Self Represented Parties (Pro Se)

What to do if you don't have a lawyer

Self Represented Parties (Pro Se)

FAQ - General Questions

The Federal Poverty Guidelines are used by the Court to determine if parties are of limited means such that their fees may be waived.

You can find the Federal Poverty Guidelines here.

 

on 03/16/2015
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It means you are completing and filing your own documents and appearing for yourself in court, without an attorney.

on 11/16/2014
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The Paperwork

Typically, you will have to serve the opposing party and there are requirements as to the number of days you must serve before your hearing.  Please look at the local court rules for “service” to ensure you understand these requirements:

Local Court Rules

Also, if you or your children are on any type of public assistance, you may be required to serve the prosecuting attorney’s office child-support division.  Here is that address:

Cowlitz County Prosecuting Attorney

Child Support Services Division

871 – 11th Avenue

Longview, WA 98632

on 11/16/2014
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Depending on the type of case you are filing or responding to, financial statements will be required.  Sometimes, your case cannot move forward until all of the financial statements are filed and served to the opposing party.

on 11/16/2014
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You can find helpful checklists and forms for dissolution, establishing a parenting plan, non-parental custody and dissolution invalidities  on the Superior Court Clerk's web page here.

 

on 11/16/2014
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When you file a case asking the judge to enter a parenting plan (or residential schedule), you will need to file a proposed parenting plan (or residential schedule).  If you are responding to this kind of case, you will also need to file a proposed parenting plan (or residential schedule).  A proposed parenting plan (or residential schedule) is your idea of what the judge should sign.  [Parenting plan is the term used in a custody or divorce case; residential schedule is the term used in a non-parental custody case.]

Usually one of the parties to a custody, dissolution or non-parental custody case requests a temporary parenting plan (or residential schedule).  This is often different than the final parenting plan (or residential schedule).  When you go to a court hearing where you expect the judge to enter (or sign) either a temporary or final parenting plan (or residential schedule), it is a good idea to bring an extra copy of your proposed parenting plan (or residential schedule, but make sure you fix the box on the first page that says proposed and check either temporary or final) in case the judge agrees with you and is ready to make an order.

on 11/16/2014
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Going to Court

Contempt of court means that a person is knowingly and voluntarily not following a court order while having the ability to do so.

on 11/16/2014
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This may change which docket you will appear on during the week.  The court has a docket for people who do not have an attorney and a docket for cases in which an attorney is involved on either side or both sides of the matter.  Ask the clerk which docket is appropriate.

on 11/16/2014
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In many cases, you may want the court to enter orders before you get your final dissolution decree and other orders. These are called temporary orders and you will need to schedule a hearing.  If you are having an emergency, you may be able to ask the judge to enter an emergency order or an Ex Parte Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause.  If the court has given you emergency relief, you will also need to schedule a court hearing.

If you are afraid that the other party may injure or threaten you or your children, the court can issue special orders to help protect you and your children from harm.  For more information about getting a Protection Order, contact Emergency Support Shelter at 425-1176 or the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-800-562-6025.

on 11/16/2014
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Fill out tha docket notice which can be found HERE and file it with your other documents.  Ensure that you set your hearing with an understanding of the requirements for serving papers mentioned in the question above

on 11/16/2014
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Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) feature is an ongoing project. As we receive numerous questions on a particular issue, we try to add an answer to that question, so that you don't need to try and find someone to answer some of the more common questions we hear. It is available to the public 24 hours a day, unlike our staff. We don't expect this section to replace your ability to contact us with questions, nor do we expect that every question will be answered here.

If you are reading a divisional FAQ and want to go to the Full FAQ section, click HERE.

Credit for some of the answers you will find here go to the Northwest Justice Project, volunteer lawyers who have assisted us in adding information we think will be of assistance to you.

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