WSR 16-14-089
[June 29, 2016]
NO. 25700-A-1156
The Washington State Association of County Clerks' Proposed Amendment to GR 27Family Law Courthouse Facilitators, having recommended the expeditious adoption of the proposed amendment to GR 27Family Law Courthouse Facilitators, and the Court having considered the amendments and comments submitted thereto, and having determined that the proposed amendments will aid in the prompt and orderly administration of justice;
Now, therefore, it is hereby
(a) That the amendments as shown below are adopted.
(b) That the amendments will be published expeditiously in the Washington Reports and will become effective upon publication.
DATED at Olympia, Washington this 29th day of June, 2016.
Madsen, C.J.
Johnson, J.
Wiggins, J.
Owens, J.
Gonzalez, J.
Fairhurst, J.
Gordon McCloud, J.
Stephens, J.
Yu, J.
GR 27
(a) Generally. RCW 26.12.240 and RCW 11.88.170 provide a county may create a courthouse facilitator program to provide basic services to pro se litigants in family law and guardianship cases. This Rule applies only to courthouse facilitator programs created pursuant to RCW 26.12.240 or RCW 11.88.170.
(b) The Washington State Supreme Court shall create a Family Courthouse Facilitator Advisory Committee supported by the Administrative Office of the Courts to establish minimum qualifications and develop and administer a curriculum of initial and ongoing training requirements for family law and guardianship courthouse facilitators. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall assist counties in administering family law courthouse facilitator programs.
(c) Definitions. For the purpose of this rule the following definitions apply:
(1) A Family Law Courthouse Facilitator is an individual or individuals who has or have met or exceeded the minimum qualifications and completed the curriculum developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts Courthouse Facilitator Advisory Committee and who is or are providing basic services in family law or guardianship cases in a Superior Court.
(2) Family Law Cases include, but are not limited to, dissolution of marriage, modification of dissolution matters such as child support, parenting plans, non-parental custody or visitation, and parentage by unmarried persons to establish paternity, child support, child custody and visitation.
(3) Guardianship cases include cases filed under RCW 11.88, RCW 11.90, RCW 11.92 and RCW 73.36.
(4) "Basic Service" includes but is not limited to:
a) referral to legal and social service resources, including lawyer referral and alternate dispute referral programs and resources on obtaining family law forms and instructions;
b) assistance in calculating child support using standardized computer based program based on financial information provided by the pro se litigant;
c) processing interpreter requests for facilitator assistance and court hearings;
d) assistance in selection as well as distribution of forms and standardized instructions that have been approved by the court, clerk's office, or the Administrative Office of the Courts;
e) assistance in completing forms that have been approved by the court, clerk's office, or the Administrative Office of the Courts;
f) explanation of legal terms;
g) information on basic court procedures and logistics including requirements for service, filing, scheduling hearings and complying with local procedures;
h) review of completed forms to determine whether forms have been completely filled out but not as to substantive content with respect to the parties' legal rights and obligations;
i) previewing pro se documents prior to hearings for matters such as dissolution of marriage, review hearings, and show cause and temporary relief motions calendars under the direction of the Clerk or Court to determine whether procedural requirements have been complied with;
j) attendance at pro se hearings to assist the Court with pro se matters;
k) assistance with preparation of court orders under the direction of the Court; and
l) preparation of pro se instruction packets under the direction of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
(d) Family Law Courthouse Facilitators shall, whenever reasonably practical, obtain a written and signed disclaimer of attorney-client relationship, attorney-client confidentiality and representation from each person utilizing the services of the Family Law Courthouse Facilitator. The prescribed disclaimer shall be in the format developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
(e) No attorney-client relationship or privilege is created, by implication or by inference, between a Family Law Courthouse Facilitator providing basic services under this rule and the users of Family Law Courthouse Facilitator Program services.
(f) Family law Courthouse facilitators providing basic services under this rule are not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Upon a courthouse facilitator's voluntary or involuntary termination from a courthouse facilitator program, that person is no longer a courthouse facilitator providing services pursuant to RCW 26.12.240 or RCW 11.88.170 or this Rule.