How does e-filing work?
Electronic filing or e-filing allows filers and courts to process documents and related fees online, efficiently. The e-filing process is as follows:
- The filer scans or converts their signed documents to PDF.
- The filer logs into their e-filing account (as opposed to driving to the court, parking, waiting in line, and then driving back).
- The filer chooses the category of document (such as “Request for Order, Motion, Declaration, etc.) from a dropdown menu designated by their court, and then uploads their document(s).
- The filer clicks “submit,” and the documents are, effectively, handed to the clerk without the filer having to leave his/her home or office. Similarly, the clerk receives the documents without a plethora of extracurricular conversation from 10s or 100s of people standing in line, which enables the clerks to process documents much faster.
- The clerk receives the documents (as though the documents had been handed over the counter), and then accepts or rejects the documents (again, as though the documents had been handed over the counter). If accepted, you receive a filed-endorsed copy of the submitted document(s); if rejected, the clerk, typically, returns a note or comment advising of that which needs to be corrected, so you can make the necessary adjustments.
How do I register with 2 Filing or switch providers?
To get started e-filing, all you need to do is select an Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP), such as us, who acts as a gateway between you and the court. Once you register with a service-provider, such as us, you will, effectively, be registered with the State’s system, which means that you can port your username and password to another service provider if you, ever, so choose. The same is true in the reverse, meaning that, if you are already registered with another provider, you can simply log into our system using your already existing username and password.
Can I use 2 Filing if I am a self-represented litigant?
Yes. Self-represented parties are eligible to e-file. When registering, simply chose the “self-represented account” option.
Can fillable forms be submitted via e-filing?
Yes. The Judicial Council provides numerous fillable forms that can be used for filing. The state forms can be found here.
Courts, also, have local forms and some courts offer them as, both, standard PDFs and fillable PDFs. You will need to check your local court’s website and forms page, to see if your court offers fillable PDF forms.
When e-filing fillable PDFs be sure that fields are no longer fillable before submitting them for e-filing. Depending on your preference or the software you are using, this can be done manually or digitally:
- To do this manually, you simply print and sign your form, and then scan the paper document to PDF.
- To do this digitally, you can do this in a couple of ways, depending on your software:
- If you have Acrobat Pro, you can often print the form to the Acrobat Printer and save the file with a different name.
- If you do not have Acrobat Pro,download a free PDF printer (for example, Solid PDF Creator or a similar PDF Printer) and print your fillable document to that PDF Printer, which will serve to remove the fields in the PDF. This even works in those rare instances when Acrobat Pro will not let you print to the Acrobat printer – in this case, simply print your Acrobat PDF to the third-party PDF printer (basically, tricking Acrobat into removing the fields). The resulting PDF will still open in Acrobat (so long as it is your default program for PDFs), the only difference being that the fillable fields are gone.
Is e-filing secure?
Yes. Our e-filing portal adheres to California and federal security regulations. It also meets Payment Card Industry Security Standards to protect the filer and transaction information.
What type of cases can I e-file?
Most courts restrict e-filing to non-criminal cases.
If you are wondering about a specific case type for your court, you should check your court’s website where such information is, typically, found on an independent page on the court’s website or within the text of the court’s local rules.
Alternatively, you can contact the court clerk and inquire – depending on your court’s telephone tree system, calling the clerk may or may not end up being a more pleasant experience than searching the court’s website.
What is the typical turnaround time for processing an e-filing?
It is dependent on the type of document and the court. Courts, typically, process documents within 24 hours of e-filing. However, impacted courts or certain documents, such as proposed orders and other documents needing additional action, can take longer to process.
What if my hearing or document is due within 24 hours of filing?
If your hearing date is within 24 hours, or if you have another reason to contact the court about an urgent filing, you can call your court during its hours of telephone operation (which varies from county-to-county), so that your document processing can be expedited. You will need to have your e-filing transaction number when you contact the court, so that the clerk can find your transmission quickly and efficiently.
You, also, have the incidental/optional ability to leave a short note to the clerk when submitting your documents, for example:
Thank you, so much. Have a wonderful day.
The word “Rush” at the beginning jumps out as an obvious urgency; the phrase ‘file-on-demand’ is a term of art accepted by most courts in which case the clerk will file-stamp your documents whether they are perfect or not. This is an informal way to ask the clerk to rush your documents, so you should use this method, discretionarily, as the desired response may or may not be dependent on the clerk’s familiarity with you.
In our opinion, kind words to the clerk, such as, “Thank you, so much. Have a wonderful day,” should be used irrelevant of whether you are filing urgently or conveniently, or whether you are native (or not) to the local court in which you are filing. This is, simply, good practice as well as professional decency. Whether the clerk accepts, or must technically reject, your documents is irrelevant – if you are kind at first impression, your subsequent documents (or second go-round, as the case may be) might be all-the-more successful if you take the few seconds to add a couple of kind words.
What is a “filing document name”?
A Filing Document Name refers to the type of filing, such as Answer, Demurrer, Motion, Request for Order, etc.) and is used to designate your document(s) upon submission. When submitting documents, this option appears in the form of a dropdown menu from which you choose the name of the document that is being submitted. Each county has its own configuration (designated list) of document names.
Using the correct Filing Document Name is important, as it determines the appropriate fee and court workflow. For example, if you choose “Motion – no fee” when the motion you are filing is chargeable, your submission will most likely be rejected. Similarly, family law litigants will want to keep this in mind when filing motions to modify custody or visitation, because these motions have a slightly higher fee than do initial and other motions, so family law filers will want to be sure to choose the correct motion or optional add-on fee.
Oftentimes, if a county has not designated a document within their configuration/list of selectable documents, and it is a document that does not require a filing fee (be assured this is the only kind of document that a government agency would not pre-designate), you may be able to choose something generic, such as “Declaration,” and then properly identify the document in the description. It would not hurt to mention that you did so, for the reasons you did so, in the optional note to the clerk; this would just help the clerk to understand the process you did and, likely, push your filing thru if there are not substantive problems.
What are the typical e-file return reasons?
E-filings are commonly rejected/returned for several reasons:
- Multiple documents are submitted as a single PDF, for example, a Responsive Declaration and a Memorandum of Points and Authorities are scanned as one document – this would be rejected because each document that is being filed should be a separate PDF – a general rule to follow is that (aside from required cover pages per local rules) if the document has its own caption page, it should probably be filed as an individual document. If you add Proofs of Service to the back of your documents rather than filing an independent Proof of Service, you may wish to notate something to this effect within the document description, such as “(With POS)”.
- Incorrect Filing Document Name is selected – again, see above.
- Incorrect court location is selected, when creating a new case. Some counties have multiple civil courts, multiple family courts, and so on. Make sure that you are selecting the correct courthouse within your county. For counties with multiple courthouses that handle the same types of matters, the court’s website usually advises you on how to select the proper courthouse, such as by residential zip code, etc.…
- Incorrect case type is selected, when creating a new case – this is rather obvious – you cannot select one “case-type” to designate the case, and then file a different kind of Petition or Complaint.
- Missing required documents, when creating a new case – while this may seem obvious, even the most seasoned practitioners often forget to submit nuance For example, after having submitted 50 DV Restraining Orders, one may forget that a Civil Case Cover Sheet is required for a CH Restraining Order (which is, virtually/otherwise, identical to a DV Restraining Order). This commonly happens among attorneys who practice in similar/overlaid areas of law. It will not be the first time it has ever happened and, if it occurs, it will not be the last time it happens. Just try not to make it happen on a Friday.
- Missing required information on a document – clerks, typically, do not review declarations and similar documents for content, however, if you are filing technical documents (often in probate or enforcement of judgment cases), there are certain statutory requirements for which the clerk has to look out and confirm are within the document.
- Uploading the wrong document – yes, this happens, so be sure to name your PDFs intelligibly, when saving, so you can easily identify and upload the correct PDFs.
I am e-filing a document that has a fax signature. Do I need to designate it as such?
Yes. Pursuant to California Rule of Court, Rule 2.305, e-filing parties are required to notate when the signature is by fax. To accomplish this, consistently, you can do this a couple of different ways:
- Make a notation on the papers you are submitting that complies with your court’s requirements, such as “Filed by Fax,” “Faxed Signatures,” or “Faxed Signatures Shall be Deemed Original.”
- Create a simple image stamp in Acrobat, such as the image we have created below, and make it a part of your routine/workflow to apply it to every PDF that is uploaded.
You can, also, add your PDF Stamps to your favorites list for quick access, so you do not have to peruse through 10 or 15 stamps in order to get to the one or two stamps that you commonly use. Here is a how-to on creating stamps and adding them to your favorites list.
Feel free to shortcut the creation of the Acrobat stamp and use the provided image, above, if you wish. Once saved as an image, adding it to your stamp list and favorite list should only take about 2 to 4 minutes, including reading the tutorial.
When can I use e-filing?
Our e-filing portal is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, keep in mind that, for your document(s) to be filed the same day, the submission must be transmitted to the court by the time specified by the court. For example, if your court’s cutoff time is 4:00pm, any documents submitted for e-filing after 4:00pm would be file-stamped on the next court day.
Can I send a confirmation e-mail to a colleague or other recipient?
Yes, the system allows the option to send a confirmation email to several recipient(s) [email address(es)] to let others know that the filing has been submitted.
This comes in handy, for example, when ‘the boss’ wants confirmation, immediately, once a certain document has been filed or even if you just want to send a courtesy notice to an opposing counsel so they can feel comforted that a stipulation or other document has been submitted. As attorneys may understand, opposing counsels, sometimes, need to be comforted, too. That is A-Okay!
It is not a requisite; it is merely an optional tool.
Is technical support available for the e-filing system?
Yes, please see our contact page for the appropriate telephone numbers.
What is e-service?
E-service is a feature where documents are electronically served to the other party/ies via e-mail, either, through traditional email or through the e-filing system.
When e-serving through the filing system, you can track when each party receives and opens the filing. This option is not available for service of the first filing, such as a Summons, Complaint, or Petition.
Each party wishing to serve and accept documents by electronic service, generally, must sign and file a consent to electronic service (unless your court automatically enrolls you in e-service by virtue of submitting documents thru e-filing).
If you need to sign a consent form, it can be found here.
Can I use e-service without filing a document with the Court?
Yes, the e-filing portal may be used to exchange documents between parties and counsel without filing the documents through the courts.
Is there a size limit for the document that can be uploaded?
Yes. The limit for a single PDF document is 25mb, and the entire submission (all documents, together) cannot exceed 35mb.
If you need to reduce your file size, you can do it several ways:
- If you are using Acrobat Pro, then you can simply go to the file menu, select Save As Other and navigate to Reduced File Size or Optimized PDF.
- If you do not have Acrobat Pro, and you need to reduce your PDF file size, you can download a PDF Compressor. Just be sure to check out the PDF Compressor you are downloading – many sites or companies offer free software only to bundle it with junk or adware.
- Another alternative would be to, simply, submit each large document as an independent submission, thereby, allowing each submission (and document) to be up to 25mb
In what format should I e-file my document?
With our e-filing service you can upload documents as PDFs or WORD Documents. In the case of WORD Documents, the “/s/” notation is often used to represent that a signature bears on the original document. If you upload a WORD document, our user-friendly system will convert it to a PDF, for filing purposes. Be sure to check with your local court as to their requirements and preferences, as some courts want to see an actual signature rather than “/s/”.
To what will I have access, by using this e-filing system?
Aside from saving money as compared to the majority of our competitors, you will, also, save time by avoiding trips to the court. You will, also, have access to a user-friendly portal designed to make filing easy, digital records available to monitor and track anytime, PDF conversion, E-service, case summary views, and detailed reporting.
Are e-filing convenience fees recoverable, upon judgment?
Yes, in case you are not already aware, e-filing fees are recoverable costs on judgment, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §1033.5(a)(14) and (15).
Ready to file with us? Click on our e-filing Portal link below to login using your current username and password or to register to set-up an account, today!