Room 314, 128 North 2nd Street, Yakima, WA 98901
Honorable Robert W. Inouye
Honorable Lani-Kai Swanhart
Honorable Gayle M. Harthcock
YAKIMA COUNTY COURT FACILITATOR
If you are requesting a change in visitation or custody and you have an existing case number you may file for custody modification. You can purchase a “Custody Modification Book” in room 323 of the courthouse for $40.00. This book contains all of the forms, samples and instructions necessary to start and finalize your modification. The filing fee is $56.00
If you need assistance in completing this packet, you may schedule an appointment with the Facilitator by calling (509) 574-2695.
1. Do I need an attorney?
You are not required to have an attorney and you may represent yourself. You may also hire an attorney at any time.
2. What is the basis for a change of custody?
Your child has moved in with you with the full consent of the other parent or the child is in danger of physical or emotional harm in the custodial parent’s home and your home offers more safety and security or the custodial parent has been held in contempt of court twice in the last three years for violation of the parenting plan or has been convicted of custodial interference.
3. What is the basis for a change of visitation?
Your residence or job changed, and the parenting plan does not work because of that change or the requested change does not exceed 24 calendar days in a year or the current parenting plan does not provide reasonable residential time and your proposed parenting plan does not provide for more than 90 overnights per year.
4. Is there a certain age in which children get to decide where they want to live?
No. There is no specific age at which children can make legal decisions. The child’s wishes are not a basis for modification.
5. Will the Judge speak with the children?
If the court feels it is appropriate, the judge may interview the children or appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to speak with the children outside of court. The GAL may also speak to you and the other party.
6. What if the other party does not agree with my request?
If the other party disagrees with your request to modify the parenting plan, they must file a Response. You will then be required to schedule a hearing and serve the other party with notice.
7. What if I cannot find the other party?
You may request court permission to serve by mail to a last known address or family member’s address.
8. If I request a change of custody, do I have to ask for child support?
Yes. The child is entitled to support even if you or the other party do not want it.
9. Can I get an emergency custody order?
Yes. You may request the court grant you emergency custody. If the court feels it is appropriate, they may sign an order immediately.
10. Do I have to go to court?
If the other party responds, you will have to go to court. You may have several court hearings.