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Odyssey Guide & File

“Odyssey Guide & File” is a program which allows you to complete the required paperwork for certain types of legal actions by answering questions in an online interview. Once the interview is finished you will be able to print the completed paperwork to file it in person or by mail. The program allows you to create an online account to save your progress and make modifications to the forms.

Before completing a “Odyssey Guide & File” interview, we strongly encourage you to contact the Self Help Center or Santa Cruz County Law Library for help in understanding if you are completing the right interview. Both the Self Help Center and the Santa Cruz County Law Library provide public computers that can be used to complete a Guide and File interview.

After you complete your papers, we also strongly encourage you to have the Self Help Center check your legal forms before filing. The Self Help Center and the Clerk’s Office for Family Law, Small Claims and Restraining Orders are all located at the Watsonville Courthouse. You can complete forms online, print, go to Self Help to have your paperwork reviewed and copies made, then take them to the clerk’s window for filing. This will ensure you are filing the correct legal documents to address your specific legal issues and could save you time and money.

Important Warning:

Completing the wrong interview can result in:

  • Submitting the wrong paperwork to the court
  • Loss of filing fee (if wrong paperwork is submitted)
  • Not getting the legal results you want
  • Missing out on an easier, cheaper, quicker process
  • Delaying your legal action if papers are not filled out correctly

“Odyssey Guide & File” is a statewide program. Certain procedures may vary from county to county. Getting in person assistance helps confirm you are following the proper procedure for the Santa Cruz Superior Court.

Only the Small Claims Interview is linked to online e-filing. Currently, all other subject matters require the completed legal forms be printed and filed in person or through the mail.

Click on the links to access the Guide & File interviews:

  • Small Claims with optional e-filing – Suing for $10,000 or less
  • Restraining Orders – prohibiting another person from harassing you. The type you need is usually defined by your relationship to the other person.
    • Domestic Violence Restraining Order – Close family relationship, marriage, relationship ties (dating, child in common).
    • Civil Harassment Restraining Order – Relationships that do not fit into Domestic Violence.
    • Elder Abuse – Over 65 years of age or a dependent adult when there is physical or financial abuse.
  • Petition for Gun Violence Restraining Order - initiated when someone poses a threat to themselves or others. Does not protect individuals but requests the court remove the restrained person's ability to own or possess firearms. Often initiated by a law enforcement agency. 
  • Evictions: Unlawful Detainer Complaint - Paperwork to start an Unlawful Detainer (eviction) with the court. 
  • Evictions: Answer to an Unlawful Detainer – Paperwork to file a response to an Unlawful Detainer. There is a very short timeline to file a response!
  • Petition for Change of Name for an Adult - This is the process to change your name only. If you are wanting to change your gender and name, contact the Self Help Center. If you are wanting to go back to your former name after divorce, contact the Self Help Center.
  • Divorce, Legal Separation, & Annulment
    • Divorce – Means you no longer want to be married.
    • Legal Separation – You want to stay married but want separate financial lives. Often this includes orders for spousal support or property division.
    • Annulment – Based on specific legal grounds allowed by law. If granted, it means that you were never married. Grounds for annulment have nothing to do with length of marriage.
  • Family Law: Proof of Service of Summons - After the other party is served with paperwork this helps complete the form needed by the court as proof the paperwork was provided.
  • Parentage – Case between non-married parents for child support and/or custody and visitation.
  • Request for Order (RFO) – A request to change a current court order in an open Family Law case.
  • Income & Expense Declaration – Usually filed with a Request for Order for child support or spousal support.
  • Request to Enter Default and Default Judgment in a Divorce or Legal Separation - A default may be entered if the other party does not respond.
  • Change of Address – Notify the Court and the other party of a change in your mailing address. You must serve a copy of your forms on the other side before filing with the court.
  • Returning Users – Use this link if you already have an account set up.