26.50.020. Commencement of action -- Jurisdiction -- Venue
(1)(a) Any person may seek relief under this chapter by filing a petition with a court alleging that the person has been the victim of domestic violence committed by the respondent. The person may petition for relief on behalf of himself or herself and on behalf of minor family or household members.
(b) Any person thirteen years of age or older may seek relief under this chapter by filing a petition with a court alleging that he or she has been the victim of violence in a dating relationship and the respondent is sixteen years of age or older.
(2)(a) A person under eighteen years of age who is sixteen years of age or older may seek relief under this chapter and is not required to seek relief by a guardian or next friend.
(b) A person under sixteen years of age who is seeking relief under subsection (1)(b) of this section is required to seek relief by a parent, guardian, guardian ad litem, or next friend.
(3) No guardian or guardian ad litem need be appointed on behalf of a respondent to an action under this chapter who is under eighteen years of age if such respondent is sixteen years of age or older.
(4) The court may, if it deems necessary, appoint a guardian ad litem for a petitioner or respondent who is a party to an action under this chapter.
(5) Any petition filed under this chapter must specify whether the victim and respondent of the alleged domestic violence are intimate partners or family or household members within the meaning of RCW 26.50.010.
(6) The courts defined in RCW 26.50.010 have jurisdiction over proceedings under this chapter. The jurisdiction of district and municipal courts under this chapter shall be limited to enforcement of RCW 26.50.110(1), or the equivalent municipal ordinance, and the issuance and enforcement of temporary orders for protection provided for in RCW 26.50.070 if: (a) A superior court has exercised or is exercising jurisdiction over a proceeding under this title or chapter 13.34 RCW involving the parties; (b) the petition for relief under this chapter presents issues of residential schedule of and contact with children of the parties; or (c) the petition for relief under this chapter requests the court to exclude a party from the dwelling which the parties share. When the jurisdiction of a district or municipal court is limited to the issuance and enforcement of a temporary order, the district or municipal court shall set the full hearing provided for in RCW 26.50.050 in superior court and transfer the case. If the notice and order are not served on the respondent in time for the full hearing, the issuing court shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the superior court to extend the order for protection.
(7) An action under this chapter shall be filed in the county or the municipality where the petitioner resides, unless the petitioner has left the residence or household to avoid abuse. In that case, the petitioner may bring an action in the county or municipality of the previous or the new household or residence.
(8) A person’s right to petition for relief under this chapter is not affected by the person leaving the residence or household to avoid abuse.
(9) For the purposes of this section “next friend” means any competent individual, over eighteen years of age, chosen by the minor and who is capable of pursuing the minor’s stated interest in the action.