How to Fill Out Civil Legal Papers

How to Fill Out Civil Legal Papers thumbnail
Civil legal papers must be filled out correctly.

Whether you are filling out legal papers to begin a civil case against another individual or you are responding to a civil case that has been filed against you, it is important that it is done correctly. You want to be sure that you provide the court will all the information it will need, and you do not want to make any mistakes. Should you leave anything out or fail to provide pertinent information, it could be detrimental to your case. The plaintiff or petitioner is the person who files the original complaint in court and the defendant or respondent is the person answering to the complaint.


    • 1

      Visit the Clerk of Courts office. A clerk will help you decide which civil legal papers you will need to file. If you know which papers you need, you can print the forms off the Internet.

    • 2

      Read the form thoroughly. Write your name and address in the space provided. Fill out each section to the best of your knowledge. Each section must be filled out. Write "N/A" if the section does not apply to you. If you are unsure of how to fill out any section, leave it blank until you can ask someone. The clerk's office or a legal assistant may be able to help you.

    • 3

      Sign all the papers in blue or black ink only. The form will have a space provided for an attorney's signature or it will state "pro se" or "in pro per;" This is where you sign your name. If it only requests an attorney's signature, sign on the line provided and place "pro se" or "in pro per" next to your signature.

    • 4

      Review your legal papers to ensure you did not miss anything. If your civil legal papers are not filled out correctly, the court may not accept them and you will have to start from the beginning.

Tips & Warnings

  • Search the Internet for court forms in your county, which may be available online.

  • Some courts require that forms be typed.

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  • Photo Credit FPG/Retrofile/Getty Images

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