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Notice:

Please be advised that due to increasing COVID-19 cases, the Visalia Division Civil/Family Law, Room 201 is closed to walk-ins, appointments are required until further notice.

New Website -

Welcome to the new Tulare County Superior Court website.  Please be advised that the website address has changed.  The new URL is https://www.tulare.courts.ca.gov.  Please be sure to update your bookmarks accordingly.  

COVID-19 Notice:

Please do not come to the courthouse if you meet the following criteria:

·        Sick with fever, cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 related symptoms
·        Recently tested for COVID-19 and waiting for test results
·        Tested positive for COVID-19
·        Had direct exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and told to self-quarantine due to COVID-19

If you meet any of the above criteria, please contact your attorney for your case or call (559) 730-5000 Ext. 110

Civil

The Civil Division handles matters involving a lawsuit in which one party sues another to recover money or property, to enforce a contract or an obligation, to collect damages for injury or to protect some civil right. Including Unlawful Detainers, Restraining Orders, and Name Changes. Please make your selection from the categories listed below.

Alternative Dispute Resolution/Civil Mediation

Landlord Tenant

Local Rule 703 - Courtesy Copies to Research Attorney


Tulare County Superior Court wishes to remind the bar of the requirement set forth in Local Rule 703. Said rule requires a courtesy copy of all law and motion documents be delivered to the research attorney upon filing.

Please be advised that the courtesy copies can be emailed to the research attorneys at: research_attorney@tulare.courts.ca.gov. All documents must be submitted in either a .doc/.docx or .pdf format.

The email option is available immediately. The court encourages this method of delivery to avoid delay in routing the documents to the research attorney.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

There are different processes available to settle lawsuits without having to go to trial. The most common forms of ADR are Mediation, Arbitration, and Case Evaluation. In ADR, a trained, impartial person decides disputes or helps the parties reach resolutions of their disputes for themselves. The persons are neutrals who are normally chosen by the disputing parties or by the court. Neutrals can help parties resolve disputes without having to go to court.

For Mediators/Arbitrators

Interested in serving on the court's Civil/Mediation list? The open enrollment will begin January and ends on June 15 of each year.

  • Read How to Become a Mediator/Arbitrator to learn more about application requirements
  • Submit your completed application and current resume on or before June 15 of each subsequent year to be considered
  • Successful applicants will be added to the Civil Mediation list July 1 of each subsequent year.

How to Become a Civil Mediator/Arbitrator

The links below are from the California Courts website and open new windows. Some are PDF files, which require the Adobe Acrobat Reader to be viewed.

Landlord Tenant

What is an Unlawful Detainer?

An unlawful detainer lawsuit is a suit brought by a landlord to obtain possession of the property and/or receive payment of back rent. In order to legally evict a tenant (remove and lock the tenant out of the property), the landlord must file an unlawful detainer lawsuit. An award for possession of property authorizes the landlord to evict a tenant from the property. If the landlord is also awarded judgment for payment of back rent, he or she may collect the judgment by attaching property, garnishing wages, or any other legal means.

How Should You Respond to an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit

If you are served with an unlawful detainer complaint, the complaint will show the court location where you should file your response. There may be several options for responding to an unlawful detainer lawsuit depending on your circumstances. Forms may be obtained from the clerk's office or by clicking the forms link. After you have filed your response to the landlord's complaint in the clerk's office and a Request for Setting is filed, you will both be notified by mail of the time and place of the trial. You must pay the filing fee when you file your written response; however, it is possible to obtain a waiver of the fee if you cannot afford to pay it. In order to obtain a fee waiver, you must prepare the Request to Waive Court Fees and the Order on Court Fee Waiver at the time you file your response. Request to Waive Court Fees and Order on Court Fee Waiver forms may be obtained from the clerk's office or by clicking the forms link.

Writs of Possession

If the case goes to trial and the landlord is awarded judgment against you for possession of the property, the landlord can then obtain a Writ of Possession. This legal document authorizes the Sheriff to physically remove and lock you out of the property. The Sheriff will post a Notice to Vacate the property before enforcing the Writ of Possession. After the Sheriff posts the notice, you have five days to move. If you fail to move within five days, the Sheriff will physically remove you and turn over the possession of the property to the landlord. The Sheriff's cost for the eviction may be added to the judgment, which the landlord can collect from you.

Failure to Respond Unlawful Detainer

The court may enter a default judgment in favor of the landlord and issue a Writ of Possession if you fail to respond in writing and file your written response with the court. There is no trial if you do not file a written response to the unlawful detainer complaint. This default judgment allows the landlord to obtain possession of the property.

The Right to Jury Trial

Both parties have a right to request a jury trial. To request a jury trial, the requesting party may file a document entitled Request for Setting. If the landlord files this document and does not request a jury trial, you have five days from the mailing date of the Request for Setting to file a Counter Request for Setting requesting a jury trial. You will be mailed a Clerk's Notice of Trial informing you of the trial date. The party requesting a jury trial is responsible for the initial jury fees, which must be posted with the court five days before the trial date.

Changing a Trial Date

To change your trial date, you need to file one of the following:

  1. Motion for Continuance and a declaration showing a good reason for the continuance; and
  2. Written Stipulation, (agreed to by both parties), along with a declaration showing a good reason for the continuance and an order.

The paperwork must be filed as soon as the need for a continuance is known. You must also pay a filing fee when you file the motion or stipulation.

Preparing for Trial

If you are not represented by an attorney, you can represent yourself. If you are representing yourself, you may want to consult

Tulare-Kings Counties Legal Services
208 West Main Street, Suite U-1
Visalia, CA 93291
559-737-8770

Witnesses

You may want to subpoena witnesses whom you feel are necessary for your case to appear in court. The subpoena must be personally served. The person served must be given reasonable notice of the date and time of the trial. You should bring the proof of service to court with you. There are costs to subpoena each witness, including witnesses' mileage to and from the trial location, and you must pay these costs.

When You Come to Court on the Trial Date

  1. Bring any letters, documents, inspections reports, pictures, receipts, or any other exhibits with you.
  2. Have at least three copies of all documents, an original for the court, and a copy for the opposing party.
  3. Dress appropriately. Inappropriate dress includes jeans, shorts, or tank tops.

Interpreters of Unlawful Detainer Cases

The court DOES NOT provide foreign language interpreters for unlawful detainer cases. If you do not speak English, you should bring a friend or relative who can interpret for you, or hire your own interpreter.

Sign language interpreters for the hearing impaired ARE provided by the court. Please provide the court with sufficient notice of your need. Please see additional information regarding access for Americans with Disabilities (ADA) under General Information.

Judgments

If the landlord obtains a judgment against you, you may have to move. The judgment may include the landlord's court costs and attorney fees plus any proven damages.

Failure to Appear at Trial

If the landlord fails to appear for a scheduled trial, the court may dismiss the case without any further action. If a tenant fails to appear for a scheduled trial, the court will proceed by default and may render a judgment for the landlord. This judgment allows the landlord to obtain possession of the property. In addition, the court may also enter a money judgment for the landlord and against the tenant.

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