I was served a summons, motion to establish paternity, motion to appt a GAL, and his proposed parenting plan. All of them had a case number stamped and the court date on one of the papers. I filed and served my response. I arrived at the 8:30 docket call. Our names weren't called and he wasn't there. They then proceeded in telling me the only thing in the file was my response and they annotated the file that he didn't show up. But according to the file there was no petition even though he served me the papers with a case number and hearing date. They said he didn't pay court fees so now im a little confused?
Family Law Attorney
Someone would need to look over the documents and talk with the court clerk to tell you what happened.
What could have happened was that the check the petitioner used to pay the clerk bounced. When the petitioner first showed up at the clerk's office, the clerk gave him a case number. Afterwards, the clerk's office tried to cash the check which is returned unpaid.
In WA, the case number in superior court would be in the format YY-N-xxxxx-C. YY is the last two digits of the year in which the case was first filed. N is the case type. A petition regarding parentage can be either a 3 or a 5. A type 3 case would generally be public record. A type 5 case is confidential and should be accessible only by the parties, their attorneys, the court staff, and specific persons (such as a guardian ad litem appointed for the child). xxxxx is the order in which the case was filed and should be unique for a year. C is a check digit of the other digits.
There are also rare cases in which a person entirely makes up fake documents. I do not know the courts in Spokane. Here, in the Seattle area, the superior courts have stamps with the names of commissioners and judges that are left around the courthouses. The stamps are for the attorneys or parties to conform orders signed by the commissioners and judges. Since no one monitors the stamps, someone can use the stamps the make fake documents.
You should have access to the court file to see what documents were actually filed.
You can also talk with the court clerk to check what happened with the case.
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It could be a clerical error by the court, that they filed and stamped and gave him a copy and then he didn't pay the fees and they forgot to ask him for the documents back to stamp cancel them? I am not sure how he would get the court stamp and and hearing date but from the clerk? I am assuming you showed the court clerk the file stamped documents? What was there response as to how the documents got file stamped and the date set? If you did not show them the documents or discuss them, then call the clerk's office and ask? You might call your ex's lawyer or ex if self represented and discuss what is going on? Hopefully you are able to communicate with each other regarding your case? The only other thing I can think of is that your ex somehow got access to a court stamp and stamped them himself? Good Luck!
Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.
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Child Custody Lawyer
No. You should have been served a Petition with the summons. Without the Petition, there is no case or controversy and nothing to which you can respond. I wold talk to the clerk in person to try t figure out what happened.
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He did not pay court fees, so the court will not do work for him. There are ways for him to apply for a waiver of court filing fees (filing in forma pauperis). For now, it appears nothing is pending. The way to get official court numbers and not pay fees might have been to bounce the fee check. See if Spokane County Bar has a neighborhood legal clinic or a pro bono family law program, and consult with them to get a better idea of what the status really is.
Family Law Attorney
I agree with the other answers here. I would also like to add another possible explanation other than a bounced check. A petitioner may also request a waiver of filing fees by filing an in forma pauperis motion. This order/motion may have been misfiled or not filed at all. It sounds as if the putative father may be representing himself and poorly at that.