Getting a trial date in Cowlitz County

If you are involved in a civil case in Cowlitz County Superior Court AND the respondent/defendant has filed a response AND you need to schedule your case for a trial, read this. #9950EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, if all these are true:

  • You are a party in a civil case in Cowlitz County Superior Court, Washington.

* A civil case is a court case that is not a criminal case.

  • The respondent or defendant in the case has filed a Response to the petition or complaint.
  • You need to ask the court to schedule your case for a trial.

You must do all these:

  • Fill out and file a Docket Notice for Trial Assignment.
  • Include a list of names and addresses of everyone you need to notify that you are trying to get a trial date. Usually, this is the other party or parties or their attorneys.
  • File proof of service with the court.
  • Go to court on the day the clerk told you to go for the "trial assignment docket."

* If your case is a divorce, you must have completed the mandatory settlement conference before asking the court to set the case for trial, unless the court has excused you from (waived) the conference requirement.

It is a special time the court sets aside on its schedule. On that day and time, only cases needing trial dates appear in the courtroom. Someone from the Court Administration office is in the courtroom.

Be at the correct courtroom on time.  Court Administration will call each case in the order it was set for trial scheduling. The Court Administration worker checks if each case is ready for a trial date. The Court Administration person schedules and announces a trial date for each case that is ready.  

A copy of the form you need to schedule a hearing date for trial setting is below. The Superior Court Clerk's office also has the form, or you can get it online on the Cowlitz Superior Court website.

Yes, if any of these is true:

  • The case scheduling order has not been completed.
  • The defendant/respondent has not filed a response.
  • Both you and the other party fail to appear in court for the hearing.
  • The other party files an objection. (See next section.)

* "What is a case scheduling order" below has more information.

If the other party has served you with an objection to your request for trial setting, they are trying to put off a trial or they do not believe the parties have done everything the court wants done before trial.

The court will hear the objection during the trial assignment docket. You may want to contact the other party beforehand to ask them why they are objecting.

If the other party has served you with an objection, review it carefully. If there is anything that you have not done that the rules say you should, you must do it, if possible before your court hearing.

You must do all of these:

  • File an objection stating why you think the case is not ready for trial.
  • Serve a copy on the other party.
  • Appear at the scheduled docket.  

* A motion calendar is a morning, afternoon, or day when the court only hears motions in cases. There are no trials or other matters. In Cowlitz County, there are different dockets for cases where no party has a lawyer (pro se dockets) and cases where at least one party has a lawyer (attorney dockets).

It is a schedule of deadlines you must meet in your case, which a judge signs. You or the other party can ask for one, or the judge can enter it on the judge's own.

The deadlines are for things you must finish before you can have a trial. What these things are will depend on the type of case.

Some examples are:

No. You should ask the pro se commissioner to waive (excuse) the case scheduling order requirement and set for trial setting.  If the court decides the case is ready, the court will set the case for trial.

You can use the form below to try to get the other party to agree to deadlines. If you cannot agree to dates, you must schedule the matter on a motion docket.  The docket notice has a special checkbox for case scheduling orders.  The judge will decide what your deadlines are in the case.

You can also get the forms from the clerk.

It depends.

  • Case Scheduling Order Domestic Relations – use this in a family law case when at least one party has a lawyer.
  • Case Scheduling Order Pro Se Domestic Relations – use this in a family law case only when neither party has an attorney.
  • Case Scheduling Other Civil – for all other non-criminal cases.

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Last Review and Update: Mar 29, 2022
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