Changes at the San Diego Superior Court

Have you wondered why it’s hard to get an answer when you call in to the court clerk inquiring about your case?  There may not be someone there to answer your call anymore.  All court business offices are now closed to the public at noon on Fridays, and the civil business offices in El Cajon and Chula Vista are expected to be entirely closed down.  These are a few of many changes happening at our local courts in San Diego due to an estimated $14 million budget cut that went into effect July 1, 2012.  Furthermore, during the 2013/2014 fiscal year an additional $26 million cut is expected, resulting in additional changes not addressed in this article.Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Christine Ellingsen | San Diego Supreme Court

Of particular concern in the field of estate planning is the closure of the probate court in North County.  All probate cases are now being transferred downtown; for the entire county of San Diego.  As it is, a probate case may be estimated to take 18 months.  With the consolidation of the probate courtrooms, we are anticipating additional delays in the process which will add additional frustrations to an already stressful time for families facing probates.

What other changes are to be expected?  According to the June 20, 2012 new release from the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego, the following is expected:

  • Closure of six downtown criminal courtrooms.
  • Closure of one downtown civil department.
  • Closure of the Ramona Branch Court.
  • 75 non-courtroom staff positions will be reduced, in addition to a reduction of management employees, and possible reduction of court-provided civil courtroom court reporters as well.
  •  Student workers, law clerks, retired commissioners, and other such positions will be eliminated.
  • Beginning July 2013, all court employees will be required to take two furlough days a month.

The impact and implementation of these changes is not yet known, but likely will be devastating to our county, affecting both the employees of our courts, and those San Diegans with cases in our Superior Court.  The probate and estate planning community is making an effort to brainstorm ideas to streamline operations in the probate court to lessen the impact on our county, and I’m sure the rest of our legal community will come together for similar efforts as well.  For additional information, please visit the court’s website for the official news release by clicking HERE
Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Christine Ellingsen | Barger Law Group APC

Christine Ellingsen is a Northern California native now practicing law as an estate planning attorney in Carmel Valley San Diego at the Barger Law Group, APC.  She spent a year in New York working in the business sector before moving to Southern California to attend law school at the University of San Diego.  She is happy to have started her law career in San Diego and to now call Encinitas home, where she keeps busy between exploring Coastal North County and training her new puppy.


Carmel Valley San Diego Community | RIDE Cyclery Encinitas