Find and fill out court forms

The California court system uses forms. This guide has information about:

  • Where to find the forms you need
  • Options to fill out a form (online, with pen, using a form-filling program)
  • Tips for filling out forms and where to get help

Finding court forms

The California court system uses forms to ensure everyone’s information is complete so the judge can make a decision. 

Most forms are published by the Judicial Council and used across the state, but it’s also common for county Superior Courts to have one or two local forms that they require you to use.

Search for statewide Judicial Council forms

Find your county court to get local forms

Many forms are mandatory, meaning the court will only accept this form if you want to do certain things. Check the bottom left corner of the form, it will say mandatory or optional. If it says optional, you can choose to write your own filing.

If there is no form for what you need to do or you are not required to use one

If there isn’t a form for what you need to do, you will need to write your own court papers, in the right format and follow the court's rules. The California Rules of Court, starting with rule 2.100, tell you what is required for any documents you file with the court. 

Start with "pleading paper." Download a Microsoft Word template for pleading paper. You can also ask your court's Self-Help Center or public law library for a sample or blank pleading paper. 

Options to fill out forms

You can fill out forms in 3 ways: 

  • Print them from a website or pick up copies from a court clerk, law library, or public library and fill them out with a pen or typewriter.  

  • Use a PDF reader to fill them out on a computer. You can then print and file or e-file if your court allows. 

  • Use an online interview. This means you fill in a webform instead and the software puts a PDF together for you to sign and file. These are free but are only available for some types of forms.

Form filling tips

Use the current version of the form. Forms on this page are always up to date. You can also ask your court clerk or Self-Help Center if your form is the latest version. 

If you use a pen, use blue or black ink and print clearly. 

Fill out the caption - the name, address, phone number, court’s address, parties, and case number at the top of the form. 

  • If you do not have a lawyer, write your name, address, and phone number and put "Self-represented" on the "Attorney for" line on.
  • If you do not have a case number yet, the clerk will give you one when you file the forms. Use this case number on anything else you file later.

If your address changes, you will need to let the court and other parties in the case know. You can use Notice of Change of Address or other Contact Information (form MC-040). Then, use the new address on anything you file.

If you need help filling out the form

Most court forms have some basic instructions, and some common ones have a related INFO form you can get that has detailed instructions. 

Court Self-Help Center or public law library offer free workshops and other help with filling out forms as well.  

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