My Trip to the Los Angeles Superior Court

I made a trip to the Los Angeles Superior Court on my lunch break one day. My goal was to find out the case number of my mother and father-in-law’s divorce. I was hoping to look at their divorce file to find the date they were married and any other pertinent information about them. I was unsuccessful in getting the case number.

I had done preliminary research and found out that I needed to go to the index clerk first to find out the case number. I went to the Index clerk in Room 106 in the courthouse. In room 106, if you give them the names of the divorcing couple and the year it was originally filed, they can give you the case number of most cases filed from 1966 to present. Well the clerk told me that there was no listing for my couple. She suggested that I go to Archives down the street to see if it was filed before 1966. She directed me to Room 212 in Archives which was across the street and down a ways from the courthouse. It’s not easy finding Archives so they gave me a map, although it is underground, the only way there is with the use of an elevator/staircase. The offices are not above ground at all. After taking the elevator to the 2nd floor, I walked to room 212 from the elevator, the hallway was lined with boxes and boxes of case files. It has been many, many years since I was last in Archives and it all looked different to me.

The one thing that wasn’t different was the stuffiness feeling in the air. Although I do understand that in order to prevent the documents of deteriorate faster, they must be kept in climate controlled environment so I don’t understand the stuffiness. Because I didn’t know the exact year the divorce was filed, the information desk clerk gave me a form to fill out and told me to go to Counter #3 when I was done. After filling out the form, I went to counter #3 and a kindly older gentleman came to help me. He took my form and went to search for the case number. As I was waiting for his return, I noted that Counter #3 was the index counter for: Civil cases from 1940-1982 Family Law cases from 1940-1982 Probate cases from 1950 to 1982. The kindly gentleman came back and said that there was no case for my couple, but he found cases for my father-in-law from previous marriages. I noted the case numbers for a future visit. Because I wasn’t able to find a case number for my couple’s divorce, this could mean two things: (1) They were never divorced or (2) It was filed in a different county.

More research is needed for this couple to get their marriage date. Here are a few bits of information regarding the Los Angeles Superior Court that might also be useful to you.

  1. In California, each county has its own Superior Court system. What is used in L.A. won’t be the same in say, San Bernardino. In order to find the right court, you need to know which county the case was filed in. To find out, you can go online to: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov. At the top of the screen, you will need to click on the “courts” button. This will take you to a new page and if you look on the left side of the screen you will find another menu and you need to click on the “Find A Court” button. This will take you to another new page and from here you can find the Superior Court, the Court of Appeals or the State Supreme Court along with links for their location, phone number and website. The Superior Court is listed by county and if you don’t know the county, you can search by city or by zip code to get to the right courthouse.
  2. If you already know the case number for a LA Superior Court case, you can get copies of some documents online. The type of documents available online are limited and a fee is charged. You can go to: http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org to order copies online.
  3. When going to Archives, dress in layers, bring bottle water and prepare to wait when using the microfiche machine.

I hope this was helpful.

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