Learn About Orange County Family Court
Please note: This information may not be up to date by the time you read it. Please go to the official Orange County Superior Court website for up to date information.
Welcome to our Orange County Family Court page. Here, we will go through and explain how the Family Court in our county works in the handling of divorce and family law cases. Our focus will be on divorce and paternity actions. Let's get started.
Orange County Family Court address and directions.
Commencing in 2019, the Orange County Family Court has several locations. The courthouse located at 341 The City Drive West in the City of Orange and the courthouse located at 700 Civic Center Drive West in the City of Santa Ana are the main family law courts. However, North Justice Center in Fullerton, Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach and West Justice Center in Westminster either have or will receive family law departments.
The court's phone number is (657) 622-6069. For each department, here is how it works:
Departments at the Lamoreaux Justice Center start with (657) 622-55 and then the department number. For example, department L62 would be (657) 622-5562. The "L" refers to "Lamoreaux" which is the name of the court. The Central Justice Center is Santa Ana works the same way except the number starts with (657) 622-52 and then the department number.
Here is a map and directions to the O.C. family court at the Lamoreaux Justice Center.
The Orange County Family Court is a secure building.
If you have a court appearance at the Family Court, we suggest you get there early. While parking is plentiful in a structure within a very short walking distance, the line builds up quickly. At the Lamoreaux Justice Center, there are two lines that lead into the family court. One of them is for the public. The other one is for court staff and lawyers. Since you will be entering through the public one, we suggest you get there a minimum of 30 minutes before your court-ordered appearance. The Central Justice Center has entrances on the two main sides of the building. The North, Harbor and West Justice Centers have one main entrance.
In addition to the line, there is a security checkpoint inside where you will have to take all metals of your pocket and go through a detector. This includes your belt, change, keys, wallets, watches, etc. The Family Court is very serious about its security and it is easy for the line through the metal detector to back up.
Orange County Family Court departments.
The O.C. Family Court Judges are divided between the courthouse in Orange, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Newport Beach and, soon, Westminster. The "L" refers to the Lamoreaux Justice Center (the Orange Courthouse). The "C" refers to the Central Justice Center (the Santa Ana Courthouse). "N" refers to the North Justice Center. "H" refers to Harbor Justice Center. "W" refers to West Justice Center.
The Family Court departments, as of the date this page is written, include the following:
- C59 Frank Ospino
- C63 Claudia J. Silbar
- C65 Mark S. Millard
- H13 Renee E. Wilson, Commissioner (Harbor Justice Center)
- L11 Carol L. Henson
- L51 Paula J. Coleman, Commissioner
- L52 Barry S. Michaelson, Commissioner
- L53 James L. Flynn, III
- L54 Nancy J. Kasch, Commissioner
- L60 Maurice Sanchez
- L63 Andre De La Cruz
- L64 Daphne G. Sykes
- L65 Scott B. Cooper
- L66 Lon F. Hurwitz, Supervising Judge
- L67 Nathan Vu
- L68 Michael E. Perez
- L69 Sandy N. Leal
- L611 James L. Waltz
- L71 Paul Minerich, Commissioner
- L72 Julie A. Palafox
- L73 Salvador Sarmiento
- N16 David Gaffney (North Justice Center)
Difference between a judge and a commissioner.
The difference between a judge and a commissioner is simple. A judge is either elected by the people or the Governor appoints one. The Supervising Judge of Orange County appoints an O.C. Commissioner. A Commissioner's duties, responsibilities and, for the most part, powers are the same although a Commissioner can be removed at any time.
How the Orange County Family Court handles family law cases.
Divorce or paternity cases are assigned to an individual judge or commissioner after they are filed. That means one Orange County judge or commissioner will hear your case from beginning to end. It does not always work out that way.
Sometimes, a judicial officer may be sick or on vacation. Sometimes, the judicial officer will not have time for your case but because your matter is considered time sensitive, it will be assigned to a different court room that is available to hear it. This is the exception and not the rule at the Orange County Family Court.
Orange County Family Court clerk's office on the 7th floor.
The Family Court clerk's office is on the 7th floor of the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange. It is currently divided into two sections. One section is dedicated to the public. Another is for lawyers. Each section has clerks who assist with filing paperwork or helping you obtain copies of what you may need.
Family law clerks will not give you legal advice.
At the clerk's office, you will also find computers that allow you to search for cases if you have a case number or last name. Paternity cases however are not available because those are confidential.
Orange County Family Court Mediation department.
The contact information for the mediation department is:
Fifth Floor, Room 507 Telephone (657) 622-6196 TDD (657) 622-8390 Office hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
To learn more about child custody mediation that precedes any child custody hearing in Orange County, please visit our California child custody law page.
Orange County Family Court self-help center.
The self-help center is located in room 101 of the Family Law Courthouse in Orange.
The self-help center can help you prepare basic divorce and family law forms and documents.
They also have workshops, "how to" form packets and booklets and other ways to help you represent yourself. While self-representation is never the best course of action, on very simple, no asset cases that involve minimal support or custody issues or situations where the person simply cannot afford a lawyer, we understand self-representation is the realistic alternative. Fortunately, the self-help center can assist with those types of cases.
The self-help center is open Monday through Thursday 8:00am to 4:00pm and Friday 8:00am to 3:00pm.
Orange County Family Law Facilitator.
The OC Family law facilitator's office is also located in Room 101 of the Lamoreaux Justice Center.
Here is some important information you should know about the Orange County Family Law Facilitator:
- The family law facilitator is an experienced attorney.
- The family law facilitator is not your attorney. What you tell him or her is not confidential.
- The facilitator will generally help you and your spouse or the other parent if you were not married.
- The facilitator is not a substitute for getting your own lawyer if you want specific legal advice about your case and how you should handle it.
- The family law facilitator helps only with child support cases.
- The family law facilitator helps on a first-come, first served basis. You have to be ready when you meet with the facilitator with your paperwork that they will need to assist with your case.
Orange County Family Law Local Rules.
Orange County Family Court has a set of local rules that apply to every Family law case. This includes divorce and paternity cases.
Hope you found this page helpful. Please contact our divorce lawyers if you have any questions and need an affordable strategy session about your situation.