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FAQs: Essential Forms eFiling

How much does it cost to eFile?

eFiling service is complimentary with your Essential Forms subscription, but there are four different types of fees that may be charged:

  • $10 transmission or delivery fee. Charged regardless of whether the filing is accepted, partial, or rejected. Note this fee is charged per filing package, not per document, since you might have multiple documents/forms to attach.
  • 3% processing fee. Merchant fee charged by the credit card company, and is only charged when the filing has been “accepted.” These fees are not charged when the eFiling is first submitted.
  • Court fees. Varies depending on the filing type, and is only charged when the filing has been “accepted.” These fees are not charged when the eFiling is first submitted.
  • eService fee at $1 per request.

Note: Charges will appear on your credit card statement from “UCLA CEB.”

What counties can I eFile in with Essential Forms?

We are currently set up for Orange County eFiling cases (except Family Law). More counties are on the way!

How does a current Essential Forms subscriber activate eFiling?

If you would like to activate eFiling, first contact CEB customer service at 1-800-232-3444 and have your customer number (or bar number) and a credit card on hand that you would like to use for eFiling.

We will provide you with a specific customer code which you enter in the Essential Forms program under “Help” and “Activate eFiling.” You will get a confirmation notice that your Essential Forms has been successfully activated and must be restarted for these changes to take effect. Open the Essential Forms program, and you should be able to click on the "eFiling" tab to start eFiling.

What is the deadline for eFiling in Orange County?

Electronically filed documents subject to the mandatory electronic filing requirements in probate, limited civil, unlimited civil, and complex civil actions can be filed until midnight on the day that the filing is due, and will be considered timely pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 subdivision (d)(1)(D). The document is “filed” at the date and time it is received by the court and the confirmation of receipt is created. See Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 2.259(a)(1). Any electronically filed document received by the Court on or after midnight will be file stamped on the next court day.

Orange County Superior Court eFiling Surcharge Fee FAQ

What is the fee?

The fee is imposed by the court to recoup the costs the court incurs in providing electronic filing of documents. All eFiling Service Providers are required to collect the surcharge on behalf of the court.

How much is the fee?


What is the effective date?

July 1, 2017.

What kinds of cases is the fee applicable to?

All civil and probate eFiling transactions except where a fee waiver has been obtained.

Is the fee charged when there is no court filing fee?

Yes, unless a fee waiver has been obtained.

How is the fee charged?

A $2.25 charge will appear separately on credit card statements as “UCLA CEB 800-232-3444 CA.”

Where can I find the court’s notice?

You can find it here.

How do I contact the court regarding an eFiling transaction?

You may have a question for the court on the eFiling transaction and need to contact them directly. It’s useful to have the court transaction number or case number on hand. For a court clerk in Orange County please call: 657-622-6878

Can I cancel an eFiling transaction already sent to the court?

Unfortunately, once a filing has been sent it cannot be canceled. You may be able to call the court directly at 657-622-6878 and have them cancel the transaction if the filing has not yet been processed. Having the court transaction number handy will be helpful.

Where do I find the court transaction number?

The court transaction number can be accessed in the History screen "H" icon on the menu bar at the top of your "eFiling" tab. Just click the “H” icon, find the filing in the list and refer to the column labeled “Transaction No.” for the court transaction number.

I entered the continuing case number and get a message, “the case number you entered <case number> does not exist in the <court name> system.” What should I do?

Try re-entering the continuing case number in the Filer’s Information tab #1: Part B: Case Information (by clicking on the underlined blue line “Click Here To Enter Case Number” or click on the stored case number, then click “Ok” in the “Enter A Case Number” window.

If you still get the message, go ahead and enter just the numeric digits in the case and leave out the abbreviated court letters. Or, close out of Essential Forms and reopen the program and re-enter the case number again.

If still no luck, you may need to contact technical support (at 800-232-3444 press #2, for Essential Forms Technical Support) with the case number on hand. We can see if entering the case number on our end works, or if need be, we can reach out to the courts for assistance.

I clicked “send” to deliver a filing, after waiting a while, I get an error that the operation timed out. Should I resend the filing?

No, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your eFiling was not received by the court. We recommend that you NOT resend the filing in order to avoid duplicate filings and additional fees. First, with the transaction or case number handy, contact technical support at 800-232-3444 press #2, for Essential Forms Technical Support. We can check on our server and with the court to see if your eFiling was received or if it’s necessary to resend your filing.

My eFiling was been processed by the court - where are the conformed copies?

Every filing that you send and every response from a court is stored in the History Screen. The History screen "H" icon on the menu bar at the top of your "eFiling" tab. If you want more detail, just click the “H” icon select the filing in the list and double-click on it or click once and click the "Detail" button.

Information about the “Documents” you sent to the court are in the lower-left in the “Details” window, when the court has received your filing, conformed copies or filed documents can be printed or saved by left clicking the document here.

How do I bookmark in Essential Forms eFiling?

We do not perform bookmarking. We are one of at least two vendors who are filing in Orange County today who do not use “bookmarking” to indicate subordinate documents and are able to submit documents (and their subordinate attachments) that are perfectly acceptable.

Documents that are supplemental attachments (without a caption), such as exhibits, verifications, supplemental pleadings, attachments, additional cause of action forms etc. (and those documents which do not comply with CRC 2.111) must be combined into one PDF document with its parent document. Simply select all of the documents that you want to attach to your filing. Select the document that you want to attach as a “subordinate” (attachment) document, and drag it over the master document. A single pdf document is created of the two documents and transmitted to the court. This format has been approved by the court.

How do I organize the documents in the Attachments tab #3, Part B: Attachments Selected, as far as what is the "lead" document and “subordinate” document(s)?

This can be done in two ways:

  1. Select the document by clicking on the doc name, then click on the button on the top right corner of this window labeled "Set as Lead Document.”
  2. You can also do this by right-clicking the document and "Set as Lead Document.”

There is no specific order required for documents following the "lead" document.

My documents or scans are not showing in the Attachments tab #3, Part A: Attachments Available? 

This is a configuration setting that would need to be changed on the workstation. In Essential Forms, under Configure > Preferences > eFiling tab, check the box, "show all files in file browser." Then, click "OK.” You should then be able to access PDF's and scans.

I’m not seeing the correct Document Type in the Attachments tab #3 under Part B?

If you’ve searched in the Select Document Type’s Frequently Used/Search/Select From List prompts and still are not seeing the correct document type, make sure in the Filer’s Information tab #1 under Case Information: Part B is correct - is the case a new case or a continuing case? The document type options offered are different based on whether the case is a new case or a continuing case.

How do I sign electronic documents?

An electronic signature is typed like this: /s/”Signers’ Name Here”

California Rule of Court 2.257 provides:

  • If a document is signed under penalty of perjury you must preserve the original signature (wet signature) on this document for inspection by the other party.
  • If a document is not signed under Penalty of Perjury the document is deemed signed if the document is filed electronically (we recommend that you use the /s/ “Signers” Name Here” format just to be safe.)

Are Digital Signatures required?

Reading 2.257 (d) says:

(d) Digital signature
A party is not required to use a digital signature on an electronically filed document.

Do you have a maximum document attachment size?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact size of a form that will fail or time out during delivery, since that is contingent on the internet speed, firewalls and a myriad of other factors. Because of these variable factors this makes it difficult to pinpoint file size and what is the maximum eFiling size that is possible in Essential Forms.

As a rule of thumb, we suggest users scan attached documents between 100-150 DPI in black and white (no color). Each page should be about 150KB per page in size. We recommend keeping the file size down below 10MB if possible. We’ve had users successfully eFile 10-12MB eFilings after a long duration, sometimes up to 10 minutes, as the pieces of paper jump across the screen and it finally does go through.

What about Word Perfect documents?

Word Perfect has the native ability to save a document as a Word document - this is the only way that it can be sent to the court.

What about Proposed Orders, does the court require a particular format?

Only Word is going to be accepted in a Proposed Order. Now, the rest of your Word documents that you want to file are automatically converted to PDF (using the prepare button). So it's just the Proposed Order that would be the exception.

What original documents may not be eFiled in Orange County?

For Civil Cases:

  • Bench Warrants;
  • Subpoenaed documents;
  • Labor Commissioner deposit of cash or check;
  • Bonds; and
  • Undertaking

For Probate/Mental Health Cases:

  • Affidavit re: Real Property of Small Value;
  • Bonds;
  • Financial Documents submitted by Private Professional Conservator;
  • Letters (probate, guardianship, conservatorship);
  • Subpoenaed documents;
  • Undertakings; and
  • Will/Codicils – originals for filing or safekeeping

I can't change the existing parties entered in a continuing case in the Cover Sheet Tab #2

Occasionally a party name or role might be entered incorrectly in a continuing case. In this situation, the parties that already populate the Cover Sheet tab #2 are entered by the courts. You can click the button “Add” to “Add Participant,” but the existing parties are hard coded and would need to be changed on the courts end. Contact technical support at 800-232-3444 press #2, for Essential Forms Technical Support. Have the case number on hand and we’ll contact the court and make the necessary changes

Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

Individuals with a disability may request an accommodation to enable the individual to file and serve documents electronically at no additional charge. Please submit questions and accommodation requests to Sean McNie (eFiling Operations): / 510.302.2161