Our Process

Not just preparing cases for clients. Preparing clients for cases.

When it's time to involve an attorney in a problem you're facing, you likely already feel powerless. That stops now. At Helland Law Group our attorneys know the legal process inside and out, including how to help you do your part so they can do their best work on your behalf.

From filing to final order: The court process in Washington State

Looking for a basic overview of the court process? Although every case is different, the information below is a general guideline of how most legal cases proceed in Washington state. Cases can be resolved at any step in this process and many cases never reach trial.

      1) Filing

      Most cases start by the filing of a Summons and Complaint (or “petition” in many family law matters). Unfortunately, the party filing the lawsuit often has to pay a filing fee with the court clerk. At the time that your case is filed, the court will often generate a “case schedule” including important dates and deadlines.

      Once a case has been filed, the opposing party needs to be provided notice of the proceeding, this is often done through having the party “served,” or having their attorney accept service.

          2) Discovery, motions, and trial

          This is the portion of the court process where most of the proceedings occur, and resolution is often reached. Sometimes it is necessary for a party to file a motion with the court. Motions are essentially requests that the court grant a party some form of relief (implement a temporary parenting plan, award attorney’s fees, exclude an expert witness, etc.).

          During the middle stage, it is often important for a party to engage in discovery. Discovery is the process of obtaining information relevant to your case. This may include employment information, medical records, asking a spouse particular questions, or asking the opposing party to produce documents.

          If the parties are not able to reach an agreed resolution on a matter, very often it proceeds to trial. Most cases never reach this stage, as the parties are able to reach an agreement prior to trial. A trial involves each party putting forward evidence and testimony to the jury or judge.

              3) Final orders

              A legal matter is often concluded when a court enters a final judgment or decree. If the final order is a result of trial, the non-prevailing party’s period to seek an appeal begins to run when the court enters the final decree or judgment.

                  Your free 30-minute consultation

                  To help you determine whether or not we would be a good fit for you, we offer a free 30-minute consultation with one of our attorneys. We will discuss your legal issues and allow you to learn more about us. Although phone consultations are available, to get the most out of a consultation we recommend that you personally visit our office.

                  Get set for your first meeting with a lawyer
                  Making sure you’re ready for your free 30-minute consultation is crucial. It can save you money in the long run and make sure that your first meeting with a lawyer is productive. The following checklists will help you to make sure you’re as prepared as possible.

                      ▲ back to top ▲