Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What can and can’t the CSHC staff do?

CSHC Staff are not Lawyers, and are limited in how much help they can provide

CSHC CAN: Explain basic process for some civil cases, print copies, search existing cases filed with the Prothonotary’s Office, provide forms and packets to visitors for a fee, and provide free access to legal research tools

CSHC CANNOT: Give legal advice, do legal research on your behalf, recommend specific law offices, interpret court orders, write/scribe/translate forms, create custom paperwork, assist with non-Prothonotary forms, file/serve/mail forms for you, contact the Judge/hearing officer in your case, advise you whether a process is appropriate

  1. 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:

Mid Penn Legal Services- 29 N Queen St York PA 17401, 717-848-3605

Attorney Connection/Modest Means- 717-854-8755

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

Most offices provide forms for filings through their office on their respective website and for those who come in person. The CSHC has some forms and packets on our FORMS tab, free to download. You may also need to come to the Judicial Center in-person to obtain forms for specific cases, like Protection Orders.

If you cannot find forms or instructions through any of the above places, it may be an issue that requires a custom/specific petition beyond what any office can provide; we strongly recommend speaking to a lawyer if that is the case.

  1. How do I know where to file/the cost of filing?

Each office in the Judicial Center handles specific case types and has their own fee schedule. You can call the office to inquire about their fees, or look on their website for a fee schedule. In general:

Prothonotary= Custody, Divorce, Civil filings

Clerk of Courts = Criminal, Dependency, Emancipation

Domestic Relations= Child Support

Register of Wills/Orphans Court= Guardianship, Marriage Licenses, Adoptions, Estates

  1. How do I find out what some of the words in the forms mean?

The packets CSHC provides come with detailed step-by-step instructions, many of which include a list of definitions. For other words you do not understand, we recommend doing research on www.palawhelp.org, or obtaining a consultation with a lawyer.

  1. What do I bring to the courthouse to file?

For most filings, you will need the full, legal names of the people you are filing against; the complete mailing and/or physical addresses of everyone involved in the case; a valid ID in case a form must be notarized; and the ability to pay a filing fee either in cash, by credit card, or by money order

If you plan on asking for filing fees to be waived, you must have physical copies of proof of all forms of household income, including paystubs, benefits statements, and any existing orders for child/spousal support for all members of your household.

If you are filing an appeal of a case at the Magistrate (such as an eviction) you must have all pages of the transcript in order to file. Similarly, if you are appealing a suspension of a driver’s license/vehicle registration, you need all pages of the Notice of Suspension from PennDOT.

If E-Filing, you will need to know your email address and password to log in on our public computer, and have a credit/debit card to pay filing fees.

  1. How do I E-FILE documents with the Prothonotary?

 www.prothyefiling.yorkcountypa.gov is the website for e-filing forms. You must create an account, confirm account creation via email, and then upload your documents under the correct category on the website.

CSHC Staff can assist with this process in-office or via Zoom call during our normal office hours.

  1. How do I get a Protection Order?

You must come to the Judicial Center in person in order to obtain paperwork for a Protection Order. There is a PFA Office on the 1st floor run by advocates who may be able to assist you with filling out the forms and going over your options during normal business hours.

After-hours, the Magisterial Judge on duty can hear cases for Emergency Protection. It is recommended you return to the courthouse on the following business day to speak to advocates about your options for continued protection.

  1. How do I know if I should file for Custody or Guardianship?

Since staff at the CSHC are not attorneys, we cannot advise you on whether your situation calls for filing for custody or guardianship of a minor. The York County Bar Association has created a video to discuss this topic via their program Legal Lines to explain the difference between these case types. You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOQHkOEew8c