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, in addition to petitions to change names and various writs.
Criminal cases range from relatively minor offenses such as traffic infractions to serious ones like robbery and murder. The State, as the protector of all the people, makes the charge against the accused because a crime is considered an act against society.
Family Law Division
The Family Division hears cases involving divorce and legal separation, child and spousal support, child custody and visitation, restraining orders, mediation and arbitration. Family Court Services is also part of the Family Division and handles mediation and parent orientation.
The California Grand Jury is unique in its function and selection process compared to other juries. Each county is required by law to impanel a body of members to serve for a term of one year. This body is mandated to investigate and report on both criminal and civil matters within the county.
The Jury Division is responsible for summoning prospective jurors for both civil and criminal cases where the parties have elected to have a jury of their peers decide the case.
The Juvenile Division handles cases of children under 18 years of age who violate any law, including traffic violations, are accused of a crime (which falls into Juvenile Justice Court) or any children who are abused or neglected (which falls into Juvenile Dependency Court).
The Probate Division handles a range of issues involving adults and children. Matters that fall into probate include transfer of property of people who have died, will and trusts, adoption, conservatorships, guardianships and name changes.
Small Claims Court
The Small Claims Court is a special court in which disputes are resolved inexpensively and quickly. The rules are simple, the hearing is informal and attorneys are not allowed.
Traffic Court deals with violations of traffic laws and other minor offenses. These violations are considered “infractions” and include, for example, speeding and expired licenses. Traffic infractions are enforced by the issuance of traffic tickets (“citations”).