7.105.100  <<  7.105.105 >>   7.105.110

FilingProvisions governing all petitions. (Effective July 1, 2022.)

The following apply to all petitions for protection orders under this chapter.
(1)(a) By January 1, 2023, county clerks on behalf of all superior courts and, by January 1, 2026, all courts of limited jurisdiction, must permit petitions for protection orders and all other filings in connection with the petition to be submitted as preferred by the petitioner either: (i) In person; (ii) remotely through an electronic submission process; or (iii) by mail for persons who are incarcerated or who are otherwise unable to file in person or remotely through an electronic system. The court or clerk must make all electronically filed court documents available for electronic access by judicial officers statewide. Judicial officers may not be charged for access to such documents. The electronic filing system must allow for protection orders to be filed at any time of the day. Petitioners and respondents should not be charged for electronic filing for petitions and documents filed pursuant to this section.
(b) By January 1, 2023, all superior courts' systems and, by January 1, 2026, all limited jurisdiction courts' systems, should allow for the petitioner to electronically track the progress of the petition for a protection order. Notification may be provided by text messaging or email, and should provide reminders of court appearances and alert the petitioner when the following occur: (i) The petition has been processed and is under review by a judicial officer; (ii) the order has been signed; (iii) the order has been transmitted to law enforcement for entry into the Washington crime information center system; (iv) return of service upon the respondent has been filed with the court or clerk; and (v) a receipt for the surrender of firearms has been filed with the court or clerk. Respondents, once served, should be able to sign up for similar electronic notification. Petitioners and respondents should not be charged for electronic notification.
(2) The petition must be accompanied by a confidential document to be used by the courts and law enforcement to fully identify the parties and serve the respondent. This record will be exempt from public disclosure at all times, and restricted access to this form is governed by general rule 22 provisions governing access to the confidential information form. The petitioner is required to fill out the confidential party information form to the petitioner's fullest ability. The respondent must be served with a blank confidential party information form, and when the respondent first appears, the respondent must confirm with the court the respondent's identifying and current contact information, including electronic means of contact, and file this with the court.
(3) A petition must be accompanied by a declaration signed under penalty of perjury stating the specific facts and circumstances for which relief is sought. Parties, attorneys, and witnesses may electronically sign sworn statements in all filings.
(4) The petitioner and the respondent must disclose the existence of any other litigation or of any other restraining, protection, or no-contact orders between the parties, to the extent that such information is known by the petitioner and the respondent. To the extent possible, the court shall take judicial notice of any existing restraining, protection, or no-contact orders between the parties before entering a protection order. The court shall not include provisions in a protection order that would allow the respondent to engage in conduct that is prohibited by another restraining, protection, or no-contact order between the parties that was entered in a different proceeding. The obligation to disclose the existence of any other litigation includes, but is not limited to, the existence of any other litigation concerning the custody or residential placement of a child of the parties as set forth in RCW 26.27.281. The court administrator shall verify for the court the terms of any existing protection order governing the parties.
(5) The petition may be made regardless of whether or not there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition, or other action between the parties, except in cases where the court has realigned the parties in accordance with RCW 7.105.210.
(6) Relief under this chapter must not be denied or delayed on the grounds that the relief is available in another action. The court shall not defer acting on a petition for a protection order nor grant a petitioner less than the full relief that the petitioner is otherwise entitled to under this chapter because there is, or could be, another proceeding involving the parties including, but not limited to, any potential or pending family law matter or criminal matter.
(7) A person's right to petition for relief under this chapter is not affected by the person leaving his or her residence or household.
(8) A petitioner is not required to post a bond to obtain relief in any proceeding for a protection order.
(9)(a) No fees for service of process may be charged by a court or any public agency to petitioners seeking relief under this chapter. Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, courts may not charge petitioners any fees or surcharges the payment of which is a condition precedent to the petitioner's ability to secure access to relief under this chapter. Petitioners shall be provided the necessary number of certified copies, forms, and instructional brochures free of charge. A respondent who is served electronically with a protection order shall be provided a certified copy of the order free of charge upon request.
(b) A filing fee may be charged for a petition for an antiharassment protection order except as follows:
(i) No filing fee may be charged to a petitioner seeking an antiharassment protection order against a person who has engaged in acts of stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110, or from a person who has engaged in conduct that would constitute a sex offense as defined in RCW 9A.44.128, or from a person who is a family or household member or intimate partner who has engaged in conduct that would constitute domestic violence; and
(ii) The court shall waive the filing fee if the court determines the petitioner is not able to pay the costs of filing.
(10) If the petition states that disclosure of the petitioner's address or other identifying location information would risk harm to the petitioner or any member of the petitioner's family or household, that address may be omitted from all documents filed with the court. If the petitioner has not disclosed an address under this subsection, the petitioner shall designate an alternative address or email address at which the respondent may serve the petitioner.
(11) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, or as provided through alternative sources including, but not limited to, grants, local funding, or pro bono means, if the court deems it necessary, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a petitioner or a respondent who is under 18 years of age and who is not represented by counsel. If a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court for either or both parties, neither the petitioner nor the respondent shall be required by the court to pay any costs associated with the appointment.
(12) Minor children must only be referred to in the petition and in all other publicly available filed documents by their initials and date of birth. Any orders issued by the court for entry into a law enforcement database must show the minor's full name for purposes of identification, but be redacted to only display initials and date of birth for purposes of public access.
(13) If a petitioner has requested an ex parte temporary protection order, because these are often emergent situations, the court shall prioritize review, either entering an order without a hearing or scheduling and holding an ex parte hearing in person, by telephone, by video, or by other electronic means on the day the petition is filed if possible. Otherwise, it must be heard no later than the following judicial day. The clerk shall ensure that the request for an ex parte temporary protection order is presented timely to a judicial officer, and signed orders will be returned promptly to the clerk for entry and to the petitioner as specified in this section.
(14) Courts shall not require a petitioner to file duplicative forms.
(15) The Indian child welfare act applies in the following manner.
(a) In a proceeding under this chapter where the petitioner seeks to protect a minor and the petitioner is not the minor's parent as defined by RCW 13.38.040, the petition must contain a statement alleging whether the minor is or may be an Indian child as defined in RCW 13.38.040. If the minor is an Indian child, chapter 13.38 RCW and the federal Indian child welfare act, 25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq., shall apply. A party should allege in the petition if these laws have been satisfied in a prior proceeding and identify the proceeding.
(b) Every order entered in any proceeding under this chapter where the petitioner is not a parent of the minor or minors protected by the order must contain a finding that the federal Indian child welfare act or chapter 13.38 RCW does or does not apply, or if there is insufficient information to make a determination, the court must make a finding that a determination must be made before a full protection order may be entered. If there is reason to know the child is an Indian child, but the court does not have sufficient evidence to determine that the child is or is not an Indian child, 25 C.F.R. Sec. 23.107(b) applies. Where there is a finding that the federal Indian child welfare act or chapter 13.38 RCW does apply, the order must also contain a finding that all notice, evidentiary requirements, and placement preferences under the federal Indian child welfare act and chapter 13.38 RCW have been satisfied, or a finding that removal or placement of the child is necessary to prevent imminent physical damage or harm to the child pursuant to 25 U.S.C. Sec. 1922 and RCW 13.38.140. Where there is a finding that the federal Indian child welfare act or chapter 13.38 RCW does not apply, the order must also contain a finding as to why there is no reason to know the child may be an Indian child.

NOTES:

Effective date2021 c 215: See note following RCW 7.105.900.
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