Choosing to Represent Yourself...

The Indiana Supreme Court does not recommend that you choose self-representation over hiring a licensed lawyer to handle your court case. The Court also recognizes the facts 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 a lawyer is a good idea. Property settlements are final and generally cannot be modified later even if grossly unfair. The Court will not review your agreement to ensure that it is fair, but will assume that you know what you are doing and to what you are agreeing to. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a licensed lawyer and not utilize these forms.
  1. Do you or your spouse own and/or are you purchasing real estate?
  2. Have you or your spouse earned or are earning retirement benefits?
  3. Do you or your spouse have investment accounts?
  4. Do you or your spouse have large amounts of debts and/or assets?
  5. Are you and your spouse considering Bankruptcy?
  6. Are you or your spouse contesting custody and/or parenting time?
  7. Do you and your spouse have a disability and/or have a disabled child?
  8. Are you or your spouse in the United States Armed Forces?

Before deciding whether or not to represent yourself, you should know what is expected of you. The Supreme Court has created the below video 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 only to civil cases.



Indiana Courts Video Series

To view any chapter in this series, click on the chapter you wish to view in the player above. Or, to open an individual chapter in a new window, choose from the list below. To aid searching for specific material, time markers (min:sec) indicate when a new chapter in a series begins.

Introduction
Choosing to represent yourself in court.

General Responsibilities
Your responsibilities as a self-represented litigant.

Resources
Resources for self-represented litigants.

The Pleadings
Learn about pleadings, appearances, petitions, appearances, summons, service, filing fees and financial declaration.

  • The Appearance (1:00)
  • The Summons (1:40)
  • Service (2:20)
  • Filing Fees (4:40)
  • Financial Declaration (5:30)

Protective Orders
Learn about protective orders.

After Your Hearing
Learn about your responsibilities following your court hearing.

Request for Hearing
Learn about how to make a request for a court hearing.

Retirement/Pension Funds
Watch a short video and learn about retirement/pension funds in court.

Summary Decrees
Covers waiver of final hearing, settlement agreements & dissolution, & paternity agreements.

  • Settlement Agreements & Dissolution (1:41)
  • Paternity Agreements (3:36)

Your Court Date
Learn how to prepare for your court date, legal advice and learn about being prompt, what to wear, bringing friends and family and appropriate conduct.

  • Legal Advice (1:38)
  • Promptness (3:10)
  • What to wear (4:08)
  • Bringing Friends and Family (5:04)
  • Appropriate Conduct (6:21)

Preparing for Court
Learn about provisional hearings and watch other court proceedings.

  • Observation (1:04)

The Pleadings II
Covers making copies of files and types of additional motions.

  • Motions (0:56)

Children and Divorce
Learn about mediation & counseling, parenting time (visitation) and completing child support forms.

  • Mediation & Counseling (2:37)
  • Parenting Time & Completing Child Support Forms (4:10)