What You Need to Know

If you represent yourself you are still required to be competent in the law and in courtroom procedures. You will have to file all the necessary paperwork and fill out the forms that are required.


Getting started: Please read all of the following carefully.


Before You File A Case In Court, Consider Other Ways To Resolve Issues...

Many issues can be resolved outside of court. Before proceeding to court on your own, you may want to consider mediation as an alternative. Trained mediators can help you sort out issues and resolve your case without the expense and time having invested in retaining a lawyer and appearing in court. For more information about alternatives to coming to court, please read about the Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution program in Alternatives to Court.


Warning…

If you are a member of the Title IV-D Child Support Program (Prosecuting Attorney’s Child Support Enforcement), do not use these forms. If you are unsure whether you are a member please contact the local IV-D office at (260) 449-3421 or (260) 449-7039, or contact your case manager.


Maybe I Do Need A Lawyer After All

If at any point you decide you need to seek help from a lawyer-whether you just want to have your forms reviewed, or have a lawyer take over your case, there are many resources available to you. In fact, depending on your circumstances, you may even be eligible for low-cost or no-cost legal aid. To learn about the options available to you, please see our page on Legal Service Providers.


Obtaining Proper Service

Serving your paperwork is a very crucial step that gets the process started. You can fill out all the proper paperwork and all the accompanying paperwork, even file them with the court, but nothing will happen unless there is proper service of process. This means letting the other party know that you have filed papers with the court. There are several options for serving your paperwork. If you DO NOT notify the other party by this formal process, your case will be delayed until the proper service has been completed. To learn more, please see our page on Obtaining Proper Service.


Special Arrangements

If you need any special arrangements with regard to disabilities or special needs, such as an interpreter, call ahead to the court office, where your case was filed. By making arrangements ahead of time for any speech and hearing disabilities, vision problems, handicap accessibility, or language barriers, you can help to ensure that you will receive the best service possible from the courts.


Can The Court Staff Assist Me With My Case?

The Court including the judge, the 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 that you provide to staff is not confidential. Find out what the court can and cannot provide to you, please see our section on Can Court Staff Assist Me.


Learn More About The Court System

Whether you are filing a new case or additional motions for a case that has already been decided, it is a good idea to learn more about how Indiana’s courts work. Learn more at Know Your Court or review our Glossary of Legal Terms.


Preparing For Court

In Indiana, the courts are open to each and every person. Although there is no requirement that a person have a lawyer to go to court, you are encouraged to see a lawyer to make sure you know your rights and all your legal options and to get the best results possible in your case. If you represent yourself, you must be prepared. To assist you in getting ready for court, be sure to carefully read: Preparing For Court-Checklist.