Nov 30, 2022
A A A

HOW TO FILE DOCUMENTS AT THE FAMILY LAW & PROBATE CLERK’S OFFICE

Location: Civil and Family Law Courthouse, 3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa CA 95403
Phone: (707) 521-6630

Current office and phone hours are posted on the Family Law Division Home Page.

There are four ways to file documents at the Family Law & Probate Clerk’s Office:

  1. E-file online.
  2. File in person.
  3. File by drop box.
  4. File by mail.

If time permits, you can make an appointment to have your forms reviewed by staff at the Family Law Facilitator & Self-Help Center before you file them at the clerk’s office.

OPTION 1: E-FILE ONLINE

How to e-file documents:

Click here to view a printable flyer from SHARP TECH Connect about How to E-File Documents with the Court as a Self-Represented Litigant.*

Click here to access the e-filing portal.

If you have questions about e-filing procedures that are not already answered on the court’s E-filing Information and Frequently Asked Questions page, you can call the clerk’s office’s e-filing voicemail line at (707) 521-1050.

Please note, court staff do not provide technical support for e-filing. If you need technical support, please contact your electronic filing service provider directly.

If you have an urgent filing deadline or an upcoming hearing or trial:

  • Include the hearing or trial date and location in the filing description (e.g. “HRG 8/05/2022 DEPT 20” or “TRIAL 8/11/2022 in DEPT 22”).
  • If your hearing or trial is within 24 hours or you were ordered to file your document(s) today, you can request expedited e-filing by voicemail at (707) 521-1050 or e-mail to efilingsupport@sonomacourt.org. Be sure to include your first and last name, your case number and your e-filing envelope number.

*Our thanks to Sharp Courts for sharing this resource.

OPTION 2: FILE IN PERSON

How to file in person:

Bring the following items to the clerk’s office:

  1. The original, plus two extra copies, of each document you are filing.

    The clerk will keep the original, stamp the copies and give them back to you. One copy is for you to keep and the other is for you to have served on the other party to your case.

    If there are more than two parties to your case, bring enough copies to have one served on each party.

    Scroll down to the “Filing Tips” section for instructions about how to organize your documents for faster processing at the window.

  2. Payment for any applicable filing fees.

    There are no filing fees for documents related to child support in a case involving the Department of Child Support Services or for documents related to a domestic violence restraining order.

    To confirm whether there is a fee to file your documents, check the Statewide Civil Fee Schedule or call the clerk’s office during their telephone hours. Filing fees can be paid with cash, check, cashier’s check, money order, debit card or credit card.

    If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can apply for a fee waiver at the same time you file your documents.

  3. If your case is confidential, your photo identification.

    All adoption cases and most custody cases between parents who were never married are confidential under California law. Your ID is not required to simply file a document, but if you need any information whatsoever from the court’s records, the clerk must verify your identity before giving it to you.

If you have an urgent filing deadline or an upcoming hearing or trial:

  • This is the best way for you to file documents as a self-represented party because if the clerk has to reject them for any reason, you can try to correct the problem or issue immediately and still meet your deadline.

OPTION 3: FILE BY DROP BOX

How to file by drop box:

Put your documents in a large envelope and deposit them in the drop box mounted on the wall to the left of the courthouse entrance.

Do not deposit loose documents or use a paperclip instead of an envelope because your documents may separate and cause your filing to be rejected or delayed.

Be sure to include in your envelope:

  1. The original, plus two extra copies, of each document you are filing.

    The clerk will keep the original, stamp the copies and mail them to you. One copy is for you to keep and the other is for you to have served on the other party to your case.

    If there are more than two parties to your case, bring enough copies to have one served on each party.

    Scroll down to the “Filing Tips” section for instructions about how to organize your documents.

  2. Payment for any applicable filing fees.

    There are no filing fees for documents related to child support in a case involving the Department of Child Support Services or for documents related to a domestic violence restraining order.

    To confirm whether there is a fee to file your documents, check the Statewide Civil Fee Schedule or call the clerk’s office during their telephone hours. Filing fees can be paid with cash, check, cashier’s check, money order, debit card or credit card.

    If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can apply for a fee waiver at the same time you file your documents.

  3. A self-addressed, stamped envelope.

    Make sure the envelope is large enough and has enough return postage for the clerk to mail all of the filed copies of your documents to you.

    If you do not provide an envelope, your copies will not be returned to you.

If you have an urgent filing deadline or an upcoming hearing or trial:

  • This is not a good way to file documents as a self-represented party because if the clerk has to reject them for any reason, they will be returned to you by mail, which can take several days depending on where you live. By that point, you may have missed your deadline.

OPTION 4: FILE BY MAIL

How to file by mail:

Mail your documents to:

Family Law & Probate Clerk’s Office
Civil & Family Law Courthouse
3055 Cleveland Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Be sure to include:

  1. The original, plus two extra copies, of each document you are filing.

    The clerk will keep the original, stamp the copies and mail them back to you. One copy is for you to keep and the other is for you to have served on the other party to your case.

    If there are more than two parties to your case, bring enough copies to have one served on each party.

    Scroll down to the “Filing Tips” section for instructions about how to organize your documents.

  2. Payment for any applicable filing fees.

    There are no filing fees for documents related to child support in a case involving the Department of Child Support Services or for documents related to a domestic violence restraining order.

    To confirm whether there is a fee to file your documents, check the Statewide Civil Fee Schedule or call the clerk’s office during their telephone hours. Filing fees can be paid with cash, check, cashier’s check, money order, debit card or credit card.

    If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can apply for a fee waiver at the same time you file your documents.

  3. A self-addressed, stamped envelope.

    Make sure the envelope is large enough and has enough return postage for the clerk to mail all of the filed copies of your documents to you.

    If you do not include an envelope, your copies will not be returned to you.

If you have an urgent filing deadline or an upcoming hearing or trial:

  • This is not a good way to file documents as a self-represented party because if the clerk has to reject them for any reason, they will be returned to you by mail, which can take several days depending on where you live. By that point, you may have missed your deadline.

FILING TIPS

How to organize your documents for faster processing:

  • Use paperclips on original documents and staple the copies.

    This saves time because the clerk is going to digitally scan your original documents, and they have to remove the staples first. The copies can be stapled because they are not going to be scanned, they are going to be stamped and returned to you.

  • Put each original document on top of its corresponding copies and fasten them together with a paperclip.

    For example, if you are filing forms FL-100, FL-105 and FL-110, your documents should be grouped together like this:

    • Original FL-100 (not stapled) for the clerk to scan.
    • Copy of FL-100 (stapled) for you.
    • Copy of FL-100 (stapled) for the other party.
    • Additional copies of FL-100 (stapled) if there are additional parties to your case.
    • Original FL-105 (not stapled) for the clerk to scan.
    • Copy of FL-105 (stapled) for you.
    • Copy of FL-105 (stapled) for the other party.
    • Additional copies of FL-105 if there are additional parties to your case.
    • Original FL-110 (not stapled) for the clerk to scan.
    • Copy of FL-110 (stapled) for you.
    • Copy of FL-110 (stapled) for the other party.
    • Additional copies of FL-110 (stapled) if there are additional parties to your case.

Other Tips:

  • Make sure each copy is identical to the original document.

    If you make any corrections to the original, you must make the exact same corrections on each and every copy.

  • Make sure you have a completed and signed proof of service, if required.

    Some documents have to be filed before they are served, and some documents have to be served before they are served. If you are unsure what is required for your documents, call the Family Law & Probate Clerk’s Office during their telephone hours.

    Please note, you can never serve your own documents, but any adult who is not a party to the case can serve them for you.

  • Make sure all of your documents have your contact information.

    You are the “party without attorney” whose name, address, telephone number and e-mail address go in the upper left corner of the first page of each form.

  • If you are filing a document that is not a form, make sure it is in “fileable format.”

    Documents that are not forms are called “pleadings,” and must be formatted in accordance with California Rules of Court Rule 2.111. See our pleading paper template for an example of what that formatting looks like.

© 2022 Superior Court of Sonoma County