Ex Parte & Probate Department
IMPORTANT: New Guardianship Law Effective January 1, 2022
- General Order Re Case Management of Guardianships, Conservatorships, and Other Protective Arrangements
- All forms related to Guardianships, Conservatorship, or Other Protective Arrangements (Mandatory Use)
- General Information Sheet - New Guardianship Law RCW 11.130 effective January 1, 2022
- Information Sheet for Current Guardians - New Washington Guardianship Law
Ex Parte & Probate Department Updates Regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Activities
Governor Inslee has issued moratoriums on certain garnishments, evictions, late fees, and other related issues. King County Superior Court will abide by all. Please continue to check this website and the links below for updates about the Ex Parte Department response to COVID-19. Because this is an evolving situation, the guidance below may change. 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.
IMPORTANT: If you cannot access Zoom for your hearing, you can use the phone number provided. If you are unable to connect by Zoom or phone at the time of your hearing, please email or call the Ex Parte Department:
During COVID-19 reduced operations, the court hears confirmed emergency motions via Zoom daily. This calendar is called “Emergency Motions calendar." The calendar is at 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Only confirmed emergency motions or certain matters requiring shortened time will be decided on this calendar.
IMPORTANT: IF YOU FAIL TO CONFIRM YOUR HEARING YOUR MATTER WILL NOT BE HEARD. Visit Emergency Motions for more information.
Help for Self Represented Litigants
Self-Represented: This document (العربية, 中文, Soomaali, Tiếng Việt) 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 Information in this handbook may be outdated or incomplete.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 is 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.
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Phone Number: (206) 477-2517. Due to the volume of inquiries, parties are strongly encouraged to contact us via email:
- General email inquiries: SCExParte@kingcounty.gov
- Inquires related to an emergency telephonic appearance and submission of motions for temporary/injunctive orders: SCExParteOrders@kingcounty.gov
- Submissions of Pleadings (only as permitted): SCExParteOrders@kingcounty.gov
- Guardian Ad Litem compensation requests: SCGAL@kingcounty.gov
|King County Courthouse
516 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
|Maleng Regional Justice Center
401 Fourth Ave. N
Kent, WA 98032
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.
Links to Commonly Requested Clerk's Electronic Services
- 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 or verify a hearing date, click HERE.
Hearings in the Ex Parte & Probate Department
In response to COVID-19, the Ex Parte Department has 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.
The Ex Parte Department will only hear matters during specific calendar times. Motions set on the incorrect calendar or set at unavailable times will be stricken. Please refer to the Ex Parte Commissioner’s Calendar to determine the times and days for specific calendars. Hearings are scheduled by filing an Ex Parte Notice of Court Date, or by obtaining an Order setting the court date (if required).
IMPORTANT: There is a cap on the number of motions on the Ex Parte calendars. You must check the Clerk’s website for hearing availability on the desired date. Parties will be notified via email if their requested date exceeds the limit after filing. If your hearing exceeds the cap, you will need to reschedule the hearing. Please be advised that calendar availability is not updated in real-time but as hearings are docketed by the Clerk. Therefore, when viewing the calendar, you are seeing the number of available spaces minus those which have already been set on the calendar (not those which are pending). Please be mindful of this when setting hearings. Calendar availability is HERE.
Except in the case of threat of imminent harm or if it is impracticable to do so, the moving party shall pick their hearing date, file a notice of hearing and any other required forms, and give the other party at least two days' notice of his or her intent to seek immediate orders. 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.
Below are instructions for requesting an emergency hearing.
|Emergency Motions: Same Day Presentation|
|Parties with emergencies may reserve a hearing the same day (pending availability) so long as they file the required forms and notify the Ex Parte Department by 12:00 p.m. by email to SCEXPARTEORDERS@KINGCOUNTY.GOV, as well as opposing party/counsel. Parties shall attach their filed Notice of Hearing, motion materials and any proposed orders. The subject line of the email should read “NOTICE OF HEARING TODAY: CASE NUMBER.”
In the event there are no slots available for a same day hearing and/or if harm will result prior to the next available date, parties may request an exception no later than 12:00 p.m. by email to SCEXPARTEORDERS@KINGCOUNTY.GOV, as well as opposing party/counsel. Parties shall attach their filed Notice of Hearing, motion materials and any proposed orders. The subject line of the email should read “REQUEST FOR EXCEPTION TODAY: CASE NUMBER.” *EMAILS MAY ONLY BE CHECKED BETWEEN 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Examples: Motion for Temporary Family Law Orders, Motion for (Civil) Temporary Restraining Order, Motion to Vacate Judgment and Stay Execution of Writ (Unlawful Detainer).
The department must be furnished with a working copy of all motion papers. The working copies should be delivered via E-Working Copies.
Working papers submitted via email MUST indicate the following information in the subject line or they will not be accepted: SUBJECT: WORKING PAPERS – DATE/TIME OF HEARING – CASE NUMBER AND DESIGNATION (Example: Working Papers – July 6, 2020 at 10:30 AM, 20-4-09354-4 KNT). Emailed working papers submitted without the required information will not be forwarded to the court for consideration.
No-fee Cases ONLY may email their working copies to SCEXPARTEORDERS@KINGCOUNTY.GOV with the following information in the subject line:
SUBJECT: WORKING PAPERS – DATE/TIME OF HEARING – CASE NUMBER AND DESIGNATION (Example: Working Papers – July 6, 2020 at 10:30 AM, 20-4-09354-4 KNT).
**Emailed working papers submitted without the required information will not be forwarded to the court for consideration.
All working copies are to be delivered no later than the date and time they are required to be served on opposing parties and/or filed with the court.
A proposed order must be attached to the working copies submitted in every case. Parties submitting proposed orders following hearings, which previously would have been presented in person in the Ex Parte may be submitted via e-filing through Orders for Review for both Seattle and Kent locations. Parties should still submit their proposed orders with their working papers submissions, however, you may submit proposed changes or unopposed orders to this panel for consideration. The department will no longer accept modified orders via email.
Understand that if the Court rules in your favor, it may use the proposed order you have provided, amend the order to reflect its ruling or draft its own order altogether. While the Court is not required to use proposed orders provided to it, proposed orders help the court know how to rule in your favor. For this reason, the order should be specific, stating exactly what relief the order is granting.
The proposed Order should be submitted in the form in which the party wishes it to be approved (do not leave blanks or boxes to be filled in).
Instructions: Ex Parte In-Court Order Submission
Confirmations are not required for any matter scheduled in the Ex Parte Department. Ex Parte Staff are unable to confirm matters are on the court’s calendar. Parties can review the individual case docket in the Superior Court Clerk’s Records Access Portal to see what documents have been filed and which events are scheduled.
Any properly noted matter may be heard, even if it isn’t calendared. For example, a party may obtain an Order Setting Hearing but the case may not be “calendared” before the date of the hearing.
Parties may submit agreed Stipulation and Order for Continuance Ex Parte via the Clerk prior to the scheduled hearing date. Cases cannot be continued administratively by staff.
Resetting hearings: Any matter being re-noted without a Order must be done so consistent with the same timelines as required for the initial date. Parties cannot “re-note” matters for less than the required time without a court order.
A Request to Strike a hearing must be made at least one business day prior to the scheduled hearing date.
Preferred Processes: If you are the moving party, submit a pleading that indicates that an upcoming hearing has been struck. If working papers have been submitted and/or it is less than 5 days until the scheduled hearing you must notify the department via email at SCEXPARTE@KINGCOUNTY.GOV. It is your responsibility to properly serve/notify the other party(s).
If you are the moving party, we accept email notice that a hearing should be struck. It is your responsibility to notify the other party(s) that the matter has been struck off the calendar. Emailing a request to strike results in an administrative removal of a calendared matter – the case will still show the scheduled event on the docket unless the party filed a pleading as referenced above (preferred). When emailing, 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.
If you are submitting a proposed Order Ex Parte via the Clerk in lieu of at a scheduled hearing, you should also file a Notice of Intent to Strike Hearing and include a copy with your EPVC submission. Failure to do so may result in the submission being denied in anticipation of it being presented at hearing.
The sections below address issues and subjects that are typically presented in the Ex Parte Department.
IMPORTANT: Ex Parte via the Clerk is a function of the Superior Court Clerk's Office. If you have any questions regarding e-filing, the status of a submitted order, fees, or general information about the Ex Parte via the Clerk process, please contact a Clerk's Office subject matter expert.
- For Seattle (SEA) cases, call 206-477-0848
- For Kent (KNT) cases call 206-477-3047
- Via email to DJA.EPVC@kingcounty.gov
Visit Ex Parte via the Clerk’s website: https://kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk/documents/ExParte.aspx
The Ex Parte and Probate Department has compiled a list of all matters presented to the Ex Parte Department for consideration. Within this list, the Department has indicated which items may be heard in person, with oral argument (at a noticed hearing), and which items must be submitted in writing only, without oral argument, through the Clerk’s office. Generally, those matters which are unopposed, including any agreed order or any order that does not require notice to any other party, interested person or entity and does not require the approval of the assigned judge and is not reserved to any other calendar by any statute, court rule or court order.
For detailed information on which orders may be presented in person or via the Clerk, please refer to the master list of Ex Parte matters available at the Clerk’s Office Ex Parte via the Clerk web site at www.kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk/documents/ExParte. The Clerk’s office will follow the Local Rules and this master list to determine if your matter may be heard with or without oral argument.
Orders to Show Cause. All Motions for Show Cause shall be presented Ex Parte via the Clerk. If the return hearing is before the assigned trial court, the moving party shall obtain a date for such hearing from the staff of the assigned trial court before filing. See also LCR 7(b)(9). For all cases where the return on the order to show cause is to a calendar, rather than before the assigned judge, the moving party shall select the return date and state the calendar in the proposed order. See also LCR 7(b)(3); LFLR 5. To select a return hearing in a family law matter click HERE.
Orders Waiving Filing Fees. In Forma Pauperis Motions where the party is attempting to seek a waiver of the initial filing fee shall be presented to the Ex Parte and Probate Department. See GR 34. Forms and instructions for these waivers are available at the clerk’s office or on the clerk’s website: www.kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk/fees. Click Here for Instructions for initiating new cases with fee waiver applications (including Guardianship Petitions).
Unopposed Matters. Unopposed matters, including any agreed order or any order that does not require notice and does not require the approval of the assigned judge and is not reserved to any other calendar by any statute, court rule or court order may be presented Ex Parte via the Clerk.
Order on Motion for Default. Motions for default orders and default judgments shall be presented Ex Parte via the Clerk, unless any defendant has appeared in the matter, in which case it shall be noted before the assigned judge, or if no judge has been assigned to the Respective Chief Judge in accordance with LFLR 5, LCR 7 and LGR 29(h). Click HERE for instructions for noting default family law motions which require notice.
Guardianship/Probate. To initiate a new Guardianships/Petitions for Appointment of Title 11 Guardian ad Litem shall be submitted via Ex Parte via the Clerk (Instructions for filing new “public pay” cases are available HERE). Any matter which does not require notice (e.g. certain periodic reports, approval of bond) shall be submitted Ex Parte via the Clerk. 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.
IMPORTANT: The court case file is not reviewed. All supporting documents necessary for the Court to decide the issue must be provided, including but not limited to copies of all documents (e.g., Affidavits of Service) that are referenced in the proposed order. Optional: Use the Ex Parte Information Sheet if you want to bring to the Court's attention specific information. This document will be filed into the case file.
You may submit protection orders electronically, by mail, or by in-person filing. Resources and instructions are available HERE.
Washington State law allows for a person to file a civil case in court asking a judge to grant an order to protect them from another person whose behavior is abusive, threatening, exploitive or seriously alarming. The primary purpose of most is to order the "respondent" to not contact or harm the "petitioner." Unlike other protection orders, an Extreme Risk Protection Order does not provide protection to the petitioner. Its primary purpose is to order the respondent to surrender weapons.
There are 6 types of protections orders, intended for specific situations. State law establishes who can seek them, who they can protect, who they can restrain, the types of protections and relief they offer, when and where court hearings are conducted, what costs may be incurred, etc.
- Antiharassment Protection Order (RCW 10.14)
- Domestic Violence Protection Order (RCW 26.50)
- Sexual Assault Protection Order (RCW 7.90)
- Stalking Protection Order (RCW 7.92)
- Vulnerable Adult Protection Order (RCW 74.34)
- Extreme Risk Protection Order (RCW 7.94)
Two types of protection orders are primarily filed in District Court: Antiharassment and Stalking. A case can be transferred to or filed in Superior Court IF:
- The petitioner/victim or the respondent (harasser/stalker) is under 18 years old.
- The action involves title or possession of real property, and the respondent claims an interest in that property such as ownership or right to occupy.
- The action would interfere with the respondent's care, control or custody of his/her child under 18.
- The Superior Court has jurisdiction over a case involving the petitioner/victim and the Respondent.
Petitioners choose which type of protection order is most appropriate for them to pursue. However, protection orders do not cover everyone’s needs; there may be other legal remedies that are appropriate.
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.
If you have a court order, it is important to remember:
1. Keep a certified copy of your order with you at all times.
2. The order is enforceable throughout the State of Washington.
3. If there is a violation of your court order, call 9-1-1 or your local police. Tell them you have a court order and it is being violated.
Whether or not you have a court order, if you are being harassed, threatened, or assaulted, call 9-1-1, or your local police.
Agreed family law orders which previously would have been presented in person to Ex or Family Law should be submitted via e-filing through the EXP Family Agreed Orders -Orders for Review process. For instructions and more information click here.
Important! Agreed final orders (orders that finalize the case) should be submitted as follows:
If there is an attorney agreed or default final orders should be submitted through the e-filing system here:
Cases with children should be submitted to the EXP Family Agreed Orders Order for Review queue.
Cases without children should be submitted through the Ex Via the Clerk.
If both parties are self-represented: Final orders should be submitted through the facilitator’s office. More information can be found here. All in-person hearings for self-represented litigants on the agreed finalization (final decree) calendar have been suspended.
- Statutory Reference: RCW 26.33
- Local Rule: LCR 93.04, 40.1(b)(2)(A)
- Timing: Adoptions should be noted 14 days in advance at 1:30 p.m. per the Commissioner’s Calendar
Minor Adoptions: 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. For minor adoption hearings, the Court will contact the parties at the time of the hearing to maintain confidentiality of proceedings.
Adult Adoptions: Adult adoptions must be noted for hearing consistent with Emergency Order 18. Hearings should be set at least 9 days in advance at 1:30 PM. Parties should call the appropriate conference line at the time of their hearing. Adult adoptions are not closed proceedings and the only documents required are a Petition for Adoption signed by the adoptive parent(s), some form of consent by the adoptee, the Findings and Conclusions of Law, and the Decree of Adoption.
The Court may hold ceremonial adoption hearings via Zoom or in person in limited circumstances as public health circumstances permit. Please contact King County Adoption Services for more information.
- Statutory Reference: RCW 11
- Court Rule: SPR 98.08W - 98.16W
- Local Rule: LCR 98.04; LCR 40.1(b)(2)(E)
- Timing: Probate matters should be noted at least 14 days in advance at 10:30 a.m..
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.
What is a Probate?
After someone's death, their money and property (called an estate) must be distributed to their heirs. When supervised by the courts, this process is called probate. Probate is not always necessary, but in some situations, probate may be required. Probate may be preferable when you must pay debts, claims or taxes, or if you anticipate disagreement over division of the estate.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that determines what happens to your property after your death. A will states who receives property and in what amounts. Property distributed under the terms of the will become the probate estate. in addition to distribution or transferring property, a will may have other functions such as to name a guardian for any minor children or to create a trust on behalf of children or others.
The Clerk's Office offers a will repository service. RCW 11.12.265 allows the filing of an original will with the court, under seal, before the death of the testator. The fee for this service is $20.00 per will or codicil as set by RCW 36.18.016(28). The will may be withdrawn by the testator upon showing of proper identification. Any other person, such as an attorney or Guardian, may withdraw the original will only with a court order after showing of good cause. Upon request and presentation of a certified copy of the testator’s death certificate, the Clerk’s Office will unseal the file. If a probate file is opened at that time, the full filing fee must be charged per RCW 36.18.020(2)(f).
Where can I find resources for probate matters?
Links to forms, procedures, local rules and lawyer referral services can be found online at:
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.
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.
Guardianship and Probate Delinquency Calendar
All in-person hearings on these calendars are suspended. The court will continue to review cases and may set hearings in individual cases as needed.
Pro Se litigants may email the Ex Parte Department for assistance determining the appropriate forms needed to bring their case into compliance. 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 any scheduled review date. Incomplete forms will cause delays and may possibly result in the need to schedule a hearing.
View Guardianship Laws (Revised Code of Washington)
General information about statewide health and human services agencies and legal aid providers. Dial 2-1-1 from anywhere in Washington to speak with an Information and Referral Specialist. Toll free 1-877-211-WASH (9274). 211 Community Resources Online Database.
- Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders
- Evictions/Unlawful Detainer actions
- Guardianships and Trusts
- Minor or Incapacitated Adult Settlements
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Title 26 Registry
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.
2020 Registries will be posted soon, please contact SCEXPARTE@kingcouny.gov with any questions.
Other Forms and Information
Guardian Ad Litem Program Manager
Links to a variety of assistance programs are available on the 'Don't Have an Attorney?' webpage.