Self-Help Resources

Legal proceedings are inherently complicated.  Lawyers are trained to navigate that complexity.  Non-lawyers cannot lawfully represent you in legal proceedings.  When you choose to represent yourself or find that you have to represent yourself, you will generally be held to the same standard of performance a lawyer would be.  This means you are expected to follow the law, meet deadlines, use proper forms, follow procedural rules and evidence rules, among others.  Preparation is essential.

In family law proceedings you may be able to enlist the assistance of a courthouse facilitator to review forms and answer general questions.  The Resources below provide a link to courthouse facilitators.  However, they cannot provide you legal advice.  Mandatory court forms, court rules and the rules of evidence are also available on the court's website.  Links to these resources are provided below. 

This topic has a number of subsections.  We have separately treated self-help in Administrative Hearings and Small Claims court, each of which has different procedures from the trial courts generally.  We have separated self-help materials available for free from those you buy. 

 

Administrative Hearings

Administrative hearings do not involve courts.  But like courts, their proceedings are legal proceedings and require you to follow legal procedures.  Self-help guidance to prepare for these hearings is referenced below.

Small Claims Court

Small Claims Court is a division of the county district court.  It is basically a court without lawyers.  It has special procedures.  Material explaining the process is available on the court's website below.

How To Materials and Forms

Excellent materials are available to assist you in certain areas of the law.  WashingtonLawHelp has assembled a great deal of self-help material, as has Legal Voice.  Both are linked in the Resource section below.

Materials You Buy

Self-help books, materials and forms are also available commercially.  How accurate they are with respect to Washington law and how useful they will be to you is difficult to predict.  As we receive reviews of these materials, we will endeavor to share them on this site.