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AGO 1954 No. 210 - February 18, 1954
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

UNIFORM RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT ACT ‑- FILING FEES ‑- SHERIFF'S SERVICE FEES.

The schedule of fees to be charged by county clerks for filing pleadings in the proceeding under the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act corresponds with that required in other civil actions.

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                                                                February 18, 1954

Honorable R. DeWitt Jones
Prosecuting Attorney
Clark County
301 Court House
Vancouver, Washington                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 210

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of January 19, 1954, in which you ask our opinion with respect to fees to be charged by the county clerk in proceedings brought under the Uniform Reciprocal Support Act, chapter 26.21 RCW.  You specifically ask

            (1) Is there a filing fee for filing the petition?

            (2) Should a judgment fee be charged for the "certificate" signed by the judge under the provisions of RCW 26.21.100?

            (3) Should the clerk make the regular charge for certified copies made in accordance with the provisions of RCW 26.21.100?

            (4) If fees are payable, should the clerk refuse to file petitions from a sister state before receipt of proper fees?

            (5) If respondent responds to the show cause order, should he be required to pay an appearance fee?

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            (6) Does the final order of the court in a responding state require a payment of a judgment fee under the provisions of RCW 26.21.120?

            (7) Should the Clark County sheriff collect regular fees for the service of papers handled in proceedings under this act?

            In our opinion questions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, may be answered in the affirmative; question 2, in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            In 1951 the legislature enacted the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act.  The purpose of this act is to facilitate the enforcement of the duty of support in situations where the obligor has removed himself from the state in which such duty exists.  The Uniform Act provides in RCW 26.21.040, a formula for extradition of obligors whose return is sought to face criminal charges arising out of abandonment or non-support.  Primarily, however, the act provides a civil remedy for the enforcement of support which may be commenced in one state and completed in another.  Thus, the schedule of fees corresponds with those required in other civil actions.  Their applicability may depend upon whether, in a particular proceeding, this is the initiating or responding state.

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

            (1) A fee for filing the petition may be charged whether the State of Washington is the initiating or responding state.

            (2) A judgment fee should not be charged for the certificate signed by the judge pursuant to RCW 26.21.100, since such certificate is not, in fact, a judgment.

            (3) For certified copies made in accordance with the provisions of RCW 26.21.100, the clerk may charge as provided by RCW 26.18.060.

            (4) Fees payable for filing the petitions from a sister state are payable in advance.  See RCW 36.18.060.

            (5) If the defendant appears in response to the show cause order he should be charged the appearance fee.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            (6) The final order of the court in the responding state under RCW 26.21.120 is the final determination of the rights of the parties for which a judgment fee is required.

            (7) The county sheriff should make the usual charges contemplated in RCW 36.18.040 for the service of papers handled in proceedings under this act.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

ANDY ENGEBRETSEN
Assistant Attorney General

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