Filing the Right Case

Warning: These instructions provide general information and are not a substitute for legal advice. It’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer about your particular situation. 

Before you start to fill out forms, it is important to ensure you are filing the right kind of case for your issue. These instructions tell you how to find information on each type of case, their requirements, and provides a list of guides for the most common cases filed.

Checklist Steps

A good place to start is to review the guides, articles, and any forms that may be available. Not every guide will have a form.

  • Guides contain information, instructions, and forms for your case. You should look over the frequently asked questions in the "Overview" section of the guide.
  • Articles contain more detailed information on a specific legal subject. You can find all related articles in the “Articles” section of this guide.
  • Forms are documents you may be able to use to go to court. Many of the forms you will need can be found in their related guide.

Guides available on TexasLawHelp contain answers to frequently asked questions, and step-by-step instructions on filing and getting through your case, plus the forms you will need. See I want to use a guide.

If you are wanting to file for divorce or your spouse has filed for divorce, there are four different guides you can use:

If you are looking to annul or have the court declare your marriage void, use I want to annul or void my marriage.

If you are filing or involved in a case concerning the custody, visitation, or child support of a child, there are several guides you can use. These are the most frequently used:

If you are needing to file a suit concerning paternity, there are two guides that might match your situation:

When the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS or CPS) is involved, the court system can become even more complicated. The guides below will help you understand the process with DFPS.

Use our guide I need to do legal research to learn how to conduct legal research to determine what kind of case you need to file and if you meet the requirements.

If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

If you have been turned down for services from legal aid, cannot afford an attorney, and have no other option but to represent yourself, consider contacting an attorney for limited scope representation (also known as "unbundled legal services"). This is a more affordable way to get help from an attorney in private practice. Not all attorneys offer this service, but it might be an option for you.

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