Find answers to the most common case and appointment creation questions below:
- I can't find my case and CARES won't let me create a new one.
- I found my case number but some information is wrong or it is closed.
- I can't create my appointment because an attorney is/was already on the case.
I can't find my case and CARES won't let me create a new one.
Sometimes CARES says your case already exists and prevents you from creating a duplicate. This can happen even if you have a new case—someone else may have previously created that exact case number in error. Or, you may know your case should exist (e.g. you are substituting in) but you cannot find it.
No matter the circumstances, if CARES says the case already exists, here's how to find it. Click on Cases > Search Cases on the left-side menu of CARES. In the search fields, check the check boxes for open and closed cases, then search only your case's county and case sequence (pictured below—the "sequence" is the end of the case number, e.g. 12JV1234.)
Do not search on anything more specific than shown above at this time. The broader your search, the easier it always is to find a case. Remember that you cannot search for information specific to your appointment such as a child's name before your appointment exists.
I found my case number but some information is wrong or it is closed.
If you locate your case as described above but observe one of the problems below, click on the case number from Cases > Search Cases to edit the case information before creating your appointment. (Note, these edits are not available from the My Cases screen.) After addressing any errors below, you are ready to proceed as usual with Step 3 of Create an Appointment.
- If the case is closed, see How to Reopen Appointments and Cases.
- If the case has the wrong case type, correct the case type drop-down, then click the blue Save button on the case. If your case type isn't available, double-check whether your case's letters—JV, JD, etc.—match the case you're trying to edit. The letters cannot be edited; if they are wrong, this is not your case, so please search again.
- If the case has the wrong Date Opened by Court, edit that date, then click the blue Save button on the case. Note that the Date Opened by Court cannot be later than any child party start dates or activities.
If you have not created an appointment but the Date Opened by Court is restricted, choose the closest available date. This can happen when another attorney entered activities using this case number in error. OCR will rely on your appointment's start and end dates for reports.
- If someone else is currently appointed in error, please notify OCR as a courtesy—OCR will assist the other attorney. You can always proceed without delay even if another attorney already created the case and/or appointed themselves in error at any time—more on this next.
I can't create my appointment because an attorney is/was already on the case.
You can always proceed without delay if your case already exists, even if an attorney is or was also already appointed in CARES. For example, if you are appointed as substitute counsel, you never have to wait for the original attorney to end their CARES appointment before you proceed. There is also no reason to wait to create your own appointment if someone was appointed in error. Please notify OCR if you observe someone currently appointed in error—OCR will assist them. See above for help finding, reopening, or correcting the case if needed.
CARES never prevents anyone from creating an appointment on demand because each case in CARES comprises only a case number (made up of court, year, case type, and sequence) and the date the court opened that case. More than one office/attorney can always be appointed to each case:
Each independent appointment in CARES is what links a case to an OCR attorney and to specific child(ren) whose interests are represented by that attorney. Your appointment—not the case—is exclusive to you and your office.
Very rarely, if you yourself were previously appointed to this exact case in error, you will see a "Confirm Duplicate Attorney" warning when you try to appoint yourself again: "Are you sure you want to create multiple appointments for the same attorney?" In the unusual event that you were indeed previously appointed in error, click "Save Appointment" on this warning message to proceed. (This is one of the only scenarios in which the same attorney would appropriately be "appointed" to the same case twice.)