Domestic relations cases includes dissolution (divorce), paternity, child support, third-party custody, and adoption.
Guardian ad Litem Program
The court also provides guardian ad litems (GAL) to represent the interests of children in custodial or visitation cases. That program is administered by the Superior Court Clerk's Office, which is located on the second floor of the Hall of Justice, just outside of the entrance to Courtroom 2. If you need a GAL appointed in your case and you do not have an attorney, you should contact the Superior Court Clerk's Court Facilitator, who manages the Guardian ad Litem registry.
Court Facilitator Services
The Court Facilitator also assists unrepresented parties work their way through the legal system to move their case to resolution. Certain final paperwork MUST be reviewed by the Facilitator or a family law attorney before those matters can be put on the docket for final hearing per CCLCR 92.
Other Civil Legal Aid
If you qualify for their services (Generally based on income limitations), there are two legal aid programs in the county. The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Legal Aid Program (CWLAP) is maintained by the local Bar Association and provides referrals and forms assistance and can help arrange for a volunteer attorney in some cases. Northwest Justice Project (NJP)also maintains a local office to assist low income individuals. Both programs require you to be pre-qualified for their services which may be done online at the Northwest Justice Project's website or by calling the CLEAR hotline at 1-888-201-1014.
In addition, both CWLAP and NJP have volunteer lawyers present on the second floor of the Hall of Justice each Wednesday from 9:00 to approximately Noon. If you arrive early, you can often get some assistance with your questions.