The Indiana Supreme Court does not recommend that you choose self-representation over hiring a licensed attorney to handle your court case. The Indiana Supreme Court also recognizes the fact that in some instances people choose not to hire an attorney or cannot afford to hire one. Representing yourself in court should not be taken lightly, and there are many instances in which hiring an attorney is a good idea. In fact, we suggest that even if you use the forms provided on this site that you still talk with an attorney prior to submitting them to a court in order to achieve the best result possible.
Before deciding whether or not to represent yourself, you should know what will be expected of you. The Court has created a video that can be accessed on the website listed below, to provide information about the court process and what your responsibilities will be if you represent yourself. Remember that this video and the assistance offered by this website apply to civil cases. If you are charged with a criminal offense, the court can appoint an attorney for you if you cannot afford to hire one.
This website was created to provide valuable information, court forms, and various resources for people who represent themselves in court. It should be noted, however, that self-representation should not be taken lightly, and that there are many instances in which hiring an attorney is a good idea. In fact, we suggest that even if you use the forms provided on this site, you still talk with an attorney prior to submitting them to a court.The Self-Help Center contains information to help you help yourself. You will find various court forms required by the courts and instructions on completing them. You will also find several court forms and other useful documents that have been translated into Spanish with the help of the Indiana Hispanic Law Project.
The Self-Help Center can help with the following:
- Dissolution of Marriage
- Modification of Child Support
- Motion for Contempt
- Motion for Contempt on Parenting Time
- Pauper Petitions (Fee Waivers)
- Petitions for Name Changes
The court, including the judge, clerk, and all court staff must remain impartial. This means that they cannot take sides in any matter coming before the court. They will give the same types of information to persons on both sides of a case, but they cannot provide legal advice. Information you provide to court staff is not confidential. Read below to find out what the court can and cannot provide to you.
We can explain and answer questions about how the court works.
We can provide a copy of the small claims manual and court forms.
We can provide you with general explanations about court rules, procedures, and practices.
We can provide you with telephone numbers of lawyer referral service which may be able to find an attorney to assist you.
We can provide you with general information from your case file, including information as to when your next court hearing is.
We can review your forms for completeness by checking for signatures, notarization, correct county name, and correct case number.
We cannot advise you what to say in court.
We cannot explain the meaning of a court order to you.
We cannot sign an order or change an order signed by a judge.
We cannot provide any guidance or interpretation of the Parenting Time Guidelines.
We cannot fill out a form for you or tell you what words to use in your court papers.
We cannot let you talk to the judge outside of court. We also cannot talk to the judge outside of court for you about your case.
We cannot advise you whether or not you should bring your case to court or give an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
We cannot provide legal advice or legal information. Only a lawyer can give you legal advice. Staff can answer questions that call for factual information-these are generally questions that start with “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, or “how”. They cannot answer questions that call for an opinion about what you should do-these are generally questions that start with “should” or “whether”. For example, court staff can explain court rules and procedures, but they cannot suggest which of several available procedures you should follow.