Equal Access

Materials for Providers of Legal Self-Help Service

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?

Updated Programs for Unlawful Detainer Complaint and Answer

Based on recent state legislation and the extension of federal protections for tenants, the Judicial Council revised two unlawful detainer forms currently included in HotDocs unlawful detainer programs, both with an effective date of February 16, 2021:

  • The UD-101 Plaintiff’s Mandatory Cover Sheet and Supplemental Allegations—Unlawful Detainer has been revised to include new information and dates applicable to landlords; and
  • The UD-105 Answer—Unlawful Detainer has been revised to include new dates and additional defenses and objections to unlawful detainer for tenants.

These revised forms have been incorporated into HotDocs unlawful detainer programs for Complaint and Answer as follows:

  • Complaint for Unlawful Detainer: This program contains the revised UD-101 Plaintiff’s Mandatory Cover Sheet and Supplemental Allegations—Unlawful Detainer. As of February 16, 2021, this program asks questions to fully populate the UD-101 for plaintiffs.
  • Answer to Unlawful Detainer Complaint: This program contains an updated version of the UD-105 Answer—Unlawful Detainer and asks questions to help defendants fill out the sections related to current affirmative defenses and objections available under state and federal law.

More information about these programs is available below.

Judicial Council Forms – Program Updates

  • Last Update: At its business meeting on March 12, 2021, the Judicial Council approved revisions to fee waiver forms to reflect adjusted federal poverty levels for 2021. The Judicial Council also approved a technical change proposal to correct an error on the EA-120. All revised forms go into effect on March 15, 2021. There are 56 HotDocs programs that assemble fee waiver forms and two HotDocs programs that contain the EA-120. All 58 programs were updated and republished for Monday, March 15, 2021.
  • Next Update: Each year, the Judicial Council approves a round of revisions to rules and forms for September 1. Updates to HotDocs programs will be made to any program with a form impacted by this rule cycle.

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

Answer to Governmental Child Support Complaint

  • This program will help the user fill out forms to respond to a governmental child support summons and complaint and provide financial information to the court.
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    Child Support Answer Coversheet
Staff/Workshop

Child Support Modification Request

  • This program will help the user fill out the FL-300 Request for Order form specifically to request a change to an existing child support order. It contains questions specific to the current coronavirus state of emergency.
  • Child Support Modification Request Coversheet
SRL/Remote Assistance

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

Petition for Custody and Support

SRL/Remote Assistance

Request for Order

  • This program will help the user fill out forms to file a Request for Order in a family law case, including new and modified orders for child custody, visitation and child support.
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    Request for Order Coversheet
Staff/Workshop

Unlawful Detainer Complaint

  • This program will help a landlord to fill out the forms necessary to file a complaint for unlawful detainer against a tenant. It includes a fee waiver application.
  • If you would like to have the program enabled for use in your county, please contact us at HotDocs@jud.ca.gov.
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    Unlawful Detainer Complaint Coversheet

SRL

Unlawful Detainer Answer

  • This program will help a tenant fill out the forms necessary to file an answer to an unlawful detainer complaint. It includes a fee waiver application.
  • If you would like to have the program enabled for use in your county, please contact us at HotDocs@jud.ca.gov.
  • Detailed information about this program here:
    Unlawful Detainer Answer Coversheet

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