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    (a) Description and Applicability.  To assist self-represented parties involved in family law matters and improve the efficiency of the court, King County Superior Court Family Court shall conduct an Orientation Program for parties in all cases filed under Chapter 26.09 RCW, including dissolutions of marriage, legal separations and major parenting plan modifications. Parties modifying only Child Support shall not be required to attend.
    (b) Mandatory Attendance.  In all cases referred to in Section (a) above, all self-represented parties shall successfully complete the Orientation Program within thirty (30) days of filing or service of the summons and petition.  Successful completion shall be evidenced by a certificate of attendance filed with the court by Family Court Operations staff.  Any party attending the Orientation Program prior to obtaining a King County Superior Court cause number shall be responsible for filing his or her certificate of attendance in the court file when the cause number is obtained.
        (1) Out of County Resident. A party residing outside of King County shall be excused from attending the Orientation Program if attendance would be a hardship.  Such parties are required to review the Orientation Program materials and file a sworn declaration that they have done so.
        (2) Represented Parties.   Attendance at the Orientation Program shall be excused for a party represented by counsel, provided that if the party becomes self-represented before entry of final orders, such party shall attend the orientation seminar, unless waived for good cause.
        (3) Good Cause.  The court may excuse a party from attending the Orientation Program or permit a party to review the materials and file a sworn declaration that he or she has done so as an alternative to in-person attendance, for good cause shown.
        (4) Service. The petitioner shall serve the Notice of Mandatory Orientation Program on all respondents at the time the Summons and Petition is served.  If a joinder to the petition is filed, the petitioner shall provide the Notice of Mandatory Orientation Program to any joining party within seven (7) days of filing of the joinder.
        (5) Special Considerations.  Opposing parties shall not be required to attend the Orientation Program together.  
        (6) Renewal.  The court may reinstitute the requirement to attend the Orientation Program at any time in cases where attendance was previously excused.
    (c) Failure to Comply.  Delay, refusal or default by one party does not excuse timely compliance by any other party.  The Orientation Registration Form shall be submitted to Family Court Services.  See section (a) above.  Unless attendance at the seminar is excused, any party requesting a hearing, including those parties seeking to enter final orders in the action, and any party responding to a request for hearing, shall attend the Orientation Program prior to obtaining affirmative relief.   Attendance at the Orientation Program shall not be required prior to emergency hearings or the issuance of restraining orders.  Willful refusal or delay by any party may constitute contempt of court and result in sanctions imposed by the court, including the imposition of monetary terms, default or striking of pleadings.
    (d) Fee.  Each party attending the Orientation Program, or who has been approved to review the materials in lieu of attendance, shall pay a fee charged by Family Court Operations and approved by the court.  The court shall provide the service at no expense for indigent parties.

[Adopted effective January 1, 2011; amended effective September 2, 2014.]