New York Court Help

Frequently Asked Questions
DIY Forms

Q. Why did my papers print out messed up?

Q. Why am I getting an error message or a blank screen?
Q. What software is needed to view and print the documents?
Q. What should I expect from the program?
Q. Who can use these programs?
Q. What do I need to get started?
Q. How much does it cost?
Q. What is LawHelp Interactive?
Q. To use the program, will I have to agree to any terms?
Q. Do I have to register for a user name and password on LawHelp Interactive?
Q. Why would I want to sign up for a user name and password on LawHelp Interactive?
Q. Where can I learn more about the security on LawHelp Interactive?
Q. What should I know about representing myself in court?
Q. Where can I find an attorney if I decide I need one?
Q. Sometimes when I click to start the program it opens a white screen or the screen never finishes loading. What should I do?


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Q. Why did my papers print out messed up?
A. Unfortunately, this is a common problem that occurs when someone opens a DIY form in anything other than Word or Microsoft Word Viewer. Both the CourtHelp landing page and the final screens of the DIY program inform you of the software requirement and provide instruction on how to download free Microsoft Word Viewer if you don't have Word. Regardless, this mistake is understandable. It is unfortunate when this happens at the very end of the process. If you logged in and created an account it is simple to just regenerate the document again and open it with the correct software. If you did not create an account to save work then you may have to re-do the whole program.

You can download Microsoft Word Viewer for free at Microsoft.com.


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Q. Why am I getting an error message or a blank screen?
A. The computer you are using needs Adobe Flash Player to see the program. If Flash is not installed, you will get an error message or a blank screen. If you are using your own computer, download Adobe Flash Player - it’s safe, easy to install, and free. You may need to restart the computer after installation.

Download Adobe Flash Player.

Abobe Flash

If you are using a public computer, ask if Adobe Flash Player is already on the computer.


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Q. What software is needed to view and print the documents?
A. You will need Microsoft Word to view and print the document. If you do not open the document in Microsoft Word, you will get formatting errors or “gibberish” in the document.

If you do not have Microsoft Word, you can download Microsoft Word Viewer for free from Microsoft.com.

Microsoft

When your document is ready, you can “Open” it (with Microsoft Word or Microsoft Word Viewer) or you can “Save File” to your computer. If you saved the document at a public computer, remember to delete the document before leaving the computer to protect your privacy.

Note: Microsoft WordPad is not the same as Microsoft Word. WordPad will cause problems with your documents.


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Q. What should I expect from the program?

A. You will answer questions like in an interview. We will use your answers to fill in the New York court approved forms for your court case or give you legal information.

When you click the link to the form you need, we will take you to our partner website LawHelp Interactive to complete the program. At the end of the program, you will “Submit” your answers, wait for your documents to be put together, and then open or save your document. Depending on the program, instructions on what to do next will be included.


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Q. Who can use these programs?

A. These programs are only for unrepresented litigants who cannot afford a lawyer, and legal services and pro bono attorneys and staff helping clients who cannot afford lawyers. Except as stated, attorneys may not use these programs or charge for their use. When you begin the program, you will be asked to accept these terms of use.


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Q. What do I need to get started?

A. First, select the program you need for your legal situation. Each program will provide you with a list of information you will need to complete the program.


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Q. How much does it cost?

A. There is no cost for using this program. No one can charge you for using the forms printed from this program. But, there are fees for filing most court documents. The instructions will give you fee information or you can contact your local court for more details.


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Q. What is LawHelp Interactive?

A. LawHelp Interactive is the host for online document programs for low-income people who do not have attorneys and is used by legal service programs all over the US. The New York State Unified Court System is licensed to host its question and answer programs on the LawHelp Interactive server. This server hosts all of the New York State Do-It-Yourself Forms Programs.  It is a secure server.  That means your information is private and safe.


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Q. To use the program, will I have to agree to any terms?

A.Yes, you or an advocate on your behalf will need to accept LawHelp Interactive’s Terms and Conditions in order to use program.

Click here to read LawHelp Interactive’s Terms and Conditions.


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Q. Do I have to register for a user name and password on LawHelp Interactive?
A. No. You can go to the program without registering or logging onto the server. Click on “Start to Answer Questions” on the webpage.


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Q. Why would I want to sign up for a user
name and password on LawHelp Interactive?
A. Signing up for a user name and password lets you save your answers each time you complete a NY-DIY Forms program. Your answers are stored on a secure and encrypted server. To protect your privacy do not share your user name and password with anyone else.

Click here to read about the server privacy policy.


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Q. Where can I learn more about the security on LawHelp Interactive?
A. Click here to read the full privacy policy.


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Q. What should I know about representing
myself in court?
A. It is always best to talk to a lawyer about your legal problems before filing any legal papers. Even if you do not hire a lawyer to appear in your case, a lawyer can give you information about your rights.


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Q. Where can I find an attorney if I decide I need one?
A. The website www.lawhelp.org can tell you about free or low-cost legal services in your area. Most legal service programs can only give help to people with very low income and very little property.

There are also lawyer referral services to help you find a private lawyer. The lawyers from these programs agree to charge only a small fee for your first meeting.

If you live in New York City, contact the New York City Bar's Lawyer Referral Services at (212) 626-7373 or (212) 626-7374 for Spanish speakers. 

If you live outside of New York City, contact the New York State Bar Association's Lawyer Referral and Information Service at (800) 342-3661.

There are also lawyer referral services to help you find a private lawyer. The lawyers from these programs agree to charge only a small fee for your first meeting.


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Q. Sometimes when I click to start the program it opens a white screen or the screen never finishes loading. What should I do?
A. LHI, Law Help Interactive is the company that hosts all of the courts' DIY Form programs. Like all computer companies sometimes they have issues with their server, causing the programs to be inaccessible. In most cases they are simply updating their software. Wait a few minutes then try again.

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Last updated on March 24, 2014

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