www.occourts.org is a valuable tool. I just wish more people knew about it. Every month, I receive several calls that go something like this:
I don’t know what the status of my divorce case is, Mr. Farzad. My lawyer won’t return my calls, I am not sure if I have court dates coming up and I am concerned.
My initial response is generally, “have you checked on your case on-line?”
Too many people don’t even know that’s an option. That is why I am writing this article.
www.occourts.org isn’t just for family law. It has the status of civil, criminal, traffic and family law cases. On family law cases, you can know it all. Just plug in your family law case number and you will see the status of your case, the register of actions (everything that has been filed with the court and by whom), a list of all of the past and upcoming court hearings as well as a list of all of the participants, which means you, your spouse and either of your lawyers. We discuss these features more, below.
How great is that? Pretty great.
Another benefit to occourts.org is the ability to order documents on your case. You can check off documents you want to receive and pay for them online. More on this later.
While you should not have to do such a thing if you have a family law lawyer (because your lawyer should have all of the documents filed with the court), if you are self represented and your are concerned something has been filed without being served on you, you can request it and receive it.
A few things about occourts.org of which you should be aware:
- occourts.org is not up to the minute accurate. The court website tells you that there is a delay time between receiving, scanning and having the information online.
- You cannot view the actual document. For that, you need to make a trip to the courthouse.
- occourts.org does not publish paternity cases. Those are private.
- Mistakes do happen from time to time. If you think something is wrong (the court date is different than what you remember, something you know was filed is not showing up as filed), your best bet is to contact us for help. We can get access to the right information very quickly
Features of occourts.org once you pull up your family law case
- You can search by case number or name. If you search by name, then you have to enter a code so the program knows you are a human.
- Once you get to the initial screen, you can see the case number, when the case was filed and the general status of the case, including whether the spouses have ended the status of their marriage.
- The register of actions tab allows you to see everything that has been filed. This is one of the best features of the family law section of occourts.org because if you are concerned you don’t have all of the papers that have been filed, voila! You can check here and go through it. Whatever you are missing, you can get from the family law clerk, which is on the 7th floor of the Lamoreaux Justice Center.
- The participants section tells you who the players are – the husband, wife, each of their lawyers and anyone else who has been “joined” in the case, like a pension plan provider, as one example.
- The hearing section tells you all of the hearings coming up and all of the hearings already passed.
- The “cart” section of occourts.org lets you order documents from the case. Turnaround time is usually a couple of weeks but we have seen it faster. If you really need to get copies of your file, it may be faster to contact our law firm. We can expedite such things.
In short, if you find yourself in the dark about your Orange County family law case, jump online and visit www.occourts.org. Then, contact our experienced family law attorneys for an initial consultation. We look forward to helping you.