How do I find the things I need to participate in my court case?

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You may need some things to be able to participate in your court case. Having access to these things may make it more likely that outcome will be closer to what you want. This is true whether you have an attorney or if you are not represented. #9970EN

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These are all resources that are helpful in allowing you to participate in your court case and make it more likely that outcome will be closer to what you want. This is true whether you have an attorney or if you are not represented.


You may need identification if a document needs to be notarized (when another person checks to make sure you are who you say you are before you sign a document). Either a driver's license or state ID card will work. There is a fee for either, but if you are receiving public assistance, you may be eligible for an ID card at a reduced cost. Ask your DSHS caseworker to fill out form 16-029 "Request for Identicard."


If you live in Seattle, you can have your mail sent to you at the Compass Center Client Services Center at Compass Housing. If you live in a more rural community, you may be eligible for a post office box at no charge. If you have no other option, you may have your mail delivered "general delivery," but you will need to check the post office often.

Phone Service

You can get discounted phone service through the Lifeline program. You may be eligible if you are at or below 135% of the federal poverty guideline or if you receive SNAP, Apple Health or certain other federal benefits. You can apply the discount to either a landline or a cell phone.

Computer or tablet

If you want to purchase a computer or tablet, you can get up to $100 discount for a computer or tablet through the Affordable Connectivity Program (formerly the Emergency Broadband Benefit.) In the Seattle area, InterConnection offers free or low-cost computers or devices to people with low income. If you just need a computer for a hearing, many local nonprofits and libraries have devices you can borrow for a short period of time.


The Affordable Connectivity Program (formerly the Emergency Broadband Benefit) provides a discount of up to $30 a month for internet access. If you only need the internet every once in a while, many libraries check out "hot spots" that will give you temporary internet access for free.


If you have a smartphone, the cheapest and easiest way to scan a few sheets is with a free app. For bigger projects, your local public library or law library may have a copier that will allow bulk scanning for free.


Check with your local public library. Many offer free printing but the systems differ between libraries. If you need a standard court form, some courts offer blank copies of the forms, so you won't need to print it. If these two options are not available, inquire with a social service provider. Sometimes they are willing to print things for court, even if they wouldn't normally print things for you.

Child care

The courts in King County (Kent) and Spokane County have on-site childcare options, but you should check in ahead of time to make sure they have space. Daycare is not available at the other courthouses in Washington so you should try to arrange for childcare ahead of time. If you have to bring your school-aged child(ren) with you, make sure to call their school and excuse them, so you don't get a call later about their absence.


It is good to have a plan for how to get to court way ahead of time. Whether you are taking the bus, driving a car or getting a ride, you might want to make sure you have another option, in case something goes wrong. Usually courthouses have parking available, but there may be an extra cost or time limits.


Did you know that many courts have dress codes? You don't need to wear fancy clothing, but a judge might be more likely to listen to what you say if you follow the dress code. If you have a suit, that's great. If you don't, try to avoid sleeveless shirts, clothes with rips or stains, clothes with words or pictures that people could think are vulgar or offensive and flip-flops. The YWCA in some counties provides appropriate clothing for women who need to go to court.

Online Payments

There are some costs related to getting things done in your court case that may require an online payment. If you don't have a credit card, this can be challenging. One option is to purchase a prepaid debit card (usually available at grocery stores) for the amount you will need to make that payment.


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Última revisión y actualización: Sep 14, 2022
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