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Kitsap County Family Law Attorney

How do I file for divorce in Kitsap County?

You must file your initial divorce pleadings with the clerk's office.  You may file in-person, by mail, or via a process server.  At a minimum, you must file a petition for divorce, a summons, a case information cover sheet, and a confidential information form.

You should consider filing a proposed parenting plan and schedule a hearing on temporary orders, if you have minor children. 

You must address all documents to Kitsap County Clerk's Office, 614 Division Street, M/S 34, Port Orchard, WA 98366.

Upon receiving your summons and divorce petition, the court will enter automatic temporary orders.  As part of these orders, you and your spouse cannot transfer or dispose of any of your marital property and bank accounts. 

These temporary orders remain in effect until the court enters final orders after trial, or you and your spouse / other parent settle the case beforehand.

Do I have to file a proposed parenting plan?

You do not have to file a proposed plan when you start the divorce process but you will ultimately have to file one if your case goes to trial. 

How much does it cost to file for divorce?

As with most counties in Washington, the filing fee in Kitsap County is $314.  This does not include the costs of serving your spouse and the costs of hiring an attorney.

What happens after I file for divorce?

First, you must serve the divorce papers on your spouse, if you have not done so already.  (I recommend you serve before you file.  Filing is easier.  Serving can be more challenging).

You should then register for a parenting seminar, if minor children are involved.  You must attend the mandatory parenting seminar no later than 90 days after serve divorce papers / parentage papers on your spouse / the other parent and file proof with the court. 

Failure to attend the seminar can subject you to contempt. 

Can I appear for court remotely?

It depends.

Compared to other counties, Grant and King especially, in-person hearings are becoming a more regular occurrence.

  • You must appear in-person for the following hearings:
  • Parentage motions
  • Domestic Relations (i.e. divorce-related) motions
  • Trial
  • Contempt hearings

You may appear remotely for the following hearings:

  • Motions before the presiding judge
  • Ex-parte calendars (i.e. requests for temporary protection orders)
  • Civil protection orders (i.e. anti-stalking, anti-harassment, domestic violence protection orders)

You must appear remotely for settlement conferences. 

If you want to appear remotely for a mandatory in-person hearing, you must file a request at least two (2) days in advance and establish good cause. 

Do we have to engage in mediation before trial?


In this respect, Kitsap County is similar to most counties. 

But unlike other counties, Kitsap requires you to participate in a settlement conference with one of the assigned judges.  The judge who presides over your settlement conference will not be your trial judge or preside over any other non-settlement related hearings. 

You must file with the clerk's office a Note for Settlement Conference & Trial Setting within 90 days of filing your divorce / parentage case.

When will trial occur?

If the case is not settled at the settlement conference, the Court will assign a trial date no later than 120 days from the settlement conference.  Upon request, the settlement judge may schedule a later trial date.

When are family law hearings held in Kitsap County?

Parentage cases are heard Tuesday mornings at 9:00 am.  Most other family law cases are heard Friday morning at 9:00 am. 

How do I schedule a court hearing in Kitsap County?

You can file and schedule your motion online through the clerk's office.  You have to file your motion and all supporting documents with the clerk's office no later than 14 calendar days before the hearing.

After receiving your motion, your spouse / the other parent must file a response no later than three (3) daysbefore the hearing.    

You then have the option of filing a reply to the response no later than one (1) day before the hearing.  Your reply materials cannot exceed five (5) pages double-spaced.

These deadlines, as well as detailed instructions for filing and serving family law motions, can be found in the Kitsap County Superior Court Local Family Law Rules.

Which judge will preside over my hearing?

Unless and until your case goes to trial, a court commissioner will preside over your court hearings, including any temporary order hearings.

A court commissioner is a full-time judicial officer who supports the judges in managing their family law caseload.  Although they are not technically judges, they exercise the full power and authority as a judge. 

If you are unhappy with the commissioner's decision, you have the right to file a motion for revision.  This is a special type of appeal in which you ask one of the full-time judges to review the commissioner's hearing. The judge may modify or change the hearing based on further argument.

Under RCW 2.24.050, you have up to 10 days to file a motion for revision.

Will I be able to testify at the hearing?

Not likely.

In most cases, the court commissioner will rule after reviewing your written pleadings (i.e. motions, declarations, exhibits) and listening to oral argument. 

In “unusual circumstances” (this is what the local rules say), the court will allow oral testimony.  But don't count on this happening, so it is important you make your written pleadings as clear and comprehensive as possible.

Will I have a jury trial?

No.  In Kitsap County, as in all divorce cases, you do not have a right to a jury trial.  A judge will preside over your case.  In rare cases, a court commissioner will hear your case. 

Case Review

Contact us for a Case Review. We are available 24/7, including weekends and holidays.

Seattle Location
206.829.8545 (fax)
Mon: 08:00am - 06:00pm
Tue: 08:00am - 06:00pm
Wed: 08:00am - 06:00pm
Thu: 08:00am - 06:00pm
Fri: 08:00am - 06:00pm
Sat: 08:00am - 06:00pm
Sun: 08:00am - 06:00pm