ORANGE COUNTY FAMILY LAW E-FILING FAQS
Updated: March 2018
Orange County Superior Court has shared the following frequently asked questions to assist filers e-filing new cases, or into existing cases, in the Family Law Court.
ORANGE COUNTY FAMILY LAW E-FILING
Electronic filing or eFiling enables filers and courts to efficiently process documents and fees online. The filer will submit the documents through an Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP). After review, the court will accept or reject the documents. The documents are returned to the filer through the electronic filing portal. eFileCA manages the flow of information amongst filers, clerks, court personnel and judges.
When can I expect to get my eFiled documents back from the court?
The typical turnaround time for general Family Law filings is within 24-48 hours after the file has been submitted to the court. Although, request for trials such as a Memorandum for Setting Hearing and/or At- Issue requests may take longer.
What is an Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP)?
An Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) is a company/organization that provides a means to submit documents to the court electronically.
Is Orange County Civil/Probate efiling related or the same as Orange County Family Law efiling?
No, though the EFSP might service both case types, the filing systems are separate.
I am an attorney; do I have to eFile?
Effective January 1, 2018, represented parties will be mandated to electronically file most documents.
I am a self-represented litigant; do I have to eFile?
Self-represented litigants are not mandated to eFile documents; however, they may choose to do so if desired.
Is there an exception to mandatory eFiling if it creates an undue hardship or significant prejudice to any party?
Yes, in accordance with California Rule of Court 2.253, a party may submit an application for exemption from eFiling. Please see form EFS007 – Request – Exemption – Mandatory Electronic Filing.
What documents cannot be eFiled?
All documents can be electronically filed except for those outlined on the Family Law eFiling exceptions list which is located on the Family Law eFiling internet page.
Note: Ex parte documents CANNOT be eFiled at this time.
How do I submit documents exempt from eFiling?
Documents that are exempt from eFiling can be submitted for filing in the Clerk’s Office at the Lamoreaux Justice Center on the 7th floor, room 706 between the office hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or by mail at:
Lamoreaux Justice Center
Attention Family Law
341 The City Drive
P.O. BOX 14170
Orange, CA 92863
Is eFiling the same as fax filing?
No, with eFiling the filing party must use an EFSP and will submit their documents for filing over the internet. The Family Law division does not accept fax filing.
How do I get started?
You must first select an EFSP, once selected that provider will help you with your first filing.
Is eFiling secure?
Yes, the eFileCA system adheres to state and federal security regulations and meets Payment Card Industry Security Standards to protect filer and transaction information.
When can I eFile?
eFiling is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Note: The system may be temporarily offline from time to time for maintenance purposes.
What time do I have to submit my document to have it deemed filed the same day?
The filing must be received by the court by 11:59 p.m., as indicated in Local Rule 700.7.
Keep in mind some EFSPs have a cut off for same day processing because of the time it takes for the envelope to be submitted and received by the court. If a person submits a filing at 11:55 p.m. it may not be received by the court until 12:01 a.m., which would make it a next day filing.
What is an “envelope”?
An envelope contains a document or group of documents for a single file code for a single case number, or a group of documents for multiple filing codes, that will be processed in one transaction for one single case number.
Can I use my personal computer to eFile?
Yes, you can submit filings through an EFSP. You will use the internet to select the EFSP and upload your documents for filing. For instructions, refer to your EFSP’s website.
Note: See the question What is an EFSP?
Do I have to register?
Yes, all users must register with an EFSP prior to using eFiling. The court does not accept electronic filings directly. Your account will allow you to check the status of your electronically filed documents and will provide a path for the court to return your documents to you. Once you select an EFSP, you will be able to use your existing username and password for any EFSP.
Note: You may change electronic filing service providers (EFSPs) at any time.
Is support available?
Yes, support is provided for both attorneys and self-represented litigants. Each EFSP offers a different type of eFiling support. When you pick your EFSP look at the level of filing support that is offered and see if it meets your needs.
Are my electronically filed documents printed for the court file?
No, documents that are electronically filed and accepted by the court are automatically uploaded to the court’s case management system. This allows the court staff and judicial officers to electronically view the case documents without printing the document or maintaining a physical court file. Pursuant to Government Code 68150(a) the electronic record is the official court record.
Are documents available to the public upon submission, or upon processing?
A filing party may view documents submitted immediately through their EFSP’s portal. All other parties will be able to view a document upon acceptance on public terminals located at any Orange County courthouse. A document is considered FILED once it is accepted by the court.
What date will my document be “Filed” if I eFile after 5:00 p.m.?
Per Local Rule 700.7, documents filed prior to midnight on a court day will be deemed filed as of that day.
What happens if I select the wrong court location?
Your electronically filed document will be rejected and returned to you through the eFiling system for correction and resubmission with the proper filing location indicated.
What are typical return reasons?
Typical reasons that your filing would be rejected by the court are as follows:
- Multiple filing documents are submitted as a single file (for example, Summons and Petition)
- Documents scanned are too large/too small (upload at 200 DPI+)
- Subsequent filings submitted as new cases
- Document submitted is on the eFiling Exceptions List
- Incorrect payment account option selected (i.e., fee waiver)
- Missing required information
Note: For additional return reasons/filing tips, please see the Family Law eFiling Website
Do I need to submit a courtesy copy?
Unless the court requests otherwise – a courtesy copy is not required. If the filing party wishes to provide a courtesy copy, please print the conformed copy from the link emailed to the user and deliver it to the assigned department.
Do I need to scan a document that includes an original signature?
Retention of original signed documents shall be pursuant to California Rule of Court 2.257 and Code of Civil Procedure 1010.6. For documents eFiled with court, the filing party may use /s/ followed by the name of the individual on the signature line of a document
If I am eFiling a document that has a fax signature do I have to indicate as such?
Yes, per CA Rule of Court 2.305 we require filing parties to note when the signature is by fax.
Should a document be password protected?
No, documents should not be password protected and will be rejected if the content cannot be viewed.
Can I electronically file a Confidential Document?
Yes, confidential documents will be accepted via eFiling, however, the court will determine the appropriate level of security prior to filing.
ELECTRONIC FILING FEES
Are there fees associated with using eFiling?
Yes, there are fees associated with filing documents electronically with eFIleCA.com:
- Standard court filing fees: per statewide fee schedule (filings submitted without all the required filing fees, will be returned for correction).
- A service fee is assessed for the eFiling system of $3.50; this is subject to change.
- Payment service fee: A payment service fee is assessed to cover the credit card processing fees. The current fee is 2.75% of the total filing fee, this number can fluctuate quarterly.
- eCheck Fee: The fee is 25 cents.
Please reference the Family Law eFiling Fee Chart for specific filing fee information.
How do I apply a fee waiver when I am submitting documents?
While setting up your account, add the payment option “Waiver Account.” When submitting filings, you will be able to select “Waiver” from the “Payment Account” dropdown menu.
How do I serve other individuals with my eFiled documents?
Filers are responsible for accomplishing service of all filings as required by applicable court rules. For this purpose, filers may use the mail service, service by hand delivery, send an e-mail, or your EFSP as it offers the option of electronic service of each filing to the designated service contact.
Can the court electronically serve (e-serve) other parties for me?
No, at this time the court will not electronically serve other parties on behalf of another party. Contact your EFSP for options.
If I file electronically, have I consented to electronic service on this case?
Yes, refer to California Rules of Court, Rule 2.251(b)(1)(B). By eFiling the document, you agree to accept electronic service at the electronic service address you provided. Self-represented parties must affirmatively consent to acceptance of electronic service.
Can I upload documents together or must they be separated?
Each stand-alone form which requires a file stamp, must be filed separately, as a document that gets its own filing code. For instance a document that would have been stapled together at filing should be filed as one lead document.
Is there a size limit for which the document can be uploaded?
Yes, an envelope cannot be larger than 35 megabytes and a single document cannot be larger than 25 megabytes. If the filing is larger than these parameters, please try compressing each document. There have been initial problems that were resolved by calling the EFSP.
What format do I have to save my documents in?
PDF, however some EFSPs allow you to file as a Word document as they will take care of the conversion.
Do I have to add OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to my document?
Yes, pursuant to California Rule of Court 2.256(b)(3), a document filed electronically must be text searchable.
Questions Regarding eFiling?
Please contact eFiling@occourts.org