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Application Instructions: Guardian Ad Litem

The GAL application period is open and King County Superior Court is accepting applications through August 31, 2020, for the Title 11, Title 26, Minor Settlement, and Adoption registries effective January 1, 2021. The Court is opening the registries to current, new and former GALs; all members currently serving on a Certified Registry must reapply to remain on the registry.

Interested applicants must complete the application packet, submit a resume and any other required attachments to: SCGAL@KINGCOUNTY.GOV by the due date.

Update from the Ex Parte & Probate Department re: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Activities

Governor Inslee has issued moratoriums on certain garnishments, evictions, late fees, and other related issues Please note there have been moratoria that were declared after the Court’s most recent Emergency Order. King County Superior Court will abide by all Governor’s Moratoria.
CLICK HERE to see the most updated Emergency Order for Ex Parte & Probate Operations effective until December 31, 2020. To the extent information on this website differs from prior Emergency Orders or memorandums, the procedures contained here should be followed. Please continue to check this website for further instruction and updates.

 A SUMMARY OF THOSE CHANGES IS AVAILABLE HERE.

Self-Represented

This document is to help you understand how to access the court during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Information in this handbook may be outdated or incomplete.  While the goal was to create a fairly comprehensive guide, the public health situation is constantly changing.  The procedures referred to in this handbook may have been changed and there may be new rules that apply to your case.  There are no substitute for checking to make sure that the procedures you intend to rely on have not changed.
 
Español: Este documento tiene como fin ayudarle a entender cómo conectarse con el tribunal durante la pandemia del COVID-19.  Los procedimientos mencionados en este manual pueden haber sido cambiados y puede haber nuevas reglas que se aplican a su caso. No hay sustituto para la comprobación para asegurarse de que los procedimientos en los que se va a confiar no han cambiado.

Ex Parte & Probate Department Operations

Ex Parte is a special department of Superior Court assigned responsibility, under Local Court Rules, for certain short matters and emergency or unopposed orders. The department also hears all Probate, TEDRA, Minor Settlements, Adoptions, Temporary Restraining and Family Law Orders and other matters not assigned to a judge.
Please note: King County Superior Court requires that certain ex parte matters be presented Ex Parte via the Clerk. Please review the Ex Parte via the Clerk website for information on related procedures.

Ex Parte & Probate Department: (206) 477-2517

Due to the volume of inquiries, parties are strongly encouraged to contact us via email:

Contacting Ex Parte via the Clerk.  EPVC is administered by the Superior Court Clerk.  For questions about the process or to check the status of a submitted order please contact the clerk.

General Guidance

In response to COVID-19, the Ex Parte Department had implemented substantial changes to the daily calendar schedule as well as policies and procedures related to individual case types. The purpose of the information provided here is to set clear and precise guidelines for parties and attorneys who appear before the Ex Parte Commissioners.

Telephonic Hearings Required

  • All hearings in the Ex Parte Department shall be telephonic.
  • Parties are not required to confirm their intention for telephonic appearance for noted hearings.
  • The court will only hear matters wherein parties have submitted timely working papers and call into the conference line as directed. The Court must have your working papers and updated proposed order in hand at the time of hearing or the matter may be continued.
  • Parties are strongly encouraged to utilize e-working copies. Parties in public pay guardianships may submit working papers to SCEXPARTEORDERS@kingcounty.gov. Parties in all cases may submit modified Proposed Orders to the above email should changes occur within 24 hours of a noted hearing.
  • In any case requiring notice, the moving party must give reasonable notice to all parties of the ability to participate by phone. Parties are encouraged to use this Notice of Telephonic Hearing and provide proof of service prior to hearing. Parties should continue to use normal date setting forms in addition to the Notice of Telephonic Hearing form. 

The court may require a party to appear in person at a hearing, conference, or proceeding if the court determines on a hearing-by-hearing basis that a personal appearance would materially assist in the determination of the proceedings or in the effective management or resolution of the particular case. 

Instructions for contacting the court at the time of your hearing

 

Ex Parte Conference Call Numbers

 

All parties appearing by phone must call: (206) 263-8114 and then you enter the appropriate Conference ID.

For Noted Matters Scheduled at the MRJC in KENT

  • Civil Motions and Probate/Guardianship - Conference ID: 368794#

  • Weapons Surrender Review for Emergency Risk Protection Orders (Fridays at 1:30 PM) – Conference ID: Conference ID: 368794#

For Noted Matters Scheduled at the KCCH in Seattle

  • Noted Civil Motions – Conference ID: 9325672#

  • Probate/Guardianship Matters with an even 8th digit in the case number (Example: 20-4-09878-0 SEA) - Conference ID: 6222383#

  • Probate Guardianship Matters with an odd 8th digit in the case number (Example: 20-4-34655-0) - Conference ID: 9325672#

  • Weapons Surrender Review for Emergency Risk Protection Orders (Fridays at 1:30 PM) – Conference ID: Conference ID: 6222383#

For Immediate Restraining Orders or other Temporary Orders in Seattle & Kent– PLEASE EMAIL SCEXPARTEPHONE@KINGCOUNTY.GOV TO OBTAIN TELEPHONIC INSTRUCTIONS no later than 11:00 AM the day you intend to present your Motion. Requests made after 11:00 AM will be heard the following court day. Please read the instructions for Immediate Restraining Orders and the guidelines for consideration of Family Law Immediate Restraining Orders.

IMPORTANT: Return hearings for Protection Orders are not heard in the Ex Parte Department.

  • For Domestic Violence Protection Orders click HERE.
  • For Anti-Harassment, Sexual Assault, and Emergency Risk Protection Orders, click HERE.
  • Vulnerable Adult Protection Order Return Hearings continue to be heard in the Ex Parte Department on the Guardianship/Probate Calendar.

 

1. Call the number on your confirmation at least 5 minutes before your scheduled hearing time.
2. When prompted, dial the Conference ID followed by the # key. You will be advised whether you are joining the call in progress, if you are the first to call, or you may be placed on “music-on-hold.” As others join you may hear a mild “beep-beep" indicating that others are on the line. Until your case is called, refrain from speaking other than with court staff or the Judicial Officer. ALL SCHEDULED CASE PARTIES MAY BE ON THE LINE (NOT JUST FOR YOUR MATTER).
3. After check-in wait until your case is called. Use your “speakerphone” feature while waiting only if you are able to mute the microphone to eliminate ambient noise. You must use the handset when speaking with the Court. Identify yourself each time you speak and conduct yourself as you would if you were in the Courtroom.
4. If the Court does not join the call within 15 minutes after your scheduled hearing time, please email SCEXPARTE@kingcounty.gov. Do not leave the conference line or place the conference line on hold.
5. When Court has commenced, DO NOT INTERRUPT. You will have an opportunity to speak. If the call is in progress and you hear voices, wait until an opportunity to speak arises without interrupting others. The Clerk may be performing a check-in and will get to you.
6. Once your matter is concluded, hang-up. If your hearing is canceled or continued you must notify us, prior to the time of your scheduled hearing.

 

In most cases parties will be need to obtain copies of orders entered from the Superior Court Clerk’s Office. Parties requesting a waiver of the copy fees should utilize Ex Parte Addendum Form A for any matters in which they anticipate requesting records. This form will provide direction to the Clerk to issue and disseminate documents in a timely manner without the parties having to separately request documents. Parties in ”No-Asset” guardianships may submit a Motion and Order to Issue Documents at Public Expense following any hearing if prior orders do not contain the necessary language. Submissions may be sent to SCEXPARTEORDERS@kingcounty.gov.  All other document requests should go through the clerk’s online records request application or request by mail.

For additional information, click to expand a header below.

 

For more information about accessing the Clerk's electronic services, follow the links below:
  • View court records, click HERE.
  • File documents, submit working copies, or submit proposed orders to Ex Parte via the Clerk, click HERE.
  • Records Requests, click HERE. Please note you may order Guardianship Orders and Letters using this service, however, those documents may not be generated for up to 48 hours following your hearing.
  • To look up a case number, click HERE.
All orders permitted under LCR 40.1, with the exception of those noted at the top of this page, may be presented Ex Parte via the Clerkconsistent with historical practice.
  • Parties may file Original Wills by mail or messenger, they cannot be eFiled.
  • New probate cases can be initiated through eFiling, mail or messenger.
  • Parties must submit orders to appoint a guardian ad litem using Ex Parte via the Clerk.
  • Click Here for Instructions for initiating new cases with fee waiver applications (including Guardianship Petitions).
All agreed Adoption matters which can be completed telephonically are permitted. Adoption finalizations are allowed telephonically when the parties provide signed interrogatories in lieu of live testimony. Adoption matters other than final orders can be submitted via Ex Parte via the Clerk. DCYF adoptions will not be heard in Ex Parte and must be scheduled separately. Please contact King County Adoption Services for more information.
Probates with wills must have the original will delivered or mailed to the Clerk for delivery to the Commissioner contemporaneous to the Petition. Those matters which do not require notice shall be presented Ex Parte via the Clerk. Click here for instructions.
  • GALs are authorized to arrange for video or telephonic conference interviews with AIPs without prior court authorization provided this is clearly described in detail in the GAL’s report.
  • Orders Appointing Guardian may not be submitted through Ex Parte via the Clerk.
  • Any matter which does not require notice (e.g. certain periodic reports, approval of bond) shall be submitted Ex Parte via the Clerk.
  • Working papers in “public pay” guardianships may be submitted by email to SCEXPARTEORDERS@kingcounty.gov. Working papers for other matters should be submitted using E-Working Copies, if possible. Parties should only email proposed orders to the Court prior to their hearing if there are last minute changes.
All in-person hearings on these calendars are suspended. For those matters already scheduled, parties are encouraged to bring their matters into compliance utilizing EX PARTE VIA THE CLERK. The court will issue new hearing dates at a future time. Pro Se litigants may email the Ex Parte Department for assistance determining the appropriate forms needed to bring their case into compliance. The clerk and court will continue to issue delinquency notices for noncompliant cases. 
  • Attorneys: Agreed matters without children, presented by counsel must be submitted via EX PARTE VIA THE CLERK.
  • Effective immediately, certain Family Law agreed proposed orders (temporary & final) which previously would have been presented in person to Ex Parte or Family Law should be submitted via e-filing through Orders for Review for both Seattle and Kent locations. The e-filing process can be found on the Clerk’s website at: https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk/documents/efiling.

The Following Proposed Orders should be submitted via Orders for Review E-filing queue:

  • Agreed Temporary Family Law Order
  • Agreed Temporary Parenting Plan
  • Agreed Temporary Child Support Order
  • Agreed Temporary Restraining Order
  • Agreed Order Appointing GAL/Parenting Evaluator (Title 26)
  • Agreed Final Divorce Order w/Children
  • Agreed Findings for Divorce w/Children
  • Agreed Parenting Plan
  • Agreed Child Support Order
  • Agreed Restraining Order
  • Agreed Adequate Cause Order – Parenting Plan Modification
  • Agreed Adequate Cause Order – Nonparental Custody
  • Agreed Reissuance of Temporary Restraining Order
  • Agreed Order Continuing Hearing – FL Motions
IMPORTANT:

Agreed proposed orders eligible for this service sent to the Court via e-mail or E-Working Copies will not be accepted. Orders which are to be permitted/required to be submitted Ex Parte via the Clerk (e.g. Final Decree without Children) pursuant to LCR 40.1 must continue to use that mechanism. The Court may, at its discretion, require a telephonic appearance for any submission. Parties may receive a Rejection Notice directing them to arrange such an appearance. All other provisions of LFLR 5 regarding submission of such orders remain in effect (specifically, the Court will continue to require an Attorney’s Certificate of Compliance for all Final Decrees, including proposed modifications which will result in entry of a subsequent Final Parenting Plan).

  • Click HERE for additional information and instructions for utilizing the Orders for Review Process.
Final Decrees: All in-person hearings for self-represented litigants on the agreed finalization (final decree) calendar have been suspended. If you have scheduled a date to finalize your agreed case, or would like to finalize your case by agreement please visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/facilitator.aspx for more information. Pro Se litigants may utilize the Orders for Review “EXP Family Agreed Orders” option for agreed proposed orders which are not processed by the Facilitator.
All matters which require notice to parties shall be noted & must include the Ex Parte Addendum form. Minor Settlements may not be submitted Ex Parte via the Clerk.
For Anti-Harassment, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Anti-Stalking, and Vulnerable Adult matters, parties may submit these electronically, by mail, or by in-person filing. Resources and instructions are available HERE.  The court will consider these matters without personal appearance and will contact parties by phone, if necessary.

Note: You cannot file a Motion for Temporary Orders unless you have a family law case that has already started, or unless you are filing a family law case at the same time that you are filing this motion.

Instructions for submitting temporary orders requested by the parties as part of an existing domestic cases such as a divorce or a case to determine paternity, custody, child support or visitation are HERE. The party asking for immediate orders (the moving party) shall give prior notice to the attorney for the opposing party or, if unrepresented, to the opposing party. The moving party or attorney shall certify to the court in writing the efforts which have been made to give notice to the opposing party. Such notice is required in all cases unless the moving party clearly shows by sworn declaration that immediate injury, loss or damage will result if notice is given. See Local Family Law Rule 8.

Only motions deemed “mission critical” will be heard before June 5, 2020. “Mission critical” motions in the family law setting are defined as:

  • Domestic Violence Protection Order hearings
  • Motions for temporary restraining orders where personal safety is at issue
  • Motions necessary to protect a child from physical or serious emotional harm or to prevent child abduction
  • Motions and child support trials by affidavit where a person’s basic financial survival is at issue (i.e., ability to maintain housing, basic necessities, and critical health care) or post-secondary (college) support is at issue and there are deadlines that cannot be moved
  • Emergency motions on parenting issues where the health or safety of a child or adult is at risk due to COVID-19

NOTE: If you note a motion that the family court determines not to be emergency, the hearing will be stricken and the motion will be denied without prejudice. If the motion is determined to be an emergency it will move forward. Information about Family Law Operations is here.

To read about family law restraining orders or temporary orders for custody and support, visit: www.washingtonlawhelp.org/WA. To download forms, visit Washington Pattern Forms: http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/


 

We appreciate your patience as we attempt to navigate this complex time in a way that protects the health and safety of everyone at court facilities while maintaining access to justice for all court users.

Contact Information

Ex Parte and Probate Department: (206) 477-2517

Due to the volume of inquiries, parties are strongly encouraged to contact us via email:

May 13, 2020

Ex Parte is a special department of Superior Court assigned responsibility, under Local Court Rules, for certain short matters and emergency or unopposed orders.

Please Note: King County Superior Court requires that certain ex parte matters be presented through the Clerk’s Office in writing, without oral argument. Please review the Ex Parte Motions and Hearings Manual, available on the Clerk’s Office Website, for specific information on related procedures.

Sign up to receive important updates and information related to local rules, process improvements, application enhancements and more.

King County Courthouse
516 3rd Avenue
Courtroom W-325
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 477-2517
Email: SCExParte@kingcounty.gov
HOURS: M-F: 9:00am-noon & 1:30-4:15pm
Maleng Regional Justice Center
401 Fourth Ave. N
Courtroom 1J
Kent, WA 98032
Phone: (206) 477-2517
Email: SCExParte@kingcounty.gov
HOURS: M-F: 9:00am-noon & 1:30-4:15pm

Inquiries regarding Ex Parte via the Clerk can be directed to 206-477-0848 (Seattle) or 206-477-3047 (Kent).  Additional information may be found online on the Clerk's Ex Parte via the Clerk webpage.

Calendar Schedules

Calendar Time
Evictions 9:00am
Motions 9:00am
Guardianships/Probate 10:30am
Adoptions (Seattle) 9:00am and 1:30pm
Adoptions (Kent) 1:30pm
Non-Attorney Dissolutions 1:30pm
Walk-Ins 9:00am - 12pm and 1:30 - 3:45pm

Useful Links

  • Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders 
  • Evictions/Unlawful Detainer actions
  • Guardianships and Trusts
  • Minor or Incapacitated Adult Settlements
  • Probate/trusts
  • Orders setting hearings
  • Requests for emergency temporary domestic violence, anti-harassment, and sexual assault protection orders.
  • Requests for emergency temporary restraining orders, obtain a return/injunction hearing date and time from assigned judge's bailiff or if no assigned judge, from Chief Civil before presenting the TRO to Ex Parte.
  • Adoptions
  • Most types of agreed and default orders, except as provided otherwise by rule. Those orders that may be presented without notice and a hearing such as agreed orders, default orders, and orders to schedule a hearing, may be presented on a walk-in basis to either court (Seattle or Kent) or upon payment of a fee through the clerk's mail-in process.
  • Those matters that require notice to another party and all matters listed under Local Rule 98.16; 98.04 and 98.20 to be scheduled for hearing must be presented in person, except motions for reconsideration or except as the court orders otherwise. See the King County Local Rules for further information.

If you are the moving party and are striking a motion, please call or email the Ex Parte Coordinator at 206-477-2517 or SCExParte@kingcounty.gov and provide the cause number, case name, date and time of hearing, and whether you are re-noting the matter and would like working papers to be moved. Please note, the matter will still appear on the Court Calendar and it is the striking party’s responsibility to notify the other parties.

Call or email the Ex Parte Coordinator at 206-477-2517 or SCExParte@kingcounty.gov and provide the cause number, case name, date and time of hearing, the name and phone number of the requesting party, and a brief reason for the request.

You may submit working copies electronically through the Clerk's Office e-filing application, deliver them to the judge’s mailroom, or deliver them directly to the Ex Parte Department.

The Guardianship Delinquency and Probate Review Calendars are heard:

  • Seattle: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30 PM in Courtroom W-325, Courtroom 1
  • Kent: Wednesdays at 1:30 PM in Courtroom 1J

Guardians are strongly encouraged to use the form templates and instructions provided by the King County Superior Court. Guardianship forms should be completed in their entirety prior to your hearing. Incomplete forms will cause delays and may possibly result in the need to reschedule your hearing.

You may also be able to complete the required steps without attending the scheduled hearing.

Contact the Ex Parte Department Coordinator at (206) 477-2517 or by sending an email to SCExpParte@kingcounty.gov for more information about the Guardianship Delinquency and Probate Review Calendar.

       

    A guardian ad litem (GAL) is an adult who is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of an individual for a specific purpose for a specific period of time. Under the direction of the court, a GAL performs an investigation and prepares a report for the court of the GAL's findings and recommendations.  A GAL is an officer of the court and must maintain independence, conduct herself or himself professionally, avoid conflicts of interest, treat parties with respect, become informed about the case, timely inform the court of relevant information, limit duties to those ordered by the court, inform individuals about her or his role in the case, maintain the parties' privacy, perform duties in a timely manner, maintain documentation, and keep records of time and expenses. 

     

    To become a GAL, an individual must complete an approved training program, provide background information to the court(s) in which the GAL wishes to serve, and meet all eligibility requirements set by local court rule or policy. 

     

    2020 Guardian Ad Litem Registries

     

    ATTENTION: The King County Superior Court Guardian Ad Litem Registries are posted for informational purposes only. Please note, when the need arises for the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem in a case involving a subject area for which there is a registry, the Court shall appoint a person from the registry on a rotational basis. In exceptional circumstances where the Court finds a need for specialized skills or training, the Court may appoint a GAL out of rotational order or may appoint a person not listed on the registry. The Court must make written findings supporting such an appointment.

     

     

Links to a variety of assistance programs are available on the 'Don't Have an Attorney?' webpage.