Home Court Resources Court Resources Explained

Court Resources Explained

Court Resources Explained

Court Resources Explained

The United States court system operates to ensure that justice is served to all individuals who seek it. The system is run by the federal and state courts, with each court having jurisdiction over a specific range of cases. Court resources are essential components of the U.S. judicial system. They are tools put in place to provide necessary information to users, from defendants to lawyers, and to serve as a guide throughout the judicial process. In this article, we will explore some of the court resources available to those engaging with the court system.

Online Resources

Today, several online platforms provide court resources that make accessing court-related information and services faster, easier, and safer. Websites like Justia, Findlaw, and LegalZoom work to provide resources to law firms, attorneys, and members of the general public. These websites are designed to provide guidance on various legal topics, from contract law to estate planning, as well as general guidance on court processes.

Court Records

Court records are one of the most common types of court resources available to the public. Court records refer to documents that are created during legal proceedings, including pleadings, motions, and orders. These records are publicly available, with some states having more accessibility than others.

The records may be obtained from a variety of sources, including the courts’ official websites, the state’s public courthouse, online legal databases, or through a third-party vendor. In some cases, individuals may be required to pay a fee to access the records or obtain certified copies of court documents.

Electronic Filing

Electronic filing is the process where legal documents are submitted to a court electronically. The use of electronic filing has made it easier for lawyers and litigants to conduct court transactions without having to visit a court clerk’s office. Electronic filing also reduces errors related to illegible handwriting, lost documents, and long wait times.

The use of electronic filing in court cases has various benefits, including convenience, speed, and security. Rather than filling in documents manually and submitting them physically, e-filing allows attorneys and individuals convenience while submitting documents directly to the court. This not only saves the parties in a judicial proceeding time but also reduces the use of paper, which can be beneficial to the environment.

Court Rules and Procedures

Each court has its own set of rules and procedures. Understanding these rules is essential for all individuals involved in the judicial process, including plaintiffs, defendants, and legal representatives. Court rules typically outline all procedures involved in in-court proceedings and serve to ensure that the process is just and fair for all parties.

Court rules can be obtained through various sources, including the court’s official website, through a clerk of court, or a law library. As rules may vary depending on the jurisdiction or the type of court, it is essential to look up the rules specific to the court in question.

Self-Help Centers

Across the United States, self-help centers are being set up in courthouses to provide legal assistance to individuals without legal training. These centers provide further access to justice by offering confidential assistance with non-criminal matters, such as child custody arrangements and small claims disputes.

Self-help assistance may come in different forms, such as workshops, clinics, or legal clinics, and is often offered in person or via phone or email. The centers hire trained experts in legal matters to provide assistance to anyone who requires it.

Legal Aid

Legal aid refers to legal assistance provided by a trained attorney or counsel to those who are not able to afford such representation. It’s essential to note that legal aid may be available to individuals on a sliding scale depending on their income and other means. Legal aid is aimed at providing those in need with representation in legal matters.

Legal aid could be for criminal matters or civil cases, and legal aid providers often offer assistance to those in need of support with legal research as well. Legal aid organizations operate throughout the United States and may feature an online chat or phone number for individuals to access their services.


The court systems in the United States operate to ensure that individuals receive justice as offered by the law. Court resources are essential to this process, assisting defendants, plaintiffs, and legal representatives access vital information during the process. Some of the most common sources of court resources include online databases, court records, legal clinics and centers, and legal aid. Whether accessed through an official court website or a third-party provider, court resources offer important support to those navigating through the complex legal process.

Families that face family court often become stressed and overwhelmed.Compounding that fact is the inability of many families or individuals to afford legal representation. However, many individuals have effectively represented themselves in familycourt. If individuals become knowledgeable in all facets of applicable familylaws, possible outcomes, and consequences, they will be better prepared to facecourt proceedings. In fact, there are many resources available to individualsthat must represent themselves in court.

For example, individuals that mustfill out family law legal forms, often find access to information at the courthouse. Generally, when an individual picks up the appropriate forms, they canget advice on how to fill it out correctly at the same location. In fact, formsoften come with detailed instructions that are explained in a very simplemanner, to avoid complicating the facts. In addition, divorcing couples thatwish to avoid court proceedings all together, can find reduced fee servicesthrough a family law center. Not only is it cheaper, but it is a much fasterprocess in which the interests of all parties are considered, when reaching anagreement. However, some couples are unable to reach an agreement without courtintervention, but they cannot afford legal representation. In that case,individuals can find free legal advice in places like law libraries or fromorganizations that strive to allow families to maintain stability, such asreligious organizations.

In addition, individuals can access legal forums thatprovide information to the general public, often free of charge. In fact, someindividuals may be able to get pro bono legal representation by utilizinginformation found on those forums. In any case, individuals will be able tofind the necessary information, sometimes it just requires extensive andcareful research.


In any family law case, there are likely to be numerous family law forms thatmust be filed out and filed with the courts. In just one family law case, theremay be dozens of forms that need to be filled out and filled with courts. Inaddition, individuals need to be sure that all involved parties receive theproper notification about those forms. For example, a person that files apetition for divorce, must besure that their spouse is served with those papers in an appropriate and legalfashion. While many of the forms are self explanatory, some are confusing.

Legal forms are vital to achieving a successful outcome in any legal case,therefore individuals should only fill out forms that they completelyunderstand. If in fact, there are questions, individuals should consult an attorney or ask questions at the court or at a nonprofit legal service. In addition, individuals should be sure that they takethe proper action with the forms, once they have been filled out. In general,courts provide fact sheets to assist individuals that wish to take any actionin the family courts. Those fact sheets will contain detailed instructions onwhich forms are necessary and the manner in which they should be filled out.

Family Law Centers:

While legal disagreements can be settled in courts, that process if often timeconsuming, stressful, and expensive. However, adults are encouraged to try andwork out any disagreement absent court intervention. In other words,individuals can try to come to an agreement on issues such as divorce, withoutever entering a court room. In fact, family law centers aim to do just that.They generally charge a flat rate for couples wishing to come to a divorceagreement without any court proceedings. In fact, the only time the couplesgoes before the judge is to gain approval of their agreement.

Couples can oftencome to a mutually beneficial agreement while utilizing the services of afamily law specialist. In fact there are many benefits including reduced fees,quicker results, and that the entire process take place in a private setting.In addition, children are generally spared much of stress and discomfort thatis associated with court proceedings. An added benefit is that couples canalways take part in court proceedings if the process in not completed through afamily law center and often most of the disagreement has been settled at thatpoint, so the couple still saves time and money.

Free Advice/Representation:

When individuals are faced with family law court proceedings, they may realizethat they are unable to afford legal representation. In fact, the cost of legalrepresentation in family court is often prohibitive to many families andindividuals. However, there are services that offer free legal advice, such asreligious or non profit organizations. In general, the purpose of thoseorganizations is to improve the stability of families, and to help improvetheir quality of life. Many times, those organizations can also help families find inexpensive or free psychological counseling which can be helpful to maintaining the mental health of all family members during and after the process.

Those organizations tend to be run with state funds or by grantsand donations and therefore, can provide free or lost cost services. Inaddition, there are some organizations that help individuals retain theservices of a pro bono family law attorney. If individuals are unable to findthese services on there own, they can contact the courts for a list ofavailable resources in their state. In general, people who qualify for free orreduced fee services will be offered assistance from an individual that isknowledgeable on all aspects of the family court.

Law Libraries:

Law libraries are a great place for people to gain knowledge on family law. Infact law libraries are general located in several locations and are often opento the public. Most courts have law libraries. In addition, most universitieshave law libraries, or libraries with large sections on law. These section isgenerally updated quite frequently because of the frequency with which lawssometimes change. In addition, there will always be recently publishedperiodicals available. Those periodicals may contain facts on recent case law,as well as recent outcomes of cases that involved similar facts to the case ofthe individual seeking knowledge and advice. In any case, law libraries arefilled with information that will help individuals sort through confusing lawsand court procedures.


There are many legal forums available online. In fact, many forums are statespecific, so that the information will apply to specific cases in certainstates. In addition, forums are generally based on specific subjects, such asdivorce or child custody, which can help individuals sort through extensiveavailable information.

In general, forums are run by legal professionals.Forums generally allow the general public to ask questions, and have themanswered by legal professionals and by others that have been through similarcourt proceedings. Forums offer support in several ways. First, individuals canbecome more knowledgeable in state family laws, as well as any possible outcomeof their court case. In addition, forums can grant individuals emotionalsupport from others that have been, or are going through similar circumstances.Issues of family law can have a great impact on the entire family unit. Forthat reason, forums can help individuals to gain an understanding of thoseimplications on their family. In addition, forums can present information thatwill help individuals to avoid negative outcomes for themselves and theirfamily.