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Grant County Clerk

 

Commonly Asked Questions

  

What can the Grant County Clerk’s Office staff do?

 

  • Tell you the status of a specific case, unless the case or information in the case is confidential. Confidential information is not available to the public because of state law or a judge’s decision. (Click here for more information on confidential information)
  • Provide the court file on a specific case for you to review. If the case is confidential, you will need a court order to see the file.
  • Give you general information on court rules, procedures and practices.
  • Provide court-approved or required forms or tell you where you can find forms. There may be a charge for some forms. Forms are not available for all legal proceedings.
  • Offer guidance on how to compute some deadlines and due dates.
  • Provide court schedules and information on how to get matters scheduled.
  • Provide the telephone number of the local attorney referral service or information about other agencies that may assist you.

Note: The Grant County Clerk’s Office staff does not know the answers to all questions about court rules, procedures and practices.

 

What can the Grant County Clerk’s Office NOT do?

  • Advise you about whether you should file a case or whether you should take any particular action in a case.
  • Tell you what words to put in a form.
  • Tell you what to say in court.
  • Tell you what decision the judge will make or what sentence the judge will impose.
  • Comment about specific persons you may name in a petition or pleading.
  • Apply the law nor give directions about how to respond in any aspect of the legal process.
  • Change an order signed by a judge.
  • Let you talk to a judge outside of court.

 

LEGAL ADVICE:     Grant County Clerk’s Office staff provides information, not legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. If you do not have an attorney, you may wish to call the Lawyer Referral Program of the Washington State Bar Association, at 206-727-8200, for the name of an attorney practicing in this area.

 

Do you have the legal forms I need?

The legal forms available from the County Clerk 's Office are those required for filing domestic violence and sexual assault cases. Some legal forms are available from office supply or book stores and from various public legal services agencies. Forms to waive the filing fee - In Forma Pauperis - are only available from the County Clerk's Office (only applies to some cases).

Forms to Print

Washington pattern forms are required for filing in any family law case, i.e., dissolution of marriage (divorce), child custody, modification of support, paternity, etc. You may obtain the forms in the following ways:

  • In person - The Grant County Clerk’s office located on the Second Floor of the Law & Justice Building, Room 218 located at 35 C Street NW, Ephrata, WA 98823. You must have cash, check or money order for payment of these forms, as we do not accept credit cards.
  • Washington State Courts website - www.courts.wa.gov/forms provides access to court forms and instructions.

 

I cannot afford an attorney, can you help me?

Grant County Clerk’s Office staff provides information, not legal advice.  The following links are helpful sources for free or low cost legal services:

 

What can I do if I am a victim of Domestic Violence?

 

Whether or not you have a court order, if you are being harassed, threatened, or assaulted, call 9-1-1 or your local police!!

 

 

More useful information can be found at: http://www.womenslaw.org/

 

What type of court records are maintained by the County Clerk?

The County Clerk must keep all court records for the Superior Court. They are classified into the following case types:

  • Criminal
  • Civil / Foreign Judgments / Tax Warrants / Emancipation of Minors
  • Domestic - Divorce / Child Support / Custody
  • Probate / Wills / Guardianship
  • Adoption / Relinquishment / Paternity *
  • Mental Illness / Alcohol Commitment *
  • Juvenile Dependency / At Risk Youth / Truancy *
  • Juvenile Offenders - Prior to July 1, 1978 *
  • Judgments resulting from a case filed in above case types

* Confidential Case Types - Not accessible to the public

RCW 40.16.010 Injury to Public Records
Every person who shall willfully and unlawfully remove, alter, mutilate, destroy, conceal or obliterate a record, map, book, paper, document, or other thing filed or deposited in a public office, or with any public officer, by authority of the law shall be punished by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.

Adoption / Relinquishment
RCW 26.33.330 Records Sealed - inspection only on court order.
(1) All records of any proceeding under this chapter shall be sealed and shall not be thereafter opened to inspection by any person except under order of the court for good cause shown, or except by using the procedure described in RCW 26.33.343 (relating to confidential intermediaries). In determining whether good cause exists, the court shall consider any certified statement on file with the Department of Health as provided in RCW 26.33.347 (desire to be contacted).
(2) The state registrar of vital statistics may charge a reasonable fee for the review of any of its sealed records.
Explanatory note: Accessible to authorized court staff only. Attorney of record may have access to the file, however, once the case is completed - a court order is required for any access to the file. Individuals including the parties must obtain a court order authorizing the clerk to provide certain information or copies.

Paternity
RCW 26.26.041 - Protection of participants.
Proceedings under this chapter are subject to other laws of this state governing the health, safety, privacy, and liberty of a child or other individuals that could be jeopardized by disclosure of identifying information, including the address, telephone number, place of employment, social security number, and the child's day-care facility and school.
Explanatory note: Under the statute all papers and other records are confidential except the judgment of paternity itself - the judgment is a matter of public record. Only parties of record and attorney of record can access the paternity file by providing valid identification to staff. Over the telephone, clerk staff can only verify if a judgment exists and provide the judgment number.

Mental Illness / Alcohol Commitment: RCW 71.05.390 - Confidential information and records
Under the statute all papers and other records are confidential and only open to the patient and the patient's attorney of record by providing valid identification to staff. The existence of any case to the public is not allowed.

Juvenile Dependency / At Risk Youth / Truancy: RCW 13.50.100

Records not relating to commission of juvenile offenses - Maintenance and access - Disclosure
Under the statute all papers and other records are confidential and only open to the dependent, the dependent's parents (except not to a parent whose parental rights have been terminated) or to the dependent's or parent's attorney of record (except not when the parent's parental rights have been terminated), a court appointed guardian Ad Litem, and the attorney general. The dependency hearings are open to the public unless otherwise determined by the judicial officer. Any appointed guardian has access to the order appointing them guardian only. (In summary: If the parental rights have been terminated by the court the file is no longer accessible by those parties to the action.)

 

Juvenile Offender: RCW 13.50.250

Juvenile offender cases filed prior to July 1, 1978 are all confidential, available only to the juvenile, the juvenile's parents (except not to a parent whose parental rights have been terminated through a separate dependency filing), the attorney of record, and the prosecutor. Juvenile offender cases filed on or after July 1, 1978 are public records.

 

How do I get copies of the documents in my court file?

Court records are maintained by the clerk of each separate court. A court can only address requests made concerning records of cases filed in that court. If you were charged with crimes in several different courts, you will need to make your request to each separate court.

Copies of non-confidential court documents may be obtained by mail, in person or email. Payments may be made in cash, cashier’s check, law firm check, money order, personal check, or debit/credit card (Visa is not accepted as they do not participate in government programs). Please make your check payable to: Grant County Clerk.

An additional resource for obtaining copies using a credit/debit card can be found at:

Please (click here) for details on costs for copies obtained directly from the Clerk's office (not ClerkePass).

 

How do I get my record vacated?

 

Whether a court record of conviction may be vacated, sealed, or destroyed depends upon the type of conviction (felony or misdemeanor), and the court where the conviction was obtained (juvenile or adult).

Forms requesting that the court vacate your misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor conviction may be obtained from www.courts.wa.gov.

Forms requesting that the court vacate your non-violent felony convictions may be obtained from www.washingtonlawhelp.org.

Criminal History and Criminal Records: A Guide on When, and How to Challenge, Seal, Vacate, or Expunge

Source: King County Law Library

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