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LEGAL TOPICS
How to Find Legal Forms to Represent Yourself in Court

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE:

Court offices are closed for in-person submissions. Filings may be submitted electronically or by mail or dropped off at a designated drop-box.


For many legal problems, the legal system uses forms, which are basically “fill in the blank” legal documents. This article will tell you how to find forms, how to fill out forms, and how to file forms if you are representing yourself. This article will also tell you where you can get help.

What is the best way to find forms?

The easiest way to find forms is to do a Google search, but this may not the best way because you may have to do extra work to make sure the form is legally correct. You may also have to pay for the form. Use Google search as a last resort or when you are looking for non-court documents like a lease, a will, or a deed. The best way to find forms, especially when you are representing yourself, is to go to the official website of the court or agency where the case is filed. Another good place to find forms is in a law library. Ask the law librarian for the location of the form books and then look in the index. If you have trouble finding the form you need, try contacting the LSNJLAWSM hotline or the Judiciary Ombudsman for help.

What is the NJ Judiciary Ombudsman’s Office?
What do they do? Where are they located?

 
The NJ Judiciary Ombudsman’s Office is part of the New Jersey court system. The Judiciary Ombudsman can help you understand how the court works. The Judiciary Ombudsman cannot give legal advice, perform legal research, or talk to a judge for you. Every county has an Ombudsman who you can email or call. Some Ombudsmen have offices at the courthouse. See Statewide Ombudsman Directory (from New Jersey Courts) to find your county's ombudsman.
 
 
 

How can I tell if I’ve found the correct form?

  1. The correct form will help you act on your legal problem.Some forms will tell you how they can be used. You can also look at the title of the form to see if the words in the title match your legal problem. Look for words like complaint, lease, or answer. Look for the names of courts or administrative agencies like Small Claims or Division of Civil Rights. Last, look for dollar amounts if you are asking for, or being sued for, damages.

  2. The correct form can be used in New Jersey. Remember that each state has different laws and only follows its own law. This is especially important when you are using a legal form from the Web.

  3. The correct form is the current version of the form. Forms can be changed if the law changes. Do not use an out-of-date form. To check if a form is current, look for a date on the top or bottom corners of the form.

Are forms available in other languages?

Some forms are available in languages besides English. The instructions for filling out the form will also be written in the other language. You will, however, have to enter your answers in English.

How should I fill out the form?

Some legal forms can be filled out online and printed. You should type the form or make sure that your handwriting is easy to read. When you fill out a printed form by hand, you should use a black pen. Make sure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.

Be sure to answer all of the questions. If a question does not apply to you, write “n.a.” [n.a. stands for not applicable]. If you are not sure of a date, time, or amount, write approximately. If you don’t know the answer, write “I don’t know” or “no knowledge.”

When lawyers fill out a form, they frequently create a draft copy. Later they look at the draft and then make any changes before making a final document. If you can, get two copies of the form and fill out the first copy as a draft.

When you are finished filling out the form, make at least two copies and put one in a safe place.

If you need help filling out a form, the LSNJLAWSM Hotline and the Judiciary Ombudsman can help.

How do I file a form?

Not all forms need to be filed. But if you are filling out forms for a lawsuit, the form must be filed with the court that is deciding the lawsuit. You can either mail the forms to the court clerk or go to the clerk’s office at the courthouse. You will need the form, copies of the form, and a fee for filing the form. The clerk will stamp the form, keep a copy, and return your copies to you. See New Jersey Court Filing Fees (from New Jersey Courts) for a list of fees. If you need help to pay a fee, you can ask for a fee waiver. For information, see Court Fee Filing Waivers​.​​​​​​​​​​​​

4/14/2020
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