For the tens of thousands of Utahns who represent themselves in a court of law each year, understanding the process is becoming easier. As of November 2010, Utah's court system expanded its Self-Help Center program to the 1st Judicial District, which covers Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties. Through this program, residents can access a variety of legal resources to help them better understand and prepare for self-representation.
The Self-Help Center is run by a team of attorneys who answer phone calls, e-mail inquiries and even responds to text messages. The staff helps patrons understand what to do before going to court, how to prepare documents, and what to do with an order issued by the court. Assistance is available for civil matters, including adoption, paternity, divorce, custody and child support as well as domestic violence, guardianship/conservatorship, probate, landlord-tenant disputes, small claims cases and debt collection. The program is designed not to give patrons legal advice, but rather to help them understand the many forms and procedures that make up the legal process.
The help line and text services are available 11 am to 5 pm Monday through Thursday. Individuals can also receive assistance by e-mailing the center staff, texting 801-SHC-1TXT (742-1898) or going online. Help line services are available in Spanish from 1 pm to 5 pm Tuesday through Thursday.