Ex Parte & Probate Department Updates Regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Activities
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can:
- You can obtain a list of low-cost and free legal resources.
- Get help from the Family Law Facilitators office. The Facilitator has more detailed instructions available online. You can get information about their services at https://kingcounty.gov/courts/superior-court/family/facilitator.aspx.
- Watch “What to Expect When: Filing an Ex Parte Motion” by the King County Law Library. This video highlights some of the important procedural changes that have been implemented by the Ex Parte department to cope with the pandemic.
During Covid-19 reduced operations, the court conducts ZOOM hearings each day to consider emergency motions in civil and family law cases. 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.
WHAT IS AN EMERGENCY?
The following is a list of motions that may qualify as an emergency. Other types of motions may also qualify as an emergency:
- Motions for temporary restraining orders when personal safety is at risk;
- Motions for orders where there is an immediate risk to child safety or there is a risk of child abduction.
- Motions in which a person’s basic financial survival is at risk – for instance, the ability to maintain housing, pay for food or utilities, or have access to critical health care;
- Emergency motions on parenting issues where the health and safety of a child or adult is at risk due to Covid-19 or another reason.
WHAT TYPES OF MOTIONS ARE HEARD IN THIS CALENDAR?
The following are a select example of the types of motions heard on this calendar.
- Motion for Immediate Restraining Order and/or Temporary Family Law Order
- Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause
- Motion for Stay of Execution (Unlawful Detainer)
- Motion to Shorten Time (which require notice) for hearings set in Ex Parte
- Motions to Quash Temporary Orders
WHAT TYPES OF MOTIONS ARE NOT HEARD ON THIS CALENDAR?
- Writs of Habeus Corpus
- Motions with Agreed Orders
- Underlying motion related to a (proposed) Order Shortening Time.
- The Court will only hear the Motion to Shorten Time on the Emergency Motions calendar and then set the return hearing on the appropriate future calendar.
- Protection Orders
- Non-Emergency Domestic Matters (e.g. Entry of Order to Show Cause for Contempt with enforcement provisions).
WHAT ABOUT PROTECTION ORDERS?
Ex parte requests for protection orders are also heard by zoom every day on a drop-in basis. Before appearing on any protection order matters in Ex Parte, Parties must first visit the Clerk’s Domestic Violence Protection Order Office to complete and submit the appropriate paperwork. If you have questions about scheduling protection order hearings of any kind, please continue to work with the Clerk’s Office.
In civil non-family law matters, a party requesting a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunctive relief under CR 65 shall present the proposed order to the Superior Court Ex Parte Department consistent with LCR 65.
IMPORTANT: Prior to appearing in the Ex Parte and Probate Department on a motion for a temporary restraining order, the moving party shall obtain a date for hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction from the trial department to which the case is assigned (See LCR 65(b)). This is done by emailing or calling the assigned judge's bailiff. Visit Judges Directory to obtain department contact information. The hearing shall be set in conformance with the timing requirements of CR 65(b).
HOW to Schedule a Hearing on the Emergency Motions Calendar
- Pick a Hearing Date and Time:
The motions calendar is limited to a certain number of hearings per day. You must go to Ex Parte Calendar Availability to view availability before your schedule your motion.
Please note that the Ex Parte Department will make every effort to hear all properly scheduled Emergency Motions, even if there is no availability showing.
- File your documents and submit your proposed orders:
To schedule an emergency motion, an Ex Parte Notice of Hearing and all documents that will be considered must be filed in the clerk’s office (either e-filed or physically delivered) no later than 12:00 pm the day of the scheduled hearing.
Your documents MUST be viewable in KCSCRIPT by 12:00 PM the date of the hearing. It is highly recommended that you E-File your documents to ensure they are immediately available in KCSCRIPT. Documents filed in person are generally not accessible in KCSCRIPT until the next business day. If you must file in-person, please ask the clerk when the documents will be viewable in KCSCRIPT and pick your hearing date accordingly.
- Instructions on How to E-file are available here.
- Please note that E-Filing requires documents be submitted in PDF. You may not submit photographs of documents. If you do not have access to a fax or scanner, there are apps which allow you to scan from your cell phone.
Proposed orders for the emergency motions calendar must be submitted online through the Clerk’s Office eFiling System via the “Orders for Review” link. The proposed order should be uploaded to “Ex Parte In Court Orders (Seattle or Kent). You MUST note the date of your hearing in the title of the uploaded document.
3. Notify the Ex Parte department of your scheduled hearing no later than 12:00 PM the day of the hearing: To confirm your hearing, send an email to SCEXPARTEORDERS@KINGCOUNTY.GOV with:
- The date and time of hearing;
- The case number and names of the parties;
- A list of filed documents and their docket numbers in KCSCRIPT;
- Confirmation you have submitted Proposed Orders to Orders for Review.
- Once the Ex Parte department confirms your valid hearing date you will receive an email from the department with ZOOM access information and tips for appearing remotely.
TIPS AND FAQ
At this time, working papers are not required for hearings on the Emergency Motions calendar. The Court will review KCSCRIPT for any filings. Please do not email pleadings to the department following confirmation. Staff will not provide email working papers to Commissioners in advance of the hearing.
GIVING NOTICE TO THE OTHER PARTY
The party asking for an Ex Parte Restraining Order (the moving party) shall give prior written or oral 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 shows by sworn declaration that immediate injury, loss or damage will result if notice is given.
If you gave written notice, attach a copy of your email or fax or letter to the Motion. Email or give the other party/their attorney a set of your motion papers before the hearing. If you are asking the court to waive notice you must be prepared to explain any facts in support of this request at the time of the hearing.
COPIES OF ENTERED ORDERS
In most cases, Court staff will email you a copy of the order after the hearing. If You do not receive a copy, you may send an email request to SCEXPARTEORDERS@KINGCOUNTY.GOV and staff will send a copy if they have access to the documents. Please be advised that Ex Parte staff do not have access to the documents after they have been transferred to the clerk’s office for filing.
The Court keeps a record of all proceedings. Do not record any court proceedings. You can order copies of the hearing recording and orders from the Court. If you would like to order a copy of the record of the proceeding, information can be found on the Court Clerk’s website: https://kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk/access-records/records.aspx
AFTER THE HEARING
Review your orders very carefully for any additional steps which may be required. In most cases, the next hearing will be held in a different department which may have additional requirements.