FILING LEGAL DOCUMENTS WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY
In accord with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, there are certain requirements that must be met for all documents filed with this Court. These requirements include:
Rule 7 (B) (1) An application to the court for an order shall be by motion . . . shall be made in writing. . . shall state with particularity the grounds therefore, and shall set forth the relief or order sought.
All documents filed with the Court must be on 8-1/2 x 11 paper with straight edges, and legibly handwritten or typed with a two inch margin at top of page and a one inch margin on both sides and at bottom of page.
Should include the appropriate Guernsey County Common Pleas Court case number and the current address of all parties.
Rule 5 - Service and filing of pleadings and other papers subsequent to the original complaint - Every pleading and every written motion shall be served upon each of the parties or upon the attorney by hand delivering a copy to the person to be served, by fax or by regular U.S. mail. A certificate of service/statement that you have sent a copy to other party or their attorney must be included in your document.
Rule 11 - Every pleading, motion or other document of a party shall be signed.
Rule 5(E) - The filing of documents with the court, as required by these rules, shall be made by filing them with the clerk of courts.
The appropriate court cost deposit must be paid at the time of filing.
The Court is a very traditional place. When you are representing yourself in Court you are trying to persuade a judge or jury that you are right. So you must act, dress and speak in a way that helps you with your case. Here are some tips:
BE ON TIME
What will happen if you are late?
Your case can be dismissed.
The judge may make a decision without hearing your side.
You do not need fancy clothes, just make sure you are neat and clean. Tank tops, shorts, ripped jeans or baseball hats are not acceptable.
How you act is as important as how you look. Just like an attorney, you must be respectful to everyone in the Court, including the judge, court staff and the other party involved in your case.
Do not speak while others are speaking.
Speak to the Judge only when you are told it is your turn. Address the Judge as "your honor". Never interrupt the Judge.
DO NOT BRING CHILDREN WITH YOU TO COURT
It is okay to bring your child if it is a custody or visitation case and the Judge or Magistrate needs to talk with your child. In all other cases, find someone to look after your child.
NO CELL PHONES OR PAGERS IN THE COURT
Turn your phone/pager off when you enter the court. Ringing phones and beeping pagers are very distracting and make some judges very mad, which will not help your case!
Southeastern Ohio Legal Aid
The Southeastern Ohio Legal Aid office may be able to assist you with certain legal advice. You may contact them at 1.800.686.3671.
***Do not try to talk to the Judge about your case before Court. The law prevents the judge from talking to one party if the other party is not present (unless the case is currently before the Court). This one-sided conversation is called an "ex parte communication" and it is illegal.
***Do not ask Court staff for legal advice. Court staff and Clerk of Courts staff are NOT attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. More importantly, they are employees of the Court and must treat both sides in a case fairly. It is unfair and illegal for them to help one party and not the other. They can answer questions about court procedure, court rules and the meaning of certain legal terms.