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eFiling Frequently Asked Questions for Civil and Probate/Mental Health Case Types

Frequently Asked Questions concerning Orange County Superior Court's eFiling.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

ELECTRONIC SERVICE

Is the court mandating electronic service of documents on other parties?


CIVIL LAW & MOTION

PROBATE & MENTAL HEALTH

FEES

TECHNICAL


Is there an exception to mandatory electronic filing if it creates an undue hardship or significant prejudice to any party?

In accordance with rule 2.253 of the California Rules of Court, a party may submit an application for exemption from eFiling. Click here for an optional form to use. Additionally, self-represented parties and/or a party with a court fee waiver are exempt from mandatory electronic filing.


What filing date will my document receive if I submit while the court is closed?

Electronically filed documents subject to the mandatory electronic filing requirements in civil limited, unlimited, and complex actions can be filed until midnight on the day that the filing is due, and will be considered timely pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 subdivision (d)(1)(D). The document is “filed” at the date and time it is received by the court and the confirmation of receipt is created. See Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 2.259(a) (1). Any electronically filed document received by the Court on or after midnight will be file stamped on the next court day.


What if my hearing or document is due within 24 hours or needs immediate attention?

If your hearing date is within 24 hours or was ordered by the court to be filed today or you have some other reason to contact the court about an urgent filing, please call the court at 657-622-5300, so that we can expedite the processing of your documents. Please make sure that you have your eFiling transaction number so that we can better assist you.


What are the signature requirements for eFiling?

California Rules of Court, rule 2.257 outlines requirements for signatures on documents submitted electronically to the court. While digital signatures are not required, if you choose to utilize them for your filing, please contact your electronic filing service provider for reference materials on how to set up digital signatures in Word or WordPerfect.


Are litigants required to use the court’s electronic filing service provider?

Yes. For Civil and Probate/Mental Health, all eFiled documents must be filed using a court approved electronic filing service provider. For a listing of approved electronic filing service providers, go to the Civil eFiling or Probate eFiling section of this website.


Is a courtesy copy of my document required in addition to my eFiled document?

Courtesy copies of trial documents are required, as outlined in Orange County Superior Court, local rule 317. To determine if courtesy copies of other documents are required, please check with the courtroom that your case is assigned to for their policy.

Please submit any required courtesy copies directly to the courtroom.


How do I select the proper filing name for my document? Why is selecting the right name so important?

The electronic filing service providers’ interfaces should provide a listing of all available court filings.

When selecting a filing it is recommended that you select the one that is the closest match to your filing’s name. For example, if you are submitting an “Opposition to a Motion for Summary Judgment”, we would recommend you select “Opposition”.

Failure to correctly select the proper filing name can result in a delay in the processing of your filing.


Can I submit my Petition for Change of Name or Gender electronically?

Yes, both Petition for Change of Name and Petition for Change of Gender (with the exception of “Safe at Home”) can be submitted electronically.

Please note, beginning July 1st, 2013 Petitions for Change of Name or Gender (with the exception of “Safe at Home”) must be submitted electronically.


Can I submit my Writ of Execution or Possession or Abstract of Judgment electronically?

Yes, both writs and abstracts must be submitted electronically. Abstracts and Orange County writs will be returned to you through your vendor. Please note abstracts and Orange County writs should be printed in color prior to submitting to the respective agencies.

Writs submitted for counties other than Orange will be returned via mail to the attorney of record or self-represented litigant.


How do I file my documents under seal or as confidential?

If your document is filed under seal or is confidential pursuant to statute, no special action is needed. However, if your document is to be sealed pursuant to a court order, please note this in the Submitter's Comment Box and place "Filed under seal pursuant to court order dated MM/DD/YY" under the title of each document on the first page.


Can I eFile documents if my case is ordered sealed by the court?

If a case is ordered sealed by the court it is not eligible for eFiling. Because it is sealed, your Electronic Filing Service Provider will not have any information regarding your case. Please submit your documents at the appropriate courthouse if they are for a case that has been sealed by the court.

This does not apply to Unlawful Detainer cases, which can be eFiled.


Can ex parte applications be eFiled?

Yes, they are required to be submitted via eFiling.


Do all documents submitted require a face page?

When submitting documents for eFiling, the first page of each document must comply with California Rules of Court, rule 2.111. Please note documents should not need to be divided due to their size, if you have a question about submitting a large filing please contact your electronic filing service provider for assistance.


If my case is consolidated/coordinated how should I file them?

If your case has been consolidated, the eFiling must be submitted under the lead case number. If your case has been coordinated the eFiling must be submitted under the Judicial Council Coordinated Proceedings (JCCP) case number.


What do I do if my document contains confidential identifiers?

It is the responsibility of the party or their attorney to exclude or redact confidential identifiers identified in rule 1.20 (b2) of the California Rules of Court. The court clerk will not review each pleading or other paper for compliance.


What if the document is not accepted for eFiling?

The filer will receive a response back indicating the filing was rejected and providing reason(s).


What documents cannot be eFiled?

For Civil cases:

  • Bench Warrants
  • Subpoenaed documents
  • Labor Commissioner deposit of cash or check must be submitted over the counter; however the Notice of Appeal of Labor Commissioner is a mandatory eFile. Additionally, a Bond payment can be eFiled.

For Probate/Mental Health Cases:

  • Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value
  • Bonds
  • Financial Documents submitted by Private Professional Conservator
  • Letters (probate, guardianship, conservatorship)
  • Subpoenaed documents
  • Undertakings
  • Will/Codicils – originals for filing or safekeeping
  • Order to Deposit Money and Receipt of Depository

What is the Submitter's Comment Box used for?

The Submitter's Comment Box is a great tool that can be used to communicate to the clerk who will be processing this document. In this box you can include the items that you or your attorney service would normally communicate to the clerk at the counter, such as alternate hearing dates if the one you selected for your motion is unavailable or special handling instructions for your lodged or filed under seal documents.


Is there any other information available about eFiling?

eFiling statutes and rules can be found at Section 1010.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, California Rules of Court, rule 2.250-2.261, and Superior Court of Orange Local Rule 352.


Is the court mandating electronic service of documents on other parties?

Not at this time. Please note, however, that California Rules of Court, rule 2.251 states that a party by electronically filing any document with the court thereby agrees to accept electronic service.


How do I schedule my motion?

The court has implemented an online motion reservation system called Reserve a Motion Date (RMD) for unlimited civil cases. You can access this new feature by visiting the courts website at occourts.org and clicking on “Online Services”. RMD was created to increase access and service to the public and also reduces a possible delay in processing motions due to unavailable hearing dates.

The Reserve a Motion Date program is not available for probate cases.


WHAT IF I SUBMIT A MOTION FOR AN UNAVAILABLE HERING DATE OR TIME?

For unlimited civil cases and limited civil unlawful detain matters, if you choose not to reserve a motion, or if reservations are not available for that department/matter and the date you select is not available, the court will schedule your motion for the next available date and time and update your conformed copies with the new hearing information.

For limited civil cases, excluding unlawful detainer matters, if the date you select is not valid or is not available, your motion will be returned to you with calendaring information (i.e., date/time the department hears motions) and instructions to resubmit with a new date.

For probate and mental health cases, hearing dates are automatically assigned upon receipt of your petition and/or motion and so pre-selection of hearing dates is not required.


Are tabs required for my eFiled law & motion documents?

All electronically filed law and motion documents must have exhibits tabbed. Tabbing electronically is called bookmarking.

Bookmarking of documents is extremely important as it aids legal research attorneys and judicial officers in their review of documents submitted electronically.

For help with how to electronically bookmark documents, please contact your electronic filing service provider.


How do I submit letters and orders for probate, guardianship and conservatorship?

Letters and the corresponding order may be submitted together at the filing counter or by mail.


How do I submit letters for Lanterman – Petris – Short Conservatorship in which a private person has been appointed?

Letters and the corresponding order may be submitted together at the filing counter or by mail.


How do I submit my petition for probate and the original will?

The Petition for Probate is to be submitted by electronic filing. Original wills are exempt from electronic filing.

After electronically filing your petition for probate, you will receive a case number and hearing date. The original will should be filed at the filing counter or by mail at least five days prior to the hearing date.


How do I submit my original will for deposit (safekeeping) with the court?

Original wills are exempt from electronic filing and can be deposited with the court at the filing counter or by mail.


Can I electronically file an order to deposit money and receipt of depository (Local Forms 880 and 732)?

Not at this time. You may submit the original form at the filing counter or by mail.


How do I submit original financial documents filed by private professional conservators?

If you are a Private Professional Conservator, you must submit originals at the filing counter or by mail. Financial documents submitted by non-private personal conservators shall be submitted by electronic filing.


Do beneficiaries have to be added as parties to the case if they are not listed in the caption of the petition but are named in the body of the document?

No change with eFiling. Beneficiaries are initially named in the body of the document and are added as active parties only when they, or their attorneys, file documents making them active parties.


Is there a fee to eFile?

Each electronic service provider (EFSP) charges a fee for eFiling. For more information on these fees please contact the EFSP directly.


How are fees collected on stipulations?

When a stipulation is submitted to the Court, staff will review the document to ensure all parties who are stipulating have paid first paper fees. If first paper fees are due they will be collected from the party submitting the document, if first paper fees are not due then the standard stipulation and order fee will be charged. If the submitting party does not authorize the proper fee amount the filing will be rejected.


Will I be charged court fees if I have a granted Fee Waiver on file?

The court will not charge filing fees for documents submitted if a granted fee waiver is on file. Contact your EFSP for questions regarding waived vendor fees.

NOTE: To expedite the process, please notate in the Submitter’s Comment Box “Granted Fee Waiver on file”.


How do I submit a Fee Waiver application with my filing?

If you are applying for a fee waiver you must complete Judicial Council forms FW-001 (Request to Waive Court Fees) and FW-003 (Order on Court Fees). Submit these forms in the same transaction as your filing(s) with the FW-001 (Request) as the lead or first document (PDF). Contact your EFSP for guidance on submitting multiple filings in one transaction.

NOTE: If multiple parties are requesting to waive fees, a separate FW-001 (Request to Waive Court Fees) and FW-003 (Order on Court Fees) are needed for each party or court costs may still incur. This includes married couples who are filing as separate parties.


What if my document if filed or stipulated by multiple parties in which one or more did not request a fee waiver?

If a document is filed or stipulated by multiple participants in which one or more do not have a granted fee waiver on file or have not submitted a fee waiver application, filling fees will be applied.

NOTE: If multiple parties are requesting to waive fees, a separate FW-001 (Request to Waive Court Fees) and FW-003 (Order on Court Fees) are needed for each party or court costs may still incur. This includes married couples who are filing as separate parties.


Will I be charged a fee if I submit a Fee Waiver Application and Fee Waiver Order with my filing?

You will not be charged court filing fees for documents submitted with a fee waiver. However, you may be ordered to repay amounts that were waived if the court finds you were not eligible for the fee waiver or if at any time the court modifies, terminates or withdraws the fee waiver.


What if my Fee Waiver is denied?

The court will notify you if your fee waiver is denied. You have 10 days after the clerk gives notice to submit any fees due or request a hearing by submitting judicial council form FW-006 (Request for Hearing About Court Fee Waiver Order). If you fail to pay the fee or request a hearing the filing(s) will be voided.


What types of documents can be uploaded?

Documents can be uploaded for eFiling as a PDF file or in a word processing format (e.g., Word, WordPerfect, and several others; for a complete listing please contact your Electronic Filing Service Provider) that will be converted to a PDF file. If you choose to scan documents, we recommend scanning at a resolution of 300 dpi; this will allow you to maximize the number of pages per megabyte while maintaining readability.


What are the benefits of uploading converted documents?

Converted (rather than scanned) documents rarely exceed 5.0 MB since you can usually get hundreds of pages into a 5.0 MB file. Scanned documents can be problematic since scanning creates a MUCH larger file size for the same number of pages compared to converted documents. There is no way to tell exactly how many pages you can get into a file under 5.0 MB when scanning but here are some examples:
100 pages converted to PDF may be only 1.5 MB
100 pages scanned to PDF at high resolution may be up to 18.0 MB
100 pages scanned to low resolution may be only 3.0 MB


How should I upload my documents?

Each document that is submitted for filing with the court or issuance by the court should be uploaded as a separate document. For example, if your document contains a first page, which conforms to rule 2.111 of California Rules of Court, or is a judicial council form or local form, which is being presented to the court for filing or issuance it should be uploaded as a separate document.


Is there a limit to the size (megabytes) of my document?

The majority of filings can be submitted with ease through the electronic filing service provider. Individual documents as large as 35 megabytes and a transaction up to 60 megabytes can be accepted. If you believe your document or transaction may exceed these limits, please contact the electronic filing service provider for assistance in optimizing your files and/or utilizing their File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for extremely large documents.


Can I submit fillable forms via eFiling?

The Judicial Council of California provides numerous fillable forms that can be used for filings. When utilizing these forms be sure that fields are inactive (e.g., no longer fillable) prior to submitting for eFiling. For assistance with inactivating these fields please contact your electronic filing service provider.


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