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difference between a court venue and jurisdiction

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jloccon23

Member
Hi. I am trying to understand the difference between changing the jurisdiction of a court vs. changing the court venue in a Washington family law case. In my concrete example, a family has lived in Washington for a few years, then divorce and custody battle for their minor child happen. Mother and child have moved away to a different state 2 years ago and father has moved to a different county in Washington. Currently, for every court motion the parents have to go to the same court in the same county which handled their divorce and custody battle. Mother likes this because Washington, in particular the judges in that particular court, are very supportive of the mother (she just sends her lawyer for hearings). Father hates it because all judges know him and categorically rule against him (and because he has to drive back to that county for every court hearing, being pro se). Mother knows how good that particular court has been and will vehemently oppose for the case to be transferred to a different court.

I mean if 2 people used to live in Washington and one of them moved to Maine 5 years ago and the other to Hawaii 2 years ago, surely the court cannot expect them to have to travel to Washington every time a motion needs to be filed.

What would be the procedure to either change the court venue to another county in Washington (where no judge has ever met father or mother) or, even better, to New Mexico where mother and child live? Any RCWs I could look up?

Thank you
 
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Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Hi. I am trying to understand the difference between changing the jurisdiction of a court vs. changing the court venue in a Washington family law case. In my concrete example, a family has lived in Washington for a few years, then divorce and custody battle for their minor child happen. Mother and child have moved away to a different state 2 years ago and father has moved to a different county in Washington. Currently, for every court motion the parents have to go to the same court in the same county which handled their divorce and custody battle. Mother likes this because Washington, in particular the judges in that particular court, are very supportive of the mother (she just sends her lawyer for hearings). Father hates it because all judges know him and categorically rule against him (and because he has to drive back to that county for every court hearing, being pro se). Mother knows how good that particular court has been and will vehemently oppose for the case to be transferred to a different court.



What would be the procedure to either change the court venue to another county in Washington (where no judge has ever met father or mother) or, even better, to New Mexico where mother and child live?



Thank you
Who are you in this matter?


The BEST procedure would be for the one wishing to change the court's location would be for that person to retain the assistance of an attorney.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
What would be the procedure to either change the court venue to another county in Washington
You file a motion for change of venue explaining why the change is necessary. You serve the motion on the other party. The other party has the option and opportunity to file a response to the motion explaining why it shouldn't be granted. A hearing might be necessary.

See Rule 82 - Venue in the WA Rules of Civil Procedure.

https://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/pdf/CR/SUP_CR_82_00_00.pdf

Now See Rule 7 - Form of Motions:

https://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/pdf/CR/SUP_CR_07_00_00.pdf

If you can figure out how to do it yourself, more power to you. If you can't, get a lawyer.

I have no idea how to get it moved from WA to NM. For that you will certainly need a lawyer. Talk to one in each state to see how it gets handled.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
Jurisdiction generally refers to the state that the case belongs to. Venue is generally the county or court, within the state that would actually hear the case.

When both parents leave the original state that had jurisdiction of a case generally the parent with primary custody can get jurisdiction changed to the state of the child's primary residence. Its also possible that the parent without primary custody can get it changed to the state of the child's primary residence, just to expedite things.

When one of the parents remains in the original state of jurisdiction then generally jurisdiction remains in that state. When the parent remaining in the original state moves to another county, its possible that the parent who remained in the state could get jurisdiction changed. It however is not guaranteed. If there is significant information in the original venue its not guaranteed that the venue will be changed.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
What would be the procedure to either change the court venue to another county in Washington (where no judge has ever met father or mother) or, even better, to New Mexico where mother and child live? Any RCWs I could look up?
Jurisdiction refers to the power of the court to hear the matter. In state courts, the state law will designate a particular court to handle specific matters. For example, in Washington, Superior Courts have jurisdiction to hear family law cases (in some counties the Superior Court has a Family Court division that handles it). Venue are the rules that determine which Superior Court in the state will hear that particular dispute. So moving a case from a Washington a Washington state superior court in one county to a superior court in another county is an issue of venue. The Superior Courts have jurisdiction and your issue is which superior court is the right one. That's venue. If venue is now appropriate in another county you may file a motion to transfer venue to that other county.

However, you cannot transfer a case from one state to another. The case in Washington would have to be dismissed and a new case filed in the other state. That's because now the jurisdiction changes, not just venue. If mother and child now reside in another state and have been there for several years, it may indeed be the case that Washington loses jurisdiction over custody and support matters and that now jurisdiction is proper in that other state.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Because it bears no relevance on the answer. thank you
It absolutely does. Please have one of the legally involved parties log on and ask their own questions about their own legal matter. Alternatively, as you have been advised, have them consult with an attorney.
 

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