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Coronavirus/covid-19 COURT INFORMATION

family law

Q. IS THE COURT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC?

A: Santa Barbara County Courthouses are closed through May 23, 2020.

Q. WILL THERE BE COURT HEARINGS?

A: In order to protect the public and court staff, at this time no court hearings will be held in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, or Lompoc during the closure period. All hearings/matters set during this time period, will be postponed and you will receive written notification of your new court date at the address the Court has on file.

Q. WHAT IF I HAVE A HEARING ON A TEMPORARY ORDER? WILL IT STAY IN EFFECT UNTIL MY COURT HEARING?

A: If there are temporary orders in place, those orders will also be continued until your new court date (for example, restraining orders, temporary custody orders, etc.).

Q. WHAT IF MY TIME TO FILE AN ANSWER OR RESPONSE FALLS WITHIN THE CLOSURE TIME PERIOD?

A: The Court has issued an emergency order that extends the time limit for filing documents by considering all days between March 17, 2020 and May 23, 2020, as court holidays, which would not be counted for your deadline. (For example: If you were served on March 18th and your response would normally be due thirty days later, on April 18, you do not count April 18 through May 23.

Q. WHAT IF I HAVE A TEMPORARY VISITATION AND CUSTODY ORDER DURING THE SHELTER-AT-HOME PERIOD?

A: The Court cannot give you advice about whether you can or should continue the regular visitation and custody schedule. The orders remain in place and might be enforced by law enforcement officers. The guidelines included here may be helpful: FAMILY LAW COVID-19 GUIDELINES

Q. HOW DO I FILE FAMILY LAW DOCUMENTS DURING THE CLOSURE TIME PERIOD?

A: All attorneys are required to E-file. Electronic filing is available at www.sbcourts.org.

Self-Represented parties only: During this emergency, the Court and Clerk's Office strongly discourage using the drop-boxes for submitting documents to the Court, and would direct persons to E-file documents, since efiling is safer, with no chance of transmitting viruses.

There will likely be significant delay due to shelter-in-place orders requiring the Court to operate with reduced staff.

For urgent or emergency documents that can only be filed in paper, you may mail your documents by U.S. mail to the proper courthouse location at the address listed on the Court website, www.sbcourts.org, or via the drop boxes located in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Lompoc.

Q: IS THE OFFICE OF THE FAMILY LAW FACILITATOR OPEN TO HELP SELF-REPRESENTED LITIGANTS WITH THEIR FAMILY LAW ISSUES?

A: The courthouse is physically closed until further notice, but the Family Law Facilitator is available for remote assistance. You may call 805.882.4660 (Santa Barbara) or 805.614.6442 (Santa Maria) or email at SBFLF@sbcourts.org for help. Se habla español.


Information is available here on how to establish or modify custody, visitation, support or file for divorce:


You may also obtain more information and assistance regarding completing legal paperwork, obtaining forms, and information at https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp.htm.

Q: HOW DO I FILE A REQUEST FOR A RESTRAINING ORDER IF THE CLERK'S OFFICE IS CLOSED?

A: All attorneys are required to use electronic filing. Self-Represented parties are encouraged to use electronic filing. You may select an E-File service provider of your choice, many of whom are listed on our web site at http://www.odysseyefileca.com/service-providers.htm

The Self-Help tab on our web site contains online assistance in completing legal forms. There you will find Odyssey Guide & File interviews for common family law forms, including Restraining Orders.

Q: HOW DO I FILE LEGAL DOCUMENTS IF I HAVE NO ACCESS TO ELECTRONIC FILING?

A: All attorneys are required to use electronic filing. If it is impossible for Self-Represented parties to file documents electronically, mail or FAX filing are the alternatives. There will likely be significant delay due to shelter-in-place orders requiring the Court to operate with reduced staff.

The mailing addresses for all court locations are located on the Court's website under the General Info tab.

FAX filing phone numbers are:

  • Santa Barbara: 805.882.4519
  • Santa Maria: 805.614.6616

Q: HOW DO I SCHEDULE MEDIATION FOR CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION IF ORDERED BY THE COURT?

A: If you already have an appointment scheduled, our Family Court Services Center (FCS) is conducting mediations by telephone.

If you do not yet have an appointment, new appointments can be requested by contacting Family Court Services at the telephone numbers posted on the Court's website under the Divisions tab/Family Law.

Q: IF MY CHILD AND/OR I MUST SHELTER IN PLACE, HOW DO I COMPLY WITH CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION ORDERS?

A: Unfortunately, that is a legal question as to whether your situation involves an exception to shelter in place orders issued by the County or State. Since the Court is prohibited from giving legal advice, you may wish to seek legal advice or contact the authority issuing the shelter in place order for guidance.

However, the Court always encourages parties to meet and confer in an attempt to resolve areas of potential dispute (if there is no court order restraining contact). The best interests of children should be paramount in this public health crisis and we encourage all to try to reach agreement, if you can, on any modifications of visitation plans needed to ensure the safety of children and their parents in compliance with shelter in place orders.

If an agreement is reached, written stipulations can be filed and submitted to the Court for approval.

If an agreement cannot be reached, parties may file a Request for Order asking the Court to modify custody and visitation plans. However, no court hearings will be scheduled before May 23, 2020, and the Court expects to extend this date should the COVID-19 situation so require.

If you believe you need an emergency hearing in your case, attorneys or self-represented parties may contact the Court and explain the basis for the emergency. The request will be reviewed by a Judge and a determination will be made as to the necessity of a hearing. One judge in Santa Barbara and one judge in Santa Maria have been designated by the Presiding Judge to handle any emergency ex parte requests. These are true EMERGENCY situations ONLY

  • Santa Barbara: 805.882.4590
  • Santa Maria: 805.614.6500

Q: HOW DO I FILE OTHER FAMILY LAW DOCUMENTS WHILE THE COURT IS CLOSED?

A: If you need to complete legal paperwork, you can get forms and information at http://www.courts.ca.gov

Self-Represented parties may contact the Family Law Facilitator's office for telephonic assistance at the phone numbers below.

  • Santa Barbara: 805.882.4660
    Santa Maria: 805.614.6442


COURT LOCATIONS:

SANTA BARBARA:

CIVIL CASES
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107 
(805) 882-4520

CRIMINAL/TRAFFIC CASES
118 E. Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 568-3959

MORE SANTA BARBARA COURTS INFO»


SANTA MARIA:

CIVIL CASES
312-C East Cook Street
Bldg. E
Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 614-6414

CRIMINAL/TRAFFIC CASES
312-M East Cook Street
Bldg. E
Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 346-7550

MORE SANTA MARIA COURTS INFO»


LOMPOC:

115 Civic Center Plaza
Lompoc, CA 93436-6967 
CRIMINAL/TRAFFIC: (805) 737-7789
CIVIL : (805) 737-5452

MORE LOMPOC COURT INFO»


SOLVANG:

1745 Mission Drive, Suite C
Solvang, CA 93463-3605 
(805) 686-5040
* Effective 10/14/14 all matters previously filed at the Solvang Division will be filed at the Lompoc Division.

MORE SOLVANG COURT INFO»

 
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