Filing Your Papers

Family law documents may be filed by mail, using a fax filing agency, or in person at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse during normal business hours. The court will not set hearings over the phone. For court hours and location, please refer to the General Information page.

Please be advised of the following when filing documents by mail:

  • Documents will not be filed unless they comply with California Rules of Court, rule 2.100 - external link which require that all documents presented for filing must be legible and either typed or printed.
  • No conformed copies of documents filed with the Family Law Court will be returned by mail unless a self-addressed stamped envelope, with sufficient postage, is provided.
  • All papers presented for filing must be pre-punched in the standard two-hole position at the top of the document and in triplicate.

Fees are required for the filing of some Family Law documents. Please refer to the Fees and Payments section below.

Please be advised of the following when filing in person or placing documents for filing in the Drop Box:

  • Documents received in the Drop box are not processed while you wait; most documents received at the filing counter will be processed and returned to you at the time of filing. Once processed, Drop Box filings will be returned by mail to the address in the caption if a return envelope is not included.
  • Requests for restraining orders must be filed in person and must include a cover sheet with the telephone number where the filer can be reached when the documents are ready to be picked up.
  • Documents must be ready for filing before they are presented at the filing counter or deposited in the Drop Box. Please sign all forms with blue ink to help identify the original document from the copies.
  • Use the date stamp at the drop box on the backside of one of the forms before placing them in the Drop Box. Use a Binder clip to secure the filing fee to the documents so they do not get separated in the Drop Box.

For more tips on preparing documents for filing, download our printable Filing Instructions.

Fees and Payments

Payments for filing fees and certified copies will be accepted via cash, check, money order, or credit card transaction. There will be no extra processing fee for using a credit card for payment. If you are filing by mail or drop box and would like to pay your fee via credit card, you may complete the Credit Card Authorization Form. All fields of this form must be complete and legible with an original signature and must be submitted with your filing.

Payments of the following fees will not be accepted via credit card: Reporters Transcript deposit, Court Reporter fees, Subpoena Witness fees, and payments on court ordered payment plans.

Filings paid with check that is returned for non-sufficient funds will be void if not paid by cash or certified check / money order within twenty (20) days of notification. 411.20 Code of Civil Procedure) - external link

For Family Law filing fees or other court filing fees, please refer to the Fees page.

If you are unable to pay fees and costs, you may ask the court to waive the fees using this packet:

Serving Your Papers

Serving Someone Who Lives Outside of California

To serve someone who does not live in California, but does live in the United States, please use the following forms:

Serving Someone Who is Incarcerated

To serve someone who is incarcerated, please use the following forms:

Service by Publication or Posting