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Responding to a family law motion in Washington

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Child Custody, Modifications

The Washington family law system is complex and can be intimidating. This can be especially true when you receive a motion from the opposing party.

What is a family law motion?

A family law motion is a legal document filed with the court requesting a change in your case’s current orders. Many different types of motions can be filed, but some of the most common include the following:

  • Modifications of a parenting plan/custody order
  • Establish or modify child support
  • Contempt/enforcement of order
  • Motion to vacate (set aside) an order
  • Motion for reconsideration of an order

When to respond to a family law motion

If you are served with a family law motion in Washington State, you must respond. In general, you must file a response within 20 days of being served with the motion. However, if the motion is for temporary orders, you must respond within 10 days.

How to respond to a family law motion

If you receive a family law motion from the other party in your case, take the time to understand what the motion is asking for and how it might impact your case. To respond to a family law motion, you must file a written response with the court. In your answer, it must be stated whether you agree or disagree with the relief requested in the motion.

If you disagree with the relief requested, you will need to explain why in your response. For example, suppose the other party is asking for sole custody of the children, and you disagree. In that case, you must explain why joint custody would be in the children’s best interests.

When to respond to a family law motion

Respond promptly and as soon as possible. If you fail to respond to a family law motion, the court may favor the person who filed the motion. Additionally, if you do not file a response to a motion for temporary orders, the court may grant the relief requested in the motion without holding a hearing.