File it Yourself

Can you file it yourself?

Yes (most of the time)!

If you are an adult individual filing a civil suit, you can virtually always file it yourself. If you are doing a civil suit on behalf of your business, you can only represent your business at the Small Claims level. Beyond that, you will almost definitely need representation. 

If your case is amicable, like some cases can be with custody, child support, divorce, equitable distribution, alimony or post separation support, adoption, or guardianship, you can file in a way that saves both time and money. 

How should you file?

How and what you file will depend on your case. Most documents you file will need to have the appropriate heading. This file is the Word (.doc) version of a sample heading you can use for civil cases. 

You will need to fill in the County you are filing in (based on where the parties live), the division of court (Small Claims, District*, Superior), the Plaintiff’s name (who filed first), and the Defendant’s name (the other person in the action that was served or will be served with papers). You do not need to do a file number if this is the first document, since you’ll be assigned a file number. Once a file number has been assigned, use the entire file number. In the Pilot Counties that have started eFile (Wake, Harnett, Johnston, Lee), there is a three digit code at the end of the file number to specify which county the document was filed in. 

Many filings require a fee to file. Initial filings have a cost ranging from $120-225. Motions usually have a fee of $10-20. Some papers have to be “served” meaning they are delivered to the individual and a paper is signed proving that, which can range anywhere from $15-30 per attempt. 

Types of Filings

Click the links below for information on the following filing information and checklists:

  • Divorce
  • Child Custody