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.

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