How do I get started?
This page contains information about how to get started with a civil case.
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1. What laws apply? If you want to start a civil case and have decided to represent yourself, the first thing you will need to do is figure out what laws apply to your case.
Research the law in a law library or public library, or in the
State Law Library, (512) 463-1722. Talk to a lawyer to find out if the law supports filing your case or if there is another legal reason why you should or should not start a case.
TexasLawHelp.org to get information about different laws. Their free LiveHelp chat service allows you to send messages to a lawyer Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2. Start with a Petition.
A Petition tells the court what happened and what you want the court to do about it.
The person who files the Petition is called “Petitioner” in family law cases and “Plaintiff” in other types of civil cases.
The person who is being sued is called “Respondent” in family law cases or “Defendant” in other types of cases.
3. Court staff cannot tell you the law; lawyers and TexasLawHelp can help you with the law. If you need help understanding the law that applies to your case, talk to a lawyer or use the TexasLawHelp LiveHelp chat service.