Which Protection Order should I file for?

Background

Today LegalAtoms can provide a yes/no answer to whether a user qualifies for a particular protection order as per the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). For example, Jane Doe can start the DVPO case, and the very first questionnaire establishes that.

However a separate and maybe even more common problem is for a petitioner to be unaware of which protection order (if any) is most appropriate for their situation. The problem is slightly complicated by the fact that questions very relevant to their situation help establish which county, and then which court — Superior or District

LegalAtoms faces this problem more than an individual court because the petitioner could be from anywhere, and further the intent of which court they plan to file at is unknown. In contrast, a person visiting a court is likely intending to file there.

Proposal

We have broken down this problem by strictly focusing on the type of Protection Order they qualify for. Questions that help decide the county that has the jurisdiction, or between the specific court — District or Superior. In summary

Step 1: Which Protection Order

Select which specific protection order based on the harm and the relationship between the victim and the respondent. At the end of this experience then client can start the individual experience of a specific protection order

Our rules are based on this flow chart provided by the Snohomish County Superior Court

Step 2: Select Filing County

Based on the zip code LegalAtoms determines the filing county

Step 3: Select Specific Court

Right now we have only Superior and District Courts

In certain situations where a user can file for both District and Superior Court, we expect the users’ choice to be influenced by which court accepts electronic filing via LegalAtoms for convenience.


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Anecdotally when we turned off email based filing for King County, we learnt that many users preferred waiting for electronic filing to be restored, because printing, and physically visiting the court was a significant barrier.

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