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LawHelp Interactive - FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Authored By: LawHelp Interactive

Frequently Asked Questions

 
What is this site?
How do I use this site?
What if I have a problem with this site?
Where can I find legal help?
 

What is this site?
 

What is the LawHelp Interactive?

This Website allows low-income people without access to a lawyer to prepare their own legal forms online for free.
It’s also used by pro bono and legal aid attorneys seeking to work more efficiently.

When using this Website, you will be asked questions and your answers are used to fill out a form.

Who is this service for?

This site is for low-income people; the staff of nonprofit and charitable organizations; lawyers and their staff providing not-for-profit or reduced fee legal assistance to low-income people or nonprofit and charitable organizations. It can also be used by pe This site is for low-income people who can't pay for legal assistance and their non-profit advocates. It can also be used by people without lawyers who are accessing this Web Site through an approved court web sites and court personnel assisting other permitted users. (Note: the California, New York and Minnesota state court web sites have been approved by the Provider.)

Commercial use is strictly forbidden.

Does it cost anything to use this site?

No.

Where are the forms?

LawHelpInteractive.org will direct you to your state’s legal aid website to access forms. Click on Find Forms for a list of states that currently have forms. You can also find a state-by-state list of legal aid websites on LawHelp.org. Follow the directions on your state website to access available forms. Please note, available LHI forms vary depending on the type of legal issue and your state. If you don’t find the particular form you’re looking for, you can visit www.lawhelp.org for other help and resources in that area of law.

As an example, if you are looking for divorce forms for Montana:

  • Go to LawHelp.org..
  • Click Montana. You'll go to MontanaLawHelp.org.
  • Click "Families and Kids".
  • Click "Dissolution (Divorce)".
  • Click "Dissolution Forms (Interactive forms)".

What do I do once I've found a form?

  1. Accept Terms of Use.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. Click Submit or Finish.
  4. LHI will prepare your form based on the answers you provided.
  5. Download or email your document to print and read the instructions on your next steps. Please note, in most cases the forms are not automatically filed with the court when using LHI.


Do you give legal advice?

No. This Web site provides legal information, not advice. No lawyer/client relationship is formed. No person is reviewing how you answer questions or if the documents are right for you. If you have questions or want to know if a document is right for you, talk to a lawyer.

Who runs this site?

This site is a program of Pro Bono Net and the Ohio State Legal Services Association, under a grant from the Legal Services Corporation. HotDocs Server has been donated by HotDocs Corporation. The site also contains A2J Author and Neota Logic Interviews.

The forms are developed by local legal aid organizations, pro bono programs, and courts.

Is the system secure?

Security measures are being taken with the server. Your communications with the system and your answer files stored on the system are encrypted. For more information, see our Privacy Policy. Please keep in mind that this service is on the public Web – absolute security is not guaranteed. Additionally, the site may occasionally be taken down for maintenance, preventing access to forms. Please keep paper or electronic copies of your information. Do not use LHI to save your forms.

What else do I need to know?

  • Forms can change and be removed without notice.
  • Read the Terms of Use . Be sure that you understand them. They are subject to change without notice.

Can you please summarize the legal terms in plain English?

This is an overview of the terms governing your use of this web site. We remind you that you use this web site under the conditions specified in our Terms of Use; and our Privacy Policy. This guide is not a substitute for those documents, and you should read and understand both before using this Web site.

This Web Site is intended for use by low-income individuals and their not-for-profit advocates to obtain legal information.

  • Do not use this Web site to help someone else with their legal problems. In many places this is illegal if you're not a lawyer.
  • Do not use this Web site to break the law. We take measures to keep your information confidential, but we can be compelled in some circumstances to provide your information to law enforcement.


This Web Site is not a substitute for a lawyer.

  • This website cannot provide you with legal advice. Your choice of forms and answers are not being reviewed, and may be incorrect for your situation. Information provided on this site may not always be accurate or complete. If you have a legal problem, you should try to find a lawyer who will represent you. There is no substitute for a lawyer who can talk to you in person regarding your situation.

You use this Web Site at your own risk.

  • The law is constantly changing. We can't guarantee that the information on this Website is correct or up-to-date. As we update the Website, it's possible that the forms you're using may be taken away. Please plan ahead and keep paper and electronic copies of your information handy.
  • We try to keep your information confidential, but we can't guarantee that it will stay secret. For example, a court can make us share your information in certain circumstances. You can help keep your information confidential by keeping your password to yourself and not sharing it with other people.
  • Computers occasionally stop working. It's possible that this Website will stop working, so please plan ahead and keep paper and electronic copies of your information in case something happens. We don't presently have the resources to provide you with technical support as you use the Website.

Under no circumstances are we responsible or liable for what you do with the information from this web site.
 

How do I use this site?
 

Do I need to register?

You do not need to register to use the system as a self-helper or an advocate. You will still be able to fill out forms and print them. Registering allows you to save your answers and use them again later. (Template providers and organizational administrators must register and require pre-approval.)

Can I use the system anonymously?

Yes.

Do I need to provide any personal information to register?

You will need to provide your full name and an email address.

Will my email address be shared?

No. See our Privacy Policy.

Are my documents saved on the system?

No. If you create an account with LHI, we only save your answers, not your documents. Saving your answers will allow you to re-generate your documents.

Can I change the information in my documents?

If the documents are word processor documents (not PDF), you can edit them in any word processor such as Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect. You can also use WordPad that is installed with most versions of Windows. PDF documents cannot be edited. If you are a registered user, you can also re-run the template interview, change your answers, and re-generate your documents.

I see some blank lines in my document. What do they mean?

It probably means that you have not answered all questions in the interview. If you are an anonymous user, and still in the same session that you created the document in, click ‘Go Back to Answers’ to verify whether you have answered all the questions. If you are a registered user, re-run the template, loading your saved answers and check to make sure you answered all questions.

Can I delete my answer files?

Yes. You should delete your files once they are no longer needed. Login to the system and click on "Manage Answer Files". Then click on the Delete link next to the answer file you would like to delete.

How long are my answer files kept?

The length of time answer files are kept depends on the type of account you have. Answer files for anonymous users are not saved beyond when the user logs out or after 2 hours of inactivity also known as session expiration. Answer files for registered self-helpers are saved for six months since last use. Finally, answer files for registered advocates and court personnel are saved for 12 months since last use. If you are a registered user, you will receive a message sent to the email account you provided at registration before your answer files are deleted.

Who else can see my answers?

No other users can see your answers unless they have your user ID and password or you choose to share your answers with another person or email them the document from LHI. In rare circumstances, a court of law may compel us to share your information with a law enforcement agency or others. See Privacy Policy. If you are using a NY or Minnesota Court DV form and you e-file through LHI the Courts and its staff will see your answers.

Can I send you legal questions?

No. We can't respond to questions about your particular case or the appropriateness of any specific form to your circumstances.

I am not sure if my forms are appropriate. Is there someone I can call?

You should contact a lawyer in your state. You can consult www.lawhelp.org and select your state. You will be able to search for free legal resources and help in your area.

What can I do on my end to protect my information?

Choose a password that others, including potential adversaries such as spouses or former spouses, are unlikely to guess. Use both letters and numbers. Especially when accessing our site from a computer in a public location like a library or court, be sure to log out when done, close all browser windows, don't save files on the local hard drive, and don't leave printed documents behind. Be aware that evidence of your computer use can remain behind in history and cache files.
 

What if I have a problem with this site?
 

If you experience a problem with this site, please email lhi@probono.net and provide us with as many details as possible.

We’ve received reports of Internet Explorer (IE) Version 8 users getting a “problem getting data” error when trying to start an interview. If you see this error, please try to use another browser or update your version of Internet Explorer. Otherwise, please try the following setting changes and this should resolve the problem:

  • Go to Tools
  • select Internet options
  • select Advanced
  • Under Security, check the check box "Do not save encrypted pages to disk"; or
  • If the box is already checked, please un-check it.

What kind of computer and software do I need?

It is best to use our forms with a computer or laptop with Windows on it. We currently do not support tablet or smartphone use. Your laptop or computer should be running the following browsers and browser versions:

  • Chrome version 27 and later
  • Firefox version 21 and later
  • IE 8 and later
  • Safari version 7 and later (Please note, to use Safari for LHI interviews you need to change a setting in your preferences by taking the following steps: Open Safari> Choose “Preferences”, then select “Advanced”; next deselect Stop plug-ins to save power)

Your browser must accept cookies and not block pop ups.

In order to edit and print assembled word processor documents, you need to have Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, or some other program that can handle RTF or docx files. If you do not have Microsoft Word, you can download Microsoft Viewer for free to view, print, and copy Word documents created on LHI.

In order to view and print assembled PDF forms, you need to have a current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available as a free download from Adobe.

What local settings might I need or want to change?

You should make sure you’re not blocking any pop ups and your cookies are enabled. You also want to make sure you can open your rtf and docx files in Microsoft Word and your PDF forms in Adobe Reader. Different browsers and operating systems have different steps to identify how downloaded files will open. Please also note that using Notepad for RTF files leads to mis-formatted and unreadable documents.

In current Firefox, the programs that will open particular file types can be reviewed and changed in Tools| Options | Applications. See https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/set-how-firefox-handles-different-file-types for more information on updating Firefox file associations.

I forgot my password. What do I do?

Click on the “Forgot your password?” link on the login page. Enter your username and your password will be sent to the email address you registered with. If you don’t know your username, email lhi@probono.net from the email address you used to create your account to request your username.

Can I report an error message?

Yes. Use the contact form located in the footer of pages at www.lawhelpinteractive.org. Be very specific and say what the error and error message were. Please provide as many of the following details as you can:

  • the name and URL of the interview you were using
  • the steps you took before you got the error message
  • a screenshot of the error message, if possible
  • the browser and browser version you were using
     

Where can I find legal help?
 

Try Lawhelp.org. It contains listings of pro bono and legal services programs listed by geographic area along with relevant self-help information. You can also try www.findlegalhelp.org.


* This information is reproduced from the LawHelp Interactive website, with minor modifications related to the links in the original, and was accurate at the time it was reproduced. For the latest version of this information please visit www.lawhelpinteractive.org.