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26.50.125  <<  26.50.130 >>   26.50.135

RCW 26.50.130

Order for protection — Modification or termination — Service — Transmittal.

(1) Upon a motion with notice to all parties and after a hearing, the court may modify the terms of an existing order for protection or may terminate an existing order for protection.

     (2) A respondent's motion to modify or terminate an order for protection that is permanent or issued for a fixed period exceeding two years must include a declaration setting forth facts supporting the requested order for termination or modification. The motion and declaration must be served according to subsection (7) of this section. The nonmoving parties to the proceeding may file opposing declarations. The court shall deny the motion unless it finds that adequate cause for hearing the motion is established by the declarations. If the court finds that the respondent established adequate cause, the court shall set a date for hearing the respondent's motion.

     (3)(a) The court may not terminate an order for protection that is permanent or issued for a fixed period exceeding two years upon a motion of the respondent unless the respondent proves by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been a substantial change in circumstances such that the respondent is not likely to resume acts of domestic violence against the petitioner or those persons protected by the protection order if the order is terminated. In a motion by the respondent for termination of an order for protection that is permanent or issued for a fixed period exceeding two years, the petitioner bears no burden of proving that he or she has a current reasonable fear of imminent harm by the respondent.

     (b) For the purposes of this subsection, a court shall determine whether there has been a "substantial change in circumstances" by considering only factors which address whether the respondent is likely to commit future acts of domestic violence against the petitioner or those persons protected by the protection order.

     (c) In determining whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances the court may consider the following unweighted factors, and no inference is to be drawn from the order in which the factors are listed:

     (i) Whether the respondent has committed or threatened domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other violent acts since the protection order was entered;

     (ii) Whether the respondent has violated the terms of the protection order, and the time that has passed since the entry of the order;

     (iii) Whether the respondent has exhibited suicidal ideation or attempts since the protection order was entered;

     (iv) Whether the respondent has been convicted of criminal activity since the protection order was entered;

     (v) Whether the respondent has either acknowledged responsibility for the acts of domestic violence that resulted in entry of the protection order or successfully completed domestic violence perpetrator treatment or counseling since the protection order was entered;

     (vi) Whether the respondent has a continuing involvement with drug or alcohol abuse, if such abuse was a factor in the protection order;

     (vii) Whether the petitioner consents to terminating the protection order, provided that consent is given voluntarily and knowingly;

     (viii) Whether the respondent or petitioner has relocated to an area more distant from the other party, giving due consideration to the fact that acts of domestic violence may be committed from any distance;

     (ix) Other factors relating to a substantial change in circumstances.

     (d) In determining whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances, the court may not base its determination solely on: (i) The fact that time has passed without a violation of the order; or (ii) the fact that the respondent or petitioner has relocated to an area more distant from the other party.

     (e) Regardless of whether there is a substantial change in circumstances, the court may decline to terminate a protection order if it finds that the acts of domestic violence that resulted in the issuance of the protection order were of such severity that the order should not be terminated.

     (4) The court may not modify an order for protection that is permanent or issued for a fixed period exceeding two years upon a motion of the respondent unless the respondent proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the requested modification is warranted. If the requested modification would reduce the duration of the protection order or would eliminate provisions in the protection order restraining the respondent from harassing, stalking, threatening, or committing other acts of domestic violence against the petitioner or the petitioner's children or family or household members or other persons protected by the order, the court shall consider the factors in subsection (3)(c) of this section in determining whether the protection order should be modified. Upon a motion by the respondent for modification of an order for protection that is permanent or issued for a fixed period exceeding two years, the petitioner bears no burden of proving that he or she has a current reasonable fear of imminent harm by the respondent.

     (5) Upon a motion by a petitioner, the court may modify or terminate an existing order for protection. The court shall hear the motion without an adequate cause hearing.

     (6) A court may require the respondent to pay court costs and service fees, as established by the county or municipality incurring the expense and to pay the petitioner for costs incurred in responding to a motion to terminate or modify a protection order, including reasonable attorneys' fees.

     (7) Except as provided in RCW 26.50.085 and 26.50.123, a motion to modify or terminate an order for protection must be personally served on the nonmoving party not less than five court days prior to the hearing.

     (a) If a moving party seeks to modify or terminate an order for protection that is permanent or issued for a fixed period exceeding two years, the sheriff of the county or the peace officers of the municipality in which the nonmoving party resides or a licensed process server shall serve the nonmoving party personally except when a petitioner is the moving party and elects to have the nonmoving party served by a private party.

     (b) If the sheriff, municipal peace officer, or licensed process server cannot complete service upon the nonmoving party within ten days, the sheriff, municipal peace officer, or licensed process server shall notify the moving party. The moving party shall provide information sufficient to permit notification by the sheriff, municipal peace officer, or licensed process server.

     (c) If timely personal service cannot be made, the court shall set a new hearing date and shall either require an additional attempt at obtaining personal service or permit service by publication as provided in RCW 26.50.085 or service by mail as provided in RCW 26.50.123.

     (d) The court shall not require more than two attempts at obtaining personal service and shall permit service by publication or by mail unless the moving party requests additional time to attempt personal service.

     (e) If the court permits service by publication or by mail, the court shall set the hearing date not later than twenty-four days from the date of the order permitting service by publication or by mail.

     (8) Municipal police departments serving documents as required under this chapter may recover from a respondent ordered to pay fees under subsection (6) of this section the same fees for service and mileage authorized by RCW 36.18.040 to be collected by sheriffs.

     (10) [(9)] In any situation where an order is terminated or modified before its expiration date, the clerk of the court shall forward on or before the next judicial day a true copy of the modified order or the termination order to the appropriate law enforcement agency specified in the modified or termination order. Upon receipt of the order, the law enforcement agency shall promptly enter it in the law enforcement information system.

[2011 c 137 § 2; 2008 c 287 § 3; 1984 c 263 § 14.]

Notes:

     Findings -- 2011 c 137: "The legislature finds that civil domestic violence protection orders are an essential tool for interrupting an abuser's ability to perpetrate domestic violence. The legislature has authorized courts to enter permanent or fixed term domestic violence protection orders if the court finds that the respondent is likely to resume acts of domestic violence when the order expires. However, the legislature has not established procedures or guidelines for terminating or modifying a protection order after it is entered.

     The legislature finds that some of the factors articulated in the Washington supreme court's decision in In re Marriage of Freeman, 169 Wn.2d 664, 239 P.3d 557 (2010), for terminating or modifying domestic violence protection orders do not demonstrate that a restrained person is unlikely to resume acts of domestic violence when the order expires, and place an improper burden on the person protected by the order. By this act, the legislature establishes procedures and guidelines for determining whether a domestic violence protection order should be terminated or modified." [2011 c 137 § 1.]

     Short title -- 2008 c 287: See note following RCW 26.50.050.