Court Staff Assistance

What assistance court staff are allowed to provide

Court staff are happy to help you if they can. However, court staff are allowed to help you only in certain ways, since they must be fair to everyone. This is a list of things court staff may and may not do for you.

Court staff MAY:
    • Explain and answer questions about how the court works.
    • Provide you with the number of the local lawyer referral service and any legal services program.
    • Provide you with the number of any family court programs, parent/child education, mediation, community services and domestic violence resources.
    • Give you general information about court rules, procedures and practices.
    • Provide court schedules and information about how to set a case scheduled for a hearing.
    • Provide your court file for your review.
    • Provide you with court forms and instructions that are available.
    • Usually answer questions about court deadlines.

Court staff MAY NOT:
    • Tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
    • Tell you what words to use in your court papers. (However, court staff can check your papers for completeness. For example, check for signatures, notarization, correct county name, correct case number and presence of attachments.)
    • Tell you what to say in court.
    • Give you an opinion about what will happen in your case.
    • Talk to the judge for you.
    • Let you talk to the judge outside of court or arrange for you to talk to the judge outside of court.
    • Change an order signed by a judge.
    • Provide you with contact information for another party.

Court Costs
The circuit clerk may assist you in determining costs. Some courts also post the filing fees on their court website. Use the "Find a Court" search feature to search for your local court. If the filing fees are not listed, you should contact the circuit clerk's office.

You also may have to pay for serving summons on the other parties in your case. The circuit clerk usually will be able to tell you how much you will have to pay the sheriff for service (additional mileage fees for miles actually traveled in serving papers may apply). If you use a private process server you should ask the process server about the cost. If you are notifying a party by publication, check with the local newspaper regarding the cost.