2020. If the resolution of your case is likely to require trial and your trial date is scheduled after December 31, 2020, you may bring a motion to accelerate your trial date with your assigned judge.