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Law Library > FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much do copies cost?
  2. Is there someone at the library who can help people understand what they're reading?
  3. I need to file a family law case, such as get a divorce, establish paternity, obtain custody, or modify an existing family law court order. What do I do?
  4. I would like to vacate a misdemeanor or felony conviction, or would like to get my firearms rights restored. How can I do that?
  5. I hired a contractor to work on my house and the work was not done correctly. Now I would like to sue the contractor. How do I do that?
  6. I got a traffic ticket (or other type of ticket) and want to look up the law that the police officer says I violated. How can I do that?
  7. I am a landlord and would like to evict my tenant. Or, I am a tenant and would like to fight the eviction. What do I do?
  8. I won a judgment against someone, and now I want to collect the money. What can I do?
  9. I need to file for guardianship. What do I need to do?

1. How much do copies cost?

The copier is 15 cents a page; material such as the domestic relations forms and Washington and federal statutes and regulations can also be found at Vancouver Community Library and copied there at less expense.

2. Is there someone at the library who can help people understand what they're reading?

The library employs no lawyers and can provide materials only. We can help with locating and using materials; however, we cannot provide research or interpretation.

3. I need to file a family law case, such as get a divorce, establish paternity, obtain custody, or modify an existing family law court order. What do I do?

At the courthouse: Information is available at http://www.clark.wa.gov/courts/clerk/family-court.html.

On the internet: There is also a self-help Web site at www.washingtonlawhelp.org, which has a wealth of information about family law issues at their family law button. Official court forms are available at www.courts.wa.gov and they can be filled in online in Word format and then printed out.

At the Law Library: If you come into the law library, we have all of the official family law forms in paper format for you to make copies of. We also have the checklists that the facilitator uses. We have a family law desk book published by the Washington State Bar Association, a 3 volume set on family law as part of the Washington Practice set, and various continuing legal education books, all of which discuss various family law issues.

Please note that we cannot select forms for you. You need to know which forms you will need for your case, using one of the first two options.

4. I would like to vacate a misdemeanor or felony conviction, or would like to get my firearms rights restored. How can I do that?

On the internet:
Can I Clear My Criminal Record?

Vacating felonies:
Criminal History/Records: When and How to Seal/Vacate Non-Violent Class B or C Felony Convictions

Vacating misdemeanors:
Vacating/Sealing Records

Restoring civil rights:
Certificate of Discharge

A Guide on When and How to Challenge, Seal, Vacate, or Expunge

At the Law Library: There is a folder of material available for copying on these topics in the law library. Some of the information in the folder is available on the internet, and some of it is not.

5. I hired a contractor to work on my house and the work was not done correctly. Now I would like to sue the contractor. How do I do that?

On the internet: Labor and Industries has a very brief explanation.

At the Law Library: The law library has a folder of materials that provides sample complaint forms as well as a generic complaint and summons form that can be used. The sample forms will give you ideas as to language and format.

6. I got a traffic ticket (or other type of ticket) and want to look up the law that the police officer says I violated. How can I do that?

On the internet: Your ticket will have a law that was violated - the number will be in three parts such as 46.61.070. The 46 is the title, the 61 is the chapter, and the 70 is the section. You can go to the state court Web site at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx and click on the title number, then your chapter, and finally your section, to read the law.

At the Law Library: There are printed copies of the state laws in the Law Library. We have an annotated set as well, which cites various cases, law review articles, or other sources that will help you see how the courts have interpreted your statute section. We also have some titles that may be useful to you, such as Criminal Practice in Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, which has sections of various traffic offenses, and Defending DUIs.

7. I am a landlord and would like to evict my tenant. Or, I am a tenant and would like to fight the eviction. What do I do?

On the internet: Tenants can get information and forms at Washington LawHelp.

At the Law Library: The law library has a packet from that Web site called Eviction and Your Defense that is available for you to copy, as well as other materials that may be of help. There are other sections on that web site that may be of interest and which we have in printed form, such as information about tenant rights and responsibilities, and how to recover your security deposit, and how to try to stop an eviction once the court has issued a Writ of Restitution. There are also some continuing legal education books that discuss eviction, and of course you can consult the RCWs.

Landlords can purchase a form packet to evict a tenant. The forms are designed for a tenant who has not paid the rent or for a tenant whose lease has expired. Those packets are available in the Law Library for $50.00, which includes sales tax. Please note that the law library can only accept cash.

8. I won a judgment against someone, and now I want to collect the money. What can I do?

On the internet: Garnishment forms are available at the State Court Web site, but please note that there are no instructions at that site.

At the Law Library: The law library has a variety of collection forms that are available to be copied. We also have a section on collection procedures in a book set called the Washington Lawyers Practice Manual, and there is a CLE book called Washington Collections that explains various options. If you would like to proceed with a garnishment against the defendant's employer or bank account, the law library has a garnishment kit that is available for $30.00 (which includes sales tax) which has the forms and instructions to do a basic garnishment. Please note that the law library can only accept cash.

9. I need to file for guardianship. What do I need to do?

On the internet: There are forms for guardianship proceedings at the King County Superior Court Web site

At the Law Library: The law library also has those forms in hard copy as well as guardianship forms from the Washington Lawyer's Practice Manual. We also own a guardianship desk book, and various CLE books on the topic. We have a booklet from the state called Family and Volunteer Guardian's Handbook which will answer a number of questions about the process.

Clark County used to have a guardianship coordinator, and that person wrote some guardianship forms specific to Clark County, which can be used after the case is already filed. (they do not include the forms to establish a case in the first place) Those are available for copying in a folder in the Law Library.

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Clark County Law Library: Maria Sosnowski, Law Librarian
Street Address: 1200 Franklin Street, Vancouver, WA 98660
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, Washington, 98666
Main phone: (360) 397-2268
E-mail: lawlibrary@clark.wa.gov

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