In general, there is no right to counsel at public expense in family (dissolution) proceedings, even when they involve children.
Read the WA State Supreme Court case King v. King, here.
The right to counsel at public expense in child custody proceedings is limited in Washington State.
This practice advisory outlines the types of cases where any parent who is indigent (unable to afford retaining an attorney), including an incarcerated parent, is entitled to court-appointed counsel in child custody proceedings.
Incarcerated parents in Washington State face barriers to accessing legal assistance in family law matters.
Because many parents cannot afford to retain an attorney in their family law cases, the “Family Law” court forms are written in a way to make it easier for parents to represent themselves. Most civil legal aid providers that have family law expertise provide legal assistance, not legal representation. This practice advisory describes when a person releasing from jail or prison is not prohibited in receiving family law legal assistance.
Family law assistance is provided either online or in person at these civil legal aid providers. Family law information packets, including instructions and forms, for Washington State cases can also be found online. Other resources can be found at the courthouse itself.