Courts, Legal Basics Article


Arizona EZ Court Forms

The Arizona Courts recognize that many Arizona residents cannot afford an attorney to help them fight their legal battles.  The courts have worked hard to help pro per litigants (people who do not have an attorney) handle their own cases.  To that end, the courts have developed a series of electronic court forms and interactive instructions for those forms.  The court system’s “self-help center” is a real step forward from the days when people went to a stationary store and purchased legal forms.  Often buyers had no idea if the form package they bought was legal in Arizona.  Sometimes, it wasn’t.  For example:  back in the 1980’s, stationary and office supply stores sold “fill in the blanks” form packages for drafting a Will.  These Will forms were legal in some states, but Arizona law recognized only the handwritten portions.  The handwritten parts fell under the Arizona statute for holographic Wills, but the pre-printed boilerplate could not be considered by the probate court.  At times, the handwritten portion was insufficient to make the drafter’s intent clear, and the Will would be found invalid.  That was the case in 1981, when the Arizona Court of Appeals decided In the Matter of Johnson’s Estate, 129 Ariz. 307, 630 P.2d 1039.  The Court held that when the pre-printed portions of the will were omitted, the handwritten portions remaining did not meet the statutory requirement for a holographic Will.  The Will was thrown out.

With forms that are generated by the Arizona courts, those types of issues have been eliminated. The printed portions of forms found on the courts’ websites are legally recognized.  The Arizona Courts have legal forms for many different types of litigation.   The following list includes many of the form packages available on the web site.

•    Application for a name change
•    Conciliation
•    Child Support Worksheet
•    Preparing a Parenting Plan
•    Establish paternity
•    Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time (Child Custody)
•    Child Support
•    Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)
•    Service of Process
•    Response to a Petition
•    Affidavit for Default
•    Petition to Modify or Enforce an Existing Court Order
•    Fee Deferral
•    Property Tax Appeal
•    Eviction
•    Emancipation of a Minor

There are more form packages on the website, but these are some of the ones most commonly used. 

To access the Arizona Court’s legal forms, go to www.azcouurts.gov.  This is the general website for the Arizona courts.  When you get to the website, click on the box near the bottom of the page titled “self-help center.”  There you will find the directory of forms.  The website also directs you to the website for the Superior Court in the county where you live.  You will need to check with the self-help center on your county’s website to make sure it uses the same forms as those authorized by the Arizona Supreme Court.  Some counties may require you to create an online account to access court forms and instructions.  Setting up an online account is easy, and it is free of charge.

Once you get into the self-help center, you will find instructions on which forms to use and how to fill out the forms.  The instructions will also tell you what you need to know about filing and serving the documents.

Another avenue for getting to the appropriate court forms is to go through the Maricopa Superior Court Law Library.  The self-help center there has forms for every county in the state.

The courts’ self-help centers allow litigants to handle many legal issues on their own.  Uncomplicated divorces, modifying a child parenting plan, evicting a tenant from your property, and changing your child’s name are all matters people can handle on their own if they are motivated and willing to take the time to carefully read the information and follow through with instructions.  Sure, there are issues too complicated to handle without a lawyer, but Arizona EZ court forms go a long way toward helping people handle problems on their own.

Resources


http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/LawLibrary/LegalResearch/ArizonaResearch/ArizonaCourtsResources/courtForms.asp

www.azcourts.gov

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  • what does Contributing to the delinquency of a minor mean?
  • If j enter a not guilty plea and take it to trial how woyld i go about obtaining evidence from the arresting officer including but not limited to notes and video
  • Should I seek counsel in a case where I ihave a protective order and defendant filed an answer with a lawyer?
  • I was arrested on a criminal charge. I was read Miranda and I asked for an attorney. At 11am the next day, I was taken before a judge. She read the charges and set bail. Then I was taken to another holding cell that had phones. Two questions: 1)What's the name of that hearing? 2)Why did I not have an attorney present, or at least someone to explain what was happening? I watch the news and see the same courtroom with attorney's representing the accused.
  • I filed a small claims complaint against a former roommate of mine when after I decided to leave he only gave me some of my personal belongings back and kept other items that he knew were important to me. I won the case and received a judgment for the amount that I requested. However, in the complaint two of the items I did not place a dollar amount next to because I knew he was still in possession of them (two portraits drawn by my brother that are very dear to me) and I wanted them returned. He had indicated in his Answer that he was in fact in possession of those items but wanted to be reimbursed for framing them. The hearing officer indicated we would need to take up the matter in a different forum due to the fact that they were personal property that I wanted to have returned. After the judgment was ordered I prepared a letter to the defendant and requested that he return the portraits to me and deduct the cost of framing from the judgment and I would then give him a satisfaction of judgment and we would be finished with this matter. About two weeks later I received a check for the amount of the judgment and a letter stating that he no longer was in possession of the artwork (he did not state what in fact became of my portraits). I decided to have the artwork appraised as I had photographs of the artwork as well as other drawings my brother had done. I then prepared a demand letter, again in an effort to resolve the matter without going to court. He did not respond in the time in which I had requested - (20) days. My question is do I have the right to file a Complaint for Conversion of Personal Property requesting to be compensated for damages (the price for the artwork as well as punitive damages and costs incurred)? And, if so, can I still file in small claims court as long as the amount I am seeking does not exceed $2,500 exclusive of court costs?
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  • How long will a DUI misdemeanor remain in my court files in Arizona?

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