Superior Court of California, County of Solano

Fairfield Branch | Vallejo Branch

FAQs

Adoptions FAQs How long does the adoption process take? The length of time depends upon the Petitioner(s). The Petitioner(s) will be required to submit several documents, including certified copies of both birth certificates, a marriage certificate, prior divorce decrees, employment verifications, letters of reference and consents, etc.. A home study and recommendation will also need to be prepared by the Court Investigators or Department of Social Services, depending upon which type of adoption proceeding you file. The parental rights of one biological parent may need to be terminated. An adoption can take anywhere from approximately six months to a year to complete.

Do I need an attorney to represent me in the adoption proceedings? Addtional Adoption Information

What is a stepparent adoption?

A stepparent adoption is where a person adopts his or her spouse's or registered domestic partner's child.

If you are not married to or in a registered domestic partnership with the child's legal parent, you cannot do a stepparent adoption. You might want to talk to a lawyer to see what other options you have.

A stepparent adoption packet is located in the Family Law and Probate Division clerks office.

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Civil FAQs Do you accept FAX filings? Solano County does not accept FAX filings unless it is through a FAX filing agency.

Do my forms need to be typed?

The court prefers that all forms be typed.

How many copies should I provide when filing a document? You should provide an original and two copies.

Should I provide a courtesy copy of motion papers for the department?

No courtesy copies required.

Additional Civil Court Information

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Court Reporter Fee FAQs What case types are eligible for this fee? This fee applies to Civil, Family and Probate proceedings initiated by a party to the action.

Is the $30.00 fee for court reporting services in proceedings lasting under one hour collected from one party or from all parties? Only one $30.00 fee is collected for each proceeding.  The party initiating the proceeding is responsible for paying the fee.

When does the Court collect the fee?

For moving papers filed on or after August 1, 2012, the $30.00 fee will be collected from the initiating party when the moving papers are filed with the clerk.

For moving papers filed prior to August 1, 2012, with a calendar date after August 1, 2012, the initiating party may be advised at the beginning of their hearing to pay the $30.00 in the clerk�s office when the hearing is concluded.

The fee is non-refundable even if the proceeding is taken off calendar.

Are public entities exempt from paying the court reporter fee? Yes. The $30.00 fee for proceedings lasting under one hour are not collected from a public entity.

May the parties waive the services of a court reporter to be ineligible for the $30.00 fee? No.  The payment of the fee is not subject to the request of the party.

May the Court waive the $30.00 fee because of a party's financial condition? Yes.  The court may (but is not required to) waive fees itemized in the Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001).

What are the primary changes related to the deposit of the advance jury fees?

The four primary changes related to the deposit of the advance jury fees are:

What are the new deadlines for depositing the advance jury fees?

Beginning June 28, 2012, the advance jury fees must be deposited:

Are public entities exempt from paying the advance jury fees? No.  The advance jury fees, as well as the daily jury fees will be collected  from a public entity. Back to Top

Criminal FAQs What do I bring to court?

How do I get a lawyer to assist me? http://www.solano-county-lawyer-referral.com/
http://www.solanolibrary.com/
http://www.calbar.ca.gov/

How do I get a Public Defender? You may request a Public Defender from the Judge at your first appearance, the arraignment hearing. The court will make a determination to appoint a Public Defender for you.

When is my court date? You may access the Court’s website at www.solano.courts.ca.gov and search in CourtConnect by your name, or you may contact the Clerk’s office in person, or by telephone to obtain this information.

I missed my court date. How do I get a court hearing date? A bench warrant may have been issued for your failure to appear. Appear in person at the Criminal Clerk’s office on Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. If you are eligible, you will be given a new court date in two weeks. If you posted a bail bond, the bond was forfeited and you will be required to appear with a Reassumption of Liability obtained through the bond company at the next court hearing date.

How do I clear my bench warrant? Court Locations are 530 Union Ave., Suite 200, Fairfield, CA 94533, or 321 Tuolumne Ave., Vallejo, CA to determine if the court will place your matter on calendar. The bench warrant will remain outstanding until you appear at the next court hearing date.

Where can I pay my fines? You can mail your fines and fees, or pay in person to the appropriate court locations from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Back to Top

Family Law FAQs What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence happens in many forms between two people in an intimate relationship. Physical violence includes kicking, punching, shoving, slapping or striking in any way that hurts your body. Sexual violence includes unwelcome touching, fondling or forced intimacy. Emotional violence using coercion or threats and anger to create a controlling and fearful relationship.

Where do I get the forms for a domestic violence restraining order? There is a domestic violence forms packet available in the Family Law Division Clerk's Office, the Solano Legal Access Center or can be downloaded at www.courts.ca.gov .  The forms packet is complete with instructions and is free of charge.

How do I get an emergency hearing?

Ex Parte applications or emergency hearings are heard by appointment only. The appointment must be scheduled directly with a family law judicial assistant. The fee for a ex parte application is $40. There is no fee for submitting an domestic violence restraining order.

All ex parte applications and domestic violence restraining orders must be completed and ready for submission before 1 p.m.

Where can I get help with forms and legal advice?

The Solano Legal Access Center (SLAC) is located on the second floor in the Hall of Justice at 600 Union Avenue, Fairfield CA. They are open every weekday with the exception of Wednesday from 8:15 to 2:00 p.m.

See the Solano Legal Access Center page for more details.

I appeared in Court last week. When am I going to receive my order? If you represent yourself, it is YOUR responsibility to prepare a Findings and Order After Hearing or other applicable order. You may purchase copies of the minute order from the hearing at the Family Law Division of the Clerk's Office for a charge of $.50 per page. The minute order can provide you with information needed for your order after hearing, i.e., the judge's name, the department, date and specific orders made by the judge. Refer to Solano County Local Rules of Court 5.9 for more instructions. The Local Rules of Court can be downloaded or viewed from this website.

When is the legal process complete and the dissolution final?

The process of obtaining a divorce begins when you file the initial papers. Your dissolution is not complete until all disagreements are settleed and you have prepared and filed all necessary paperwork with the court, and you receive a Notice of Entry of Judgment. You are not divorced until your judgment is filed and entered by the court.

A person is able to remarry only after the judgment has been entered ending your martial status. The earliest date mairtal status can be ended is six months and one day after the Respondent was served with the Summons and Petition for Dissolution.

It is the responsibility of either or both parties to prepare and file all documents and bring your case to Judgment. It is important that you seek legal advice if you have any questions.

Is my divorce automatically final in 6 months? Absolutely not! In California, there is a MINIMUM time of 6 months and 1 day from the date the Respondent is served before a divorce can become final.

How do I get copies of my divorce decree (judgment)?

There may be a time, even years after your divorce, that you need a copy of the divorce papers.

To get copies of divorce documents, go to the courthouse in Fairfield located at 600 Union Avenue and ask for a copy or send a request through the mail.

To request a copy by mail, send us:

1. Your written request, including your case number if you have it. If you do not have your case number, include in your letter the first and last names of both parties and the approximate year of the divorce. This information will help our office locate your case number. If it takes our office more than 10 minutes to locate your case number, a $10 search fee is required in addition to the fees outlined below.

2. A check payable to the Solano Superior Court in the amount of $15 for a certified copy or .50 cents per side per page. If you do not need a certified copy we recommend sending a check not to exceed $15.

3. A self-addressed stampled legal-sized envelope with enough postage to mail you back your documents.

 

 

 

When I come to the clerk\'s office to file papers, what do I need to bring?

If you have an existing case, please bring your case number, the names of the involved parties and any documents you may have filed in that case. There may be applicable filing fees. The Family Law Division of the Clerk's Office accepts cash, check, Visa, Mastercard or Discover card.

Additional Family Law Court Information

What is a Paternity case?

Paternity is the legal determination of fatherhood. Establishing paternity is the legal process of determining the biological father of a child. When parents are married, in most cases, paternity is established without legal action. If parents are unmarried, establishment of paternity requires a court order. This process should be started by both parents as soon as possible for the benefit of the child(ren).

Until paternity is established, the father does not have the legal rights or responsibilities of a parent. Establishing paternity is neccessary before custody; visitation and child support may be ordered by the court.

What are the filing fees?

There is a filing fee for all matters except Domestic Violence restraining orders and Department of Child Support cases. If you cannot afford to pay filing fees, you may request an Request to Waive Court Fees and Costs. Forms are available at both locations of the clerk's office or you can download the forms at the California Judicial Council's website: http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm

 

What is Child Recommending Counseling (CCRC)? Formally known as"Mediation" See An Introduction to Family Court Services. Back to Top

Jury Services FAQs Is jury duty mandatory? Yes. It is a right of citizenship and required by law.

How did we get your name?

I received a jury summons for someone who is deceased or no longer lives at this address, what should I do with the summons? If you are acquainted with the individual and familiar with their circumstance, you may complete and return the summons on their behalf. Sign the summons indicating your relationship to the summoned juror. If you are not acquainted with the person, state on the front of the unopened summons "this person is no longer at this address" and place the summons back in the mail. The Department of Motor Vehicles and the Registrar of Voters is our source of information. You should notify these two sources to avoid receiving any further jury summonses at your address.

Can I be excused for medical, mental, or physical disability reasons? Yes. A juror must provide a physician's verification note on a prescription pad or letterhead signed by a doctor. The note must state that the juror cannot serve on jury duty for medical reasons and should indicate the length or duration of the illness or problem. If the condition is permanent or long term, the physician must also include that information in his/her statement. Obtaining a copy of your doctor's letter for your personal file is advised.

Are Correctional Officers exempt from jury service? No. Only peace officer's whose positions are defined under Penal Code sections 830.1, 830.2(a-c) and 830.33(a) are exempt from jury service.

Are stay at home parents excused from jury service? No. Neither stay at home parents nor childcare providers are exempt or excused from jury service. Children are not allowed in the courtrooms. Alternative arrangements will need to be made. If additional time is needed to arrange for childcare complete and return the section titled "Request for Postponement".

Are individuals over 70 years of age exempt from jury service? No. However, Solano County Superior Court requires individuals over the age of 70 who prefer not to attend jury service, complete the section titled "Request To Be Excused" stating their date of birth and a written statement of their request for excuse.

How often can I be summoned?

Effective January 3, 2000, prospective jurors may be summoned once a year. Your term of service is One Day or One Trial. Jurors report in person one day, and may be selected to serve on a case of any length. If not selected for a case on that day, services are completed for one year. If you receive more than one summons during the year, you may be in our database more than once. This often occurs if information received from the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Registrar of Voters are not the same. Hyphenated names, maiden and married names, and names containing a space can cause duplication within the database. If you receive a summons earlier than expected, notify the jury office in writing so we may correct the error and update our database.

Additional Juror Information

What happens if I do not respond to a jury summons? Pursuant to the California Code of Civil Procedures section 209, the court may find the prospective juror who fails to respond to a jury summons in contempt of court, punishable by fine, incarceration, or both. Back to Top

Juvenile FAQs How do I get a copy of a Juvenile Court Record? Juvenile records are confidential and not available to the general public. If you are a party in a case, you may come to the Juvenile division and upon completing Local Form 898 and showing a picture identification card such as a driver's license you may be allowed to view a court file. Welfare and Institutions Code section 827 governs who may review a file and who may have copies of documents from a court file. If you need to request documents from a juvenile court file, you may complete the Request for Disclosure of Juvenile Case File JV-570 , Notice on Request for Disclosure of Juvenile Case File JV-571 , Proof of Service of Request for Disclosure of Juvenile Case JV-569 and submit them to the juvenile court for ruling by a Juvenile Judge.

When is my next court date? Information regarding Juvenile cases is restricted to certain court personnel, the minor, the parents or guardians, attorneys involved in the case and other persons designated by the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court. Picture identification is required before information is given about a scheduled court date.

My child was arrested and taken into custody. Where was my child taken? If your child is under the age of 18, your child was taken to the Juvenile Detention Facility located at 740 Beck Avenue, Fairfield CA 94533; their phone number is (707) 784-6570. If your child is over the age of 18 they were taken to the Solano County Jail located at 500 Union Avenue, Fairfield CA 94533; their phone number is (707) 421-7130.

How do I get the social worker's telephone number that is working on my dependency case?

The social worker's telephone number should be listed at the end of the most recent court report for your case where the social worker signs their name.

My children were removed from my home by CPS, how do I get them back? The answer to this question depends on many factors, including the stage of your case. Your attorney should explain your legal rights and the steps you can take to try to have your children returned to your care. The steps may include following orders that you participate in certain programs, visiting your children, and cooperating with the services provided b the social worker. Back to Top

Probate FAQs What is Probate? Probate is a proceeding in which an executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (if there is no will) is appointed by the court as personal representative to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries (those who are entitled to inherit), all under the supervision of the court. The entire proceeding will take from approximately nine months to one in half years from the time of filing to the final distribution.

What if the person left less than $150,000?

If you have the legal right to inherit personal property, like money in a bank account or stocks, the entire estate is worth $150,000 or less, and there is no real property (land) in the estate you may not have to go to court.

There is a simplified process that can sometimes be used to transfer the property to your name. This process generally cannot be used for real property like a house. The Affidavit Procedure for Collection of Transfer of Personal Property can be found in the Probate Code under Section 13100. Check with a qualified probate attorney as to whether this procedure is appropriate.

What is the person left more than $150,000?

If the deceased person's property is worth more than $150,000, you must go to court and start a probate case.

To do this, you must file one of these petitions form (DE-111) .

Petition for Letters Testamentary

Petition for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed

Petition for Letters of Administration

Petition for Letters of Special Administration

What if I was married to the person who died?

You may be able to use a simple form ( DE-221 ) called a Spousal Property Petition, to get a court order that says what your share of the community property is and what part of your deceased spouses's share of community and separate property belongs to you.

What does the "Custodian of the Will" do?

The person who has the will at the time of the person's death is the custodian of the will.  

Pursuant to Probate Code Section 8200 the custodian has 30 says to lodge the original will with the Probate Clerk's Office:

Hall of Justice

Family Law, Probate and Adoption Division

600 Union Avenue

Fairfield CA 94533

The custodian must also send a copy fo the Will to the Executor. If the custodian does not do these things, he or she can be sued for damages caused.

Additional Probate Information

What happens if there is no Will?

If there is no will and a court case is needed, the court will appoint an Administrator to manage the estate during the Probate process.

The person who wants to be the administrator must file a Petition for Letters of Administration. The Administrator usually is the spouse, domestic partner or close relative of the deceased person.

What happens after a Probate case is filed?

1. The probate clerks sets a hearing date. 2. The petitioner must give the court notice of the hearing to anyone who may have the right to get some part of the estate. The petitioner cannot be the one to mail the notice. It must be mailed by any other adult. 3. A Court Probate Examiner reviews the case before the hearing to see if it was done correctly.

How do I get title to real property without probate?

Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property $150,000 limit. You can reference Probate Code Section 13151. You must file documents with the court and get an order. The total estate is $150,000 or less.

Forms needed: DE-310 , DE-160 , DE-120 , and DE-315 .

How do I get a Small Estate Affidavit?

Total estate is $50,000 or less, real property only. You can reference Probate Code Section 13200. You must file with the court but no order is required.

Forms needed: DE-305 and DE-160 .

Where can I get advice on what I need to do? Contact a qualified probate attorney to review your specific situation and to advise you whether a probate is necessary. An attorney can give you detalied  instructions as to how to change title to assets and collect benefits, and assist in preparing any documents you may need. Most important, an attorney can represent you in court if a probate is necessary, and make sure you do not violate your fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries. You can contact the Solano County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (707) 422-5087.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a court process by which a person other than a parent is given custody of a child or authority over a child's property. Appointment as guardian requires the filing of a petiiton and approval by the court.

If the court appoints you as a guardian for a child, you will assume important duties and obligations. You will become responsible to the court. It is essential that you clearly understand your duties and responsibilities as guardian. If you have any questions, your should consult with an attorney who is qualified to advise you in these matters.

A Guardianship packet is located in the Family Law and Probate Division Clerks office, in either Fairfield or Vallejo.

 

What is a legal guardian? A legal guardian is an adult to whom the court has given authority and responsibility to provide care for a child, or to manage the child's assets, or both.

Who may be the legal guardian? Relatives, friends of the family, or other interested persons may be considered as potential legal guardians.

What should I consider before I file a petition?

Before you file a petition for guardianship, you should consider the following:

1. Is the guardianship really necessary?

2. Have you considered the alternatives?

3. Do the parents consent to the guardianship?

4. Without parental consent, is there enough evidence for you to prove the need for a guardianship?

5. Do you need legal advice or assistance?

 

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Small Claims FAQs How do I process a small claims case? This information may be downloaded under "Courts/Small Claims."

Is there someone available to answer questions on how to process my case? Yes. The Superior Court of California provides a Small Claims Advisor at no cost. The Advisor is available to assist with Small Claims issues and procedures from filing through enforcement. The Legal Advisor is available for phone consultation, only. The advisor may be reached Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 12 PM to 4 PM and Tuesday from 1 PM to 5 PM  at (707) 344-1446.

How do I find the owner of a business? You may check the city's business licensing bureau or the county clerk's fictitious business name index. If the business is a corporation, check with the California Secretary of State for the exact name and the agent authorized to receive service of process for the corporation.

How do I request forms to file my case? Additional Small Claims Information Back to Top

Traffic FAQs Is there Night Court for traffic citations? Not at this time.

Where do I obtain a copy of an accident report? The arresting agency may be contacted for a copy of an accident report.  At times the judge/commissioner may provide a copy upon court appearance.

What happens if I don't take care of my traffic citation by the appearance date? Failure to take care of your traffic ticket by your appearance date, either by paying for it by mail, or by appearing in court on or before, will result in your case being transferred to a collection agency. An additional charge of $300.00 will be imposed, and the DMV may suspend your driver's license. In some instances there may be a warrant ordered for your arrest.

Who do I contact regarding a traffic citation I received? On your citation there is a location indicated to which you are to report. Court addresses are available on our Court Locations page.

I received a traffic citation but I have not received a notice with the bail amount, what should I do? Additional Traffic Court Information

Am I eligible for traffic school? You may be eligible to attend traffic school if all of the following apply:

�If you have not attended traffic school within the last 18 months prior to this citation;
�You have a valid driver's license;
�You have no outstanding Failures to Appear;
�This citation only involves a moving infraction and does not involve any drug or alcohol violations;
�You were not speeding more than 25 mph over the posted limit.
Failure to attend traffic school can adversely affect your driving record and insurance.

Do I have to show up in person? The majority of traffic citations are not mandatory appearances. Check your courtesy notice for this information. If you signed your citation, you should at least make sure you contact the court on or before your court date.

Can I get an extension and if so, how? Generally, yes. There are different types of extensions for different types of traffic matters. The procedures vary between the two courts. You will need to contact the court listed on your citation for further details.

I've registered for traffic school, what should I do now? Once you have paid your bail plus the $49 traffic school fee to the court, you will receive a 90 day continuance to allow you time to go to school and present proof of completion to the court. Please refer to Traffic School information for the list of schools. You may present proof at any time on or before that date. When proof is presented to the court, the moving violation will be dismissed.

Do I have to pay the court a fee to attend traffic school and a fee to the traffic school? Yes. A fee is due to the court in the amount of the bail plus $49 and a fee to the Traffic School that you attend. Methods of instruction and class fees vary.

Do you accept credit cards? Yes. Credit card payments are accepted by calling or clicking the branch link:

Fairfield Branch   - 1-800-496-4085

Vallejo Branch   - 1-800-687-2069

Please note: you must have your docket number and bail amount available to use this method.

I received a ticket for your court but I live in Southern California. Where can I get a list of driving schools for my area? You can obtain a list from your local court, from the Department of Motor Vehicles http://www.dmv.ca.gov. You may also check your local yellow pages under Driving Schools.

Can I get legal advice from the clerk assisting me? Clerks are not able to provide legal advice. It is suggested you either contact an attorney or perform your own research prior to filing any paperwork.

What if I am unable to appear in court, can I write a letter? Court Declaration for a Declaration form. This declaration must be filled out properly in order to submit your request to the judicial officer.
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