Divisions

Adoption

Adoptions are filed at the family law division located on the second floor of the historic courthouse. As described below, there are various types of adoptions; some handled by an agency, and some by private parties. Please see the resources listed on this website for assistance in filing for adoption of either minors or adults. We will be unable to set an adoption for finalization until all required documents are received in the file.

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Appeals

A non-prevailing party in a case may ask a higher court to review the decision in their case and determine if the decision was correct. They may do this by filing an appeal or, in some instances, a writ. Appeals and writs may be heard in the Superior Court, District Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.

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Civil

The civil division of the court handles cases where one party sues another to recover money or property, enforce a contract, collect damages, or protect civil rights. Petitions to change names, civil harassment, minor’s compromised claims, and workplace violence are also handled by the civil division.

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Criminal

A criminal case is a proceeding in which someone is charged with a public offense (i.e., with committing a crime). DUI, fish & game, and dog/animal control citations are also processed in the criminal division.

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Family Law

The family law division serves parties who have matters involving: disso-lution, separation or nullity of marriage; establishment of parental relationship; petitions for custody and support; motions for child custody, support, or visitation; support enforcement; elder abuse; emancipation; mediation; and ADR.

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Jury Services

The right to a trial by jury is a privilege that applies to both criminal and civil cases and is recognized as the foundation of the American court system, guaranteed by both the United States and California Constitutions.

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Juvenile

Juvenile delinquency and dependency division is located on the third floor of the historic courthouse. Juvenile delinquency matters are defined under the CA Welfare and Institutions code, and involve any persons under the age of 18 (minors) who are accused of violations of any law of the state or of the United States, or minors who are habitually disobedient or truant.

Juvenile dependency matters are defined under the CA Welfare and Institutions code, and involve the protection of minors who suffer harm, abuse, or neglect inflicted by the parents or guardians of said minors.

Juvenile infraction matters for traffic violations, fish & game violations, local city and county ordinances, boating, and dog/animal citations are handled through the Criminal/Traffic Division.

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Probate, Conservatorship & Guardianship

Probate, conservatorship, and guard-ianship matters address a person’s finances upon death or the care of an adult person that is unable to care for their self or their finances. Probate cases address a person’s estate, resolve debts, and distribute the remaining property/monies to heirs or beneficiaries. Conservatorship cases appoint caregivers to care for a person and their finances. Guardianship is a court proceeding in which a judge gives someone who is not the parent custody of a child, or the power to manage the child's property (called "estate"), or both.

The Self-Help Center can assist you with completing the paperwork to ask the court for guardianship of the person of a minor child.

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Small Claims

Small claims cases are lawsuits that do not exceed $7,500 and are resolved quickly and inexpensively with relatively simple and informal rules.

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© 2009 Superior Court of California, County of Tuolumne