Do you know how to file a lawsuit with a court, the correct way to perform service of process, or how to create a parental plan in a divorce and custody case? An attorney is not necessarily the only person who can effectively answer this question. Although it is very advisable to seek legal advise from a professional, especially for complicated matters, there may be self help options you can also turn to. Even in circumstances where you enlist the help of a qualified legal professional, using self-help services can provide you with an arsenal of knowledge to help you better understand your case and your legal rights.
Self help resources can be available for legal matters including car accidents, divorce, business formation, wills, and filing restraining orders. The legal world can be a scary place full of complicated words and tricky rules. Even when using an attorney, you may feel even more comfortable if you become familiar with the subject. One of the main objectives for self-help resources is to make the legal process a little clearer to the average Joe (or Joan). The type of information that can generally be found with self help resources include access to legal research, a summary of the court procedure, instructions on filing a lawsuit, appealing a judgment, and enforcing a judgment.
For cases found in a Small Claims Court, the legal system actually encourages claimants to participate in the court process without using an attorney. Small Claims cases have limits, including subject matter and finances. For example, in California, cases heard by the Small Claims Court are limited to those where the plaintiff (person suing) is seeking to recover money or property up to $5,000. Thus, because cases can be handled without the use of any attorney, in this type of situation, using self-help recourses is almost necessary. Small Claims Courts are typically very helpful with providing resources. Generally, you can find step-by-step instructions on everything you should be doing for your case.
Self-help resources are found within the court system of the applicable state. Rules vary state to state and court to court, so it may be useful to look at information related to the area where you live, or where you the legal issue is applicable. For example, if your issue involves real estate, you should likely use the self-help resources in the area where that property is located. A site at www.CourtReference.com provides free links to state courts and self help sites. There is a great amount of self-help information available online, so you can perform your research from the comfort of your own home.