Frequently Asked Questions

 Frequently Asked Questions 


What if I can't afford an attorney?

You may be able to find assistance for legal aid or find a low cost consultation with an attorney:

1. MidPenn Legal Aid
    29 North Queen Street
    York PA (717) 848-3605

2. Attorney Connections
    (717) 854-8755

If I choose to proceed without an attorney, where can I get forms? 

There are some forms available for certain kinds of civil cases.    

1. On the Self Help Website, the forms are available for free to download here. 
2. By visiting the Self-Help Center, where the forms are available for a small fee.
3. Some additional information can be found on the state’s website, 

Where do I file?

Civil Matters are filed with the Prothonotary’s Office, located on the 1st floor of the York County Judicial Center, 45 North George Street, York 17401.

How much does it cost to file?

Costs to file vary depending on the type of pleading being filed. Contact the Prothonotary’s Office to inquire about fees for specific pleadings or click here.     

What can I do if I can't afford to pay the filing fees?     

Costs to record, or “file” documents such as the complaint, vary from the type of document, or pleading, to the county in which you begin your case. Some court filing costs may be in the hundreds of dollars. If you cannot afford to pay these fees to the court, you will need to complete the form entitled, In Forma Pauperis, a Latin term, referring to someone who cannot pay. You will be asked for your income and expense statements. The Court may require that you appear in person for a hearing or a judge may decide based upon the information you provide on the  form. For more instructions on how to complete In Forma Pauperis forms, click here. Once completed, take the IFP form to the Prothonotary’s Office, along with the other pleading(s) to be filed.    

How do I find out what some of the words in the Packets mean? 
Click here to open the Custody Introduction Packet.

Does the Court Self-Help Center charge for services provided?
The CSHC does not charge for legal information services, however, there is a small fee to purchase the packets & forms in the center. You can access all forms online for free to download and print. 

Are the CSHC staff attorneys?
No. The CSHC is staffed with employees trained to assist you through the provision of legal information regarding your case. Interactions with CSHC staff do not establish attorney-client relationship or any legally defined right-to-privacy on behalf of the customer. 

Can the CSHC staff give me legal advice about my case?
No. CSHC staff can only provide legal information. Legal information differs from legal advice in that it applies generally to all cases of a similar nature as opposed to a specific case and does not involve the interpretation of specific laws, regulations, court procedure, or wordings. Only an attorney can legally provide you with legal advice. 

Can the CSHC staff provide me with legal forms?   
Yes. The CSHC staff can provide you with the necessary legal forms to file in your case if your case is not complicated to the point of requiring legal advice and/or legal representation. If a CSHC employee determines that your case is too complicated for CSHC services, he or she will refer you to a legal aid service or suggest that you contact a private attorney. 

Can the CSHC staff fill out forms for me?    
No. CSHC staff can only fill out your forms if you have a disability that prevents you from filling them out yourself. If this is the case, the CSHC staff can only fill out your forms using the information and wording you provide. 

Can the CSHC staff come with me to my court hearing? 
No. The CSHC staff can only provide you with informational resources about what to expect on your court date.

Can the CSHC staff provide me with a lawyer for my case?   
No. The CSHC staff can only refer you to a legal aid service or suggest that you contact a private attorney. The CSHC does not have referral relationships with individual private attorneys. For more information on consulting a private attorney, contact the York County Bar Association.

Can the CSHC staff file legal documents for me?  
No. You are responsible for filing your documents with the appropriate clerk of court. CSHC staff can provide you with information about the filing process.   

Can the CSHC staff assist me in filing for bankruptcy?   
No. Bankruptcy is governed by federal law. The CSHC can only refer you to other resources for bankruptcy assistance.

Can the CSHC staff provide me with a child support calculation?  
No. Contact the Domestic Relations Department (on the 2nd floor) or visit the website by clicking here. 

Can the CSHC staff assist in providing me forms or information with regard to my criminal case?   
No. The CSHC does not provide forms or information in regards to criminal cases. The Court Self-Help Center can only assist with civil matters.

What do I do if find myself involved with Children, Youth and Families or in a Dependency matter?
Some information is available on video "A Parent's Guide to Understand the Pennsylvania Dependency System."

How do I get a copy of my Divorce Decree?

If your divorce was granted in York County Pennsylvania, you can get a certified copy of your divorce decree from the Office of the Prothonotary. The office is located in the York County Judicial Center at 45 N. George St., York, PA 17401. You should call 717-771-9611 for details or visit the website.

If your divorce was granted in another county in Pennsylvania, contact the Prothonotary in that county. Most counties in Pennsylvania have official websites that will provide you with the address and phone number.

If your divorce was granted in another state or a foreign country, you should contact an attorney in that state or country to find out how to get a copy of your decree.

Back to top



Forms & Packets

Caution: Litigants are strongly encouraged to seek legal advice from a lawyer with experience in family law matters. These are only forms and do not guarantee that you are filing the proper paperwork or that all needed allegations (facts) are included.


No person in the Court Self-Help Center, Court Administration the prothonotary’s office or in any court office is permitted to provide you with legal advice. The information in the packets is not a substitute for professional legal advice. The court assumes no responsibility and accepts no liability for actions taken by users of these documents, including reliance on their contents.

It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney. The York County Attorney Connections Program will refer you to a family law attorney who will meet with you at a reduced fee for 30 minutes to review your rights. You can contact Attorney Connections at (717) 854-8755 to schedule an appointment.

Forms & Packets 

The following forms and instructions were originally drafted by Mid-Penn Legal Services for use by their clients. York County gratefully acknowledges the invaluable guidance and support provided by Mid-Penn Legal Services in permitting York County to utilize their original forms in the preparation and institution of the custody forms and instructions. Moreover, York County gratefully acknowledges Franklin and Fulton counties for permitting York County to utilize their custody forms and instructions as needed.

Custody Forms


Name Change Forms


Divorce Packets & Forms


Other Forms


Research & Additional Resources

The following links are provided to aid you in your research.

Civil Case Lookup: Access to the Prothonotary's online Civil Case Search

Unified Judicial System Of Pennsylvania: Learn about Pennsylvania's Court System. Can also be used to research court opinions and rulings. Information on civil legal issues for litigants. This site provides resources for pro bono and legal services attorneys and others working to assist low-income or disadvantaged clients.

Tips on Courtroom Behavior

A Parent's Guide to Understand the Pennsylvania Dependency System: Informational video on Dependency

Custody Supervised Visitation Video

York County Court Self-Help & Law Resource Center

     Welcome to the York County Court Self-Help Center, a resource for individuals who are representing themselves in civil litigation.  The Center provides assistance and information on legal procedure and issues.  The Center also houses the law library and has several volumes of books, as well as public access to computers for online legal research.

The York County Self-Help Center was established and is operated and funded by the Administrative Office of York County Courts (AOYCC). The York County Bar Foundation and State Justice Institute provided $10,000 matching grant funds for the establishment of the Self-Help Center.

Representing yourself in Court is difficult and a challenging process. It is strongly suggested that you consult an attorney. Visit the York Bar Association’s website by clicking here or call Attorney Connections at (717) 854- 8755 to schedule an initial consultation with an attorney. 

No one in the Court Self-Help Center is allowed to give legal advice.

Warning: Self-represented litigants are held to the same standards as attorneys admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Representing yourself does not exempt you from understanding and following statewide and local Rules of Court.

The Self-Help Center is on the fourth floor of the York County Judicial Center, 45 N. George Street in York City. 

New Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday, 9:00 A.M. to noon and 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. unless otherwise indicated. 
The Center is closed on Wednesdays for pre-screened appointments.

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00 A.M.
12:00 noon
Closed for
1:00 P.M.
4:00 P.M.
Closed for

 Attention: No cell phones, pagers, weapons or cameras are permitted in the York County Judicial Center. 
Please click here for a full list of prohibited items.

Please review the selections in the menu at left for access to forms and other information.  

York County Court Self-Help Center
York County Judicial Center
4th Floor
45 North George Street
York, PA 17401

















Court Appointed Special Advocates » In This Section