SAN DIEGO FAMILY LAW E-FILING FAQS
Updated: May 2020
View the San Diego Superior Court Family Law Court's frequently asked questions designed to assist filers e-filing new cases, or into existing cases.
1. How does eFiling work?
Electronic filing or eFiling allows filers 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 website (portal). eFileCA is the eFile website (portal) that manages the flow of information among filers, clerks, court personnel and judges.
2. What is an Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP)?
An Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) is a company/organization that provides a service to submit documents (filings) to the court electronically.
3. Are there fees associated with using eFiling?
Yes, there are fees associated with filing documents electronically with eFileCA.com. In addition, the standard court filing fees may apply and are set per the statewide fee schedule. Filings submitted without the required filing fees will be returned.
4. How do I get started?
First you must select an EFSP. Once selected, that provider will help you with your first filing. Click here for a full list of providers.
5. I am an attorney; do I have to eFile?
No, represented parties may eFile but it is not mandatory at this time.
6. I am a self-represented litigant; do I have to eFile?
No, self-represented litigants may eFile but it is not mandatory at this time.
7. If I already have an approved fee waiver on file, how do I apply it to the documents I am submitting?
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.
8. 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 Court’s Family Law eFiling page. Click here for a list of documents not eligible for eFile.
9. How do I submit documents that are not able to be eFiled?
Documents that are exempt from eFiling can be submitted for filing by mail or in the Clerk’s Office at the appropriate court location, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. To determine the appropriate court filing location, click here.
10. 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.
11. When can I eFile?
eFiling is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, however, the system may be temporarily offline from time to time for maintenance purposes. Please plan accordingly when planning for your filing.
12. What time do I have to submit my document to have it considered filed the same day?
Electronically filed documents filed prior to midnight on a court day will be deemed filed as of that day, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and California Rules of Court, rule 2.253(b)(6). Filing occurs at the time the document is received by the court and a confirmation of receipt is created (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.259(a)(1) and (c).) Any electronically filed document received by the court at midnight, or filed on a non-court day, will be deemed filed on the first court day after it is received. This provision concerns only the method and effective date of filing. Any document that is electronically filed must satisfy all other legal filing deadlines and requirements.See Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and California Rules of Court, rules 2.250 through 2.259 for additional information.
13. What is an “envelope”?
An envelope contains a document or group of documents for a single case number that will be processed in one transaction.
14. 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.
15. 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. You may change your EFSP at any time.
16. Is support available?
Yes, support is provided for all users. 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 ensure that it meets your needs.
17. 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, and California Rule of Court, rule 2.504, the electronic record is the official court record.
18. When will the documents be available to the public?
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 workstations located at any San Diego Superior Court location. A document is considered FILED once it is accepted by the court.
19. What are typical return reasons for my eFiling?
Typical reasons that your eFiling 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
20. Do I need to submit a courtesy copy?
Unless the court requests otherwise – a courtesy copy is not required.
21. 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
22. If I am eFiling a document that has a fax signature, do I have to indicate as such?
Yes, per California Rule of Court, rule 2.305 we encourage filing parties to note when the signature is by fax.
23. Should a document be password protected?
No, documents should not be password protected and will be rejected if the content cannot be viewed.
24. 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.
25. How do I serve other individuals with my eFiled documents?
Filers are responsible for accomplishing service of all filings as required by applicable state and court rules. PLEASE NOTE: You may be notified when eFiling your documents that separate emails will be sent to you by the court with a Notice of Case Assignment and a Notice of Hearing which will require service.
26. 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).
27. Can I upload documents together or must they be separated?
Each stand-alone document which requires a file stamp, must be filed separately Attachments to a filing must be included with that document as one PDF/run-on document.
28. 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.
29. What format do I have to save my documents in?
Save them in PDF format, however some EFSPs allow you to file as a Word document as they will take care of the conversion. Please ask your EFSP on this item.
30. 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.