If you don't have a lawyer and need to represent yourself in court, you are called a self-represented litigant or a pro se or pro per party. Click below to go directly to a section of this article.
Do you need help finding what documents to file?
Option 1: Visit the California Guide & File site to see if there is a guided interview for the type of case you need to file. You can e-file directly at the end of some of the interviews. (If you can't e-file at the end, save your documents and follow the instructions in the next section to e-file.) Below are links to some of the most popular case types.
- Divorce, Legal Separation, or Nullity
- Small Claims
- Restraining Orders
- Request for Order (family cases)
- Parentage or Custody and Support
- Eviction/Unlawful Detainer Response
Option 2: If you don't find what you need on the California Guide & File site, visit the California Courts Self-Help Center (in English and Spanish) to find the right forms. Below are links to some of the most popular case types. After you prepare your documents, follow the instructions in the next section.
- Divorce and Other Family Issues
- Small Claims
- Eviction & Housing
- Name Change
- Debt Collection & Bankruptcy
- Wills, Estate, and Probate
- Request to Waive Court Fees
Do you have your documents ready but need to e-file them?
- Make sure your documents are in PDF format for e-filing. Click here to learn how to turn them into PDFs.
- Visit the eFileCA site to file your documents electronically. If you created an account on the California Guide & File site, you can use the same login on the eFileCA site.
- To learn how to file a new case, click here to watch a video.
- To learn how to file into an existing case, click here to read how.
Do you need more legal help?
Click the links below for more information.
- Information (in English and Spanish) about Court Basics and Preparing for Court
- Law Libraries and other resources, and information about doing legal research
- Court Self-Help Centers and other onsite resources
- Free legal answers (if you qualify)
- Search for legal aid providers (you must qualify for help based on your income)
- Find a lawyer through the State Bar of California Lawyer Referral Services