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LawHelp Interactive Programs

This page is for court self-help center staff, legal aid agencies and advocates who assist self-represented litigants.  If you are a self-represented litigant, please visit California Courts Self-Help Center or your local court website for information and resources.

LawHelp Interactive is a web platform administered by a nonprofit organization, Pro Bono Net, that provides access to HotDocs (document assembly) and A2J (triage) programs, developed by the Judicial Council.  Document assembly programs use an interview format to ask litigants, or those assisting litigants, questions that are used to populate Judicial Council forms. The programs determine which forms are needed based on a litigant’s particular situation. A2J triage programs are used to guide users through a series of questions that will help them decide what to do in certain situations, such as whether to consider mediation for a small claims matter and determining jurisdiction in a child custody matter.

In California, HotDocs programs are offered at no cost to court self-help centers, nonprofit legal services agencies and other court partners that serve self-represented litigants.

If you are new to HotDocs and want information on getting started, jump to Getting Started with LHI and HotDocs.

What's New with HotDocs?

Changes to Statewide Programs

Based on your feedback, we have recently implemented several changes and improvements to the Guardianship Petition program:

  • Co-wards will now be listed on the GC-210(CA), item 2, at the top of page 3, under “Names and addresses of this child’s relatives and other persons (continued):”
  • If you do not know the name of a non-ward sibling and you check the box that says, “Unknown,” the program will automatically set the name to “Sibling 1—Unknown Name.” If you don’t like that, you can uncheck it and write what you like (i.e., “Unknown First Name Smith”).
  • There can now be two petitioners, as long as they have the same address.  The screen that asks about petitioners now allows the user to select Proposed Guardian 1, Proposed Guardian 2, or Proposed Guardians 1 and 2.
  • Both guardian names are populating on the forms, including signature lines.

If you have any questions or concerns about these changes or about the Guardianship Petition program overall, please contact Diana at diana.glick@jud.ca.gov.

Judicial Council Forms – Program Updates

  • Last Update: The last program updates were implemented on March 2, 2018.  Each year, the federal government publishes new standards for the federal poverty level. These amounts are used by courts to determine eligibility for fee waivers in civil and probate courts. These changes affected standalone fee waiver programs and our Dissolution, Paternity, Probate and Civil Restraining Order programs with embedded fee waiver interviews.
  • Next Update: The next program updates will reflect rule and form changes that will go into effect on September 1, 2018.  We will post more information about these changes closer to the implementation date. 

Statewide Program Links

If you are looking for a link to a program developed specifically for your county, jump to County Programs.

Courts that want to provide links to HotDocs programs on their local court websites should copy the specific program links below onto internal self-help center or public sites.  This will allow litigants to go directly to LawHelpInteractive.org

Please do not publish links to the Equal Access site (these informational pages) as it is intended for court self-help center staff.

The following programs are available for use in any county—to enable a program for your county, please contact us at HotDocs@jud.ca.gov to provide venue and court address information and for assistance with disseminating and displaying links to the programs.

Program Name and Description Intended User/Setting

Civil Harassment Restraining Order Petition

  • This program will help the user fill out the forms needed to ask the court for a civil harassment restraining order.
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    CHRO Petition Coversheet
Staff/Workshop

Civil Harassment Restraining Order Response

  • This program will help the user fill out the forms needed to respond to a civil harassment restraining order petition.
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    CHRO Response Coversheet
Staff/Workshop

Divorce Starter Kit Program

  • Can be used remotely to start the dissolution process before coming to the self-help center.
  • Includes fee waiver petition.

SRL

Dissolution Petition and Disclosures

  • Completes the dissolution petition and disclosures.
  • Includes fee wavier petition.
  • Answer files saved with this program can be used to complete the Dissolution Foreign Service program.

Staff/Workshop

Dissolution Foreign Service

  • Generates the Spanish versions of the Judicial Council forms.
  • Allows the user to enter translated data from the petitioner’s filing documents.
  • See Instructions for Dissolution Foreign Service Program.

Staff and litigants

Domestic Violence Programs

  • Petitioner and Respondent programs.
  • Two versions of the petitioner program – with TRO Hearing Notice and without.  Courts that would like to use the petitioner program with TRO Hearing Notice should contact us at HotDocs@jud.ca.gov your local form included the program.
  • Programs include information designed to enable self-represented litigants to use the programs on their own. However, it is recommended that petitioners seek help with filing a restraining order through domestic violence advocates or the self-help center.

SRL, with assistance recommended

Elder Abuse Restraining Order Petition

  • This program will help the user fill out the forms needed to ask the court for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    EARO Petition Coversheet
Staff/Workshop

Elder Abuse Restraining Order Response

  • This program will help the user fill out the forms needed to respond to a request for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order petition
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    EARO Response Coversheet
Staff/Workshop

Guardianship Program

  • Assists proposed guardians to present a complete petition for guardianship for up to five children.
  • Includes probate fee waiver petition.
  • Courts that would like to offer this program should contact us at HotDocs@jud.ca.gov in order to provide local court information and indicate whether the court accepts the GC-210 or the GC-210(P).

Staff/Workshop

Fee Waiver Request-Guardianship/Conservatorship

  • Standalone fee waiver request for guardianship and conservatorship matters.
  • Can be used when a guardian or conservator represents a ward or conservatee in a civil matter. 
  • Questions are designed to help the user fill out the FW-001-GC and the FW-003-GC for a single ward or conservatee.

SRL

Name Change Petition

  • This program will help the user fill out the forms needed to ask the court to change the name of an adult, a child or a family group and includes a fee waiver petition.
  • This version of the program contains local court venue information. 
  • The publicly-available version of this program at Name Change Form Builder requires litigants to input their own courthouse information for form captions.   

SRL

Parentage Petition

  • This program will help the user fill out the forms needed to ask the court to establish parentage over up to four children.
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    Parentage Petition Coversheet

Staff/Workshop

Parentage Response

  • This program will help the user fill out the forms needed to respond to a parentage petition.
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    Parentage Response Coversheet

Staff/Workshop

Small Claims Triage

  • An A2J program that produces a Word document with useful links and resources at the end of a Question and Answer interview.
  • This program has been tested and works well on mobile devices.
  • If you would like to have the program provide specific resources and information for users in your county, please contact us at HotDocs@jud.ca.gov.
  • This program is available on the California Courts website at Small Claims so courts can also consider pointing litigants to this resource.

SRL

Getting Started with LHI and HotDocs

If your court is new to HotDocs and LawHelp Interactive, please contact us at HotDocs@jud.ca.gov. We will connect you with a community of courts using document assembly and ensure that you receive ongoing support and important updates to the programs.  It will also be very helpful to us to have an accurate list of courts using LHI/HotDocs for reporting purposes.

Please see the documents below for a LHI/HotDocs Overview and Instructions on setting up accounts.

Document Name Users

LHI/HotDocs Overview

Staff

Instructions:

1.  Guide To Using LawHelp Interactive

Staff

2.  How to Register for a Court Employee and Advocate LHI Account

Staff

3.  How to Register for a “Self-Helper” LHI Account

Staff and litigants

4.  How to Access and Work with Saved Answers

Staff and litigants

5.  How to Use the Foreign Service Programs

Staff

County Programs