NYCourts.govNew York State Unified Court System
CourtHelp

DIY Forms FAQ

Q. Why am I getting an error message or a blank screen?
Answer ]

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


Q. What software is needed to view and print the documents?
Answer ]

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.

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.


Q. What if I'm using a Mac?
Answer ]

If your Mac has Microsoft Word then you can use this program. Be sure that the generated document is opened in Microsoft Word. If your Mac does not have Microsoft Word, this program will not work for you. Depending on what county you are in, you can go to the court clerk's office, a court Help Center or your local public library.


Q. What should I expect from the program?
Answer ]

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.


Q. Who can use these programs?
Answer ]

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. A private attorney using the DIY Form program must submit a Pro Bono Affirmation when filing the DIY Forms. 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.


Q. What do I need to get started?
Answer ]

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.


Q. How much does it cost?
Answer ]

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.


Q. What is LawHelp Interactive?
Answer ]

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.


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

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.


Q. Do I have to register for a user name and password on LawHelp Interactive?
Answer ]

No. You can go to the program without registering or logging onto the server. Click on “Start to Answer Questions” on the web page.


Q. Why would I want to sign up for a user name and password on LawHelp Interactive?
Answer ]

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.


Q. Where can I learn more about the security on LawHelp Interactive?
Answer ]

Click here to read the full privacy policy.


Q. What should I know about representing myself in court?
Answer ]

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.



Q. Where can I find an attorney if I decide I need one?
Answer ]

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.

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