Where Court Forms are Filed
“Filing court forms or other papers” means giving the papers to a court clerk. They can be given to the clerk by mail or in person.
The form or other paper is considered "filed" only after the court clerk stamps it "Filed." Then, that paper becomes part of the record of the case. The papers are then called “File-stamped,” or “file endorsed.”
Court forms need to be filed in the correct courthouse as decided by state laws and local court rules. Each courthouse has the authority to hear and decide cases of specific subject matter and venue.
For example, in Contra Costa County, one courthouse only hears family law cases, while another courthouse only handles small claims cases for disputes that started in a city which that courthouse serves.
Generally, the person who is starting the case has to learn which courthouse can and will handle the dispute. Once the first papers are filed, the respondent or defendant has to file all of his or her papers in the same courthouse.
If the original case was heard in Martinez, you must file the appeal in Martinez.
If the original case was heard in a branch court, you must file the appeal in that branch court.
Civil Cases (Limited and Unlimited)
All civil case documents are only filed in the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse in Martinez.
Note: Limited Civil documents can be dropped off in the branch courts but they will not be filed there. They will be sent to Martinez to be filed.)
Civil Cases (Small Claims and Unlawful Detainer)
Small Claims and Unlawful Detainer documents are filed in the court serving the city where the dispute started.
The District Attorney files all criminal case documents in the court serving the city where the violation occurred.
NOTE: Walnut Creek Court no longer hears criminal matters. All Walnut Creek criminal cases are handled in Martinez.
Elder Abuse cases are filed in the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse, Martinez on the first floor, Room 103.
Family Law (including Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and Adoptions)
All family law cases, including Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and Adoptions are filed in the Spinetta Family Law Center in Martinez.
All juvenile case documents are filed only in the Walnut Creek Superior Court in Walnut Creek.
Probate, Guardianship and Conservatorships
All Probate, Guardianship and Conservatorship documents are only filed in the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse in Martinez.
The traffic citation, or the courtesy notice sent to the traffic violator, will indicate which courthouse will be handling the case.
A criminal case is an action brought by the government against a person who has broken penal law. Criminal cases are separated into three main categories, felony, misdemeanors, and infractions. All criminal cases are processed and heard at the Wakefield Taylor Courthouse, or at the A. F. Bray Courthouse.
Juvenile cases are those involving minors under the age of 18 years. These are separated into two main categories: Juvenile Delinquency for minors who have broken penal law and Juvenile Dependency for minors who have been removed from the home and/or care of their parents or guardians.
Traffic cases are those in which citations have been issued for a violation of traffic laws. Traffic cases are heard and processed at the Walnut Creek Superior Court location.