(a) Review of Final Pleadings. All final decrees, final orders and accompanying Findings of Fact/Conclusions of Law, Parenting Plans, Orders of Child Support and Child Support Worksheets for family law cases involving children shall be reviewed for form and completeness, prior to presentation to a judicial officer, by an attorney of record in the case, an attorney who approved the pleadings as to form and completeness, the Courthouse Facilitator or a Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT). (Note: If the parties are proposing a Substantially Equal Residential Time plan, there must be a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Report filed per LCR 98.)
(b) Pro Se Parties.
- In a non-contested dissolution or non-parental custody action where either party is proceeding without representation by an attorney, the party shall schedule and meet with the Courthouse Facilitator or a Limited License Legal Technician to review the final pleadings for completeness at least five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The Courthouse Facilitator or Limited License Legal Technician shall review all final pleadings and, if they appear appropriate, shall sign and file a "Certificate of Completeness" to that effect. The Clerk of the Court shall not accept for filing any such proposed final documents which appear to be incomplete; with specific reference to the child support computation worksheet, all sections and parts thereof must be fully completed or marked "not applicable" where such is the case. The Court will not conduct a final hearing in the matter unless the "Certificate of Completeness" has been signed by the Courthouse Facilitator, an attorney or a Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT). The Certificate of Completeness is available online at www.cowlitzsuperiorcourt.us.
(c) Presentation of Papers. At the commencement of a hearing upon a default or uncontested dissolution, invalidity, legal separation, parentage, or non-parental custody matter, the petitioner or petitioner's attorney shall present to the Court proposed Findings of Fact/Conclusions of Law and Decree.
(d) Filing Agreements and Contracts. All property settlement agreements or separation contracts reduced to writing and signed shall be filed as a part of the record of said cause.
(e) Finalization of Dissolutions by Declaration. Parties who come to a final agreement in their dissolution case may present final statutory testimony by declaration without further court appearance, unless a judge otherwise orders in-person testimony. The declaration must be in a form approved by the Court. The declaration shall accompany the final papers and shall be filed with the Clerk to be handled by the ex parte judge. If neither party is represented by an attorney, a Certificate of Courthouse Facilitator or a Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT), as set forth in 92(b)(1) above, must also accompany the final papers before consideration can be made by the ex parte judge. There shall be an ex parte fee for finalization of dissolution matters by way of declaration. The fee schedule is available from the County Clerk or online at www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/clerk.
(f) Form. The declaration and certification of Final Testimony by Declaration shall be substantially in the form approved by the Court. The approved Final Testimony by Declaration, per CCLR 92(e), can be found at the Court's website, www.cowlitzsuperiorcourt.us, or from the County Clerk or Courthouse Facilitator.
[Original CCLCR 94.08 adopted effective September 1, 2003; renumbered as CCLCR 92 and amended September 1, 2005; emergency amendment May 1, 2009; effective on a permanent basis September 1, 2009; amended September 1, 2010; amended September 1, 2012; amended September 1, 2014; emergency amendment November 10, 2014; emergency amendment November 24, 2014; amended September 1, 2016; amended September 1, 2018; amended September 1, 2019]