Q. Can I talk to the Judge about a case?
A. No. The Judge must remain independent, impartial and unbiased to both sides to a dispute throughout all phases of the case. The Judge may not speak with one side without the other side being present. Neither he, nor the Court staff, is permitted to give legal advice.
Q. How do I get a public defender?
A. You must request a public defender at your initial hearing or in writing. A written request may be hand written and should set out financial information that establish an inability to hire an attorney.
Q. How long do I have to wait before I can be divorced?
A. You must wait at least 60 days from the date the case is filed. Unless the parties file a written agreement, waiver of rights and decree of dissolution, they will need to request a hearing date to be held after 60 days.
Q. When will my bond money be returned?
A. After a person posts bond in a criminal matter, the bond will be released minus certain Court cost and fees. The remaining bond monies will be released to the person who posted the bond approximately two weeks after a defendant is sentenced or the case is dismissed.
Q. Do I have to hire an attorney?
A. Any person may represent himself or herself in a court without a lawyer. However, this does not make the judge or the court's staff your lawyer. You must perform just like a lawyer would perform in gathering evidence and other pertinent information. Neither the Judge nor the court's staff can assist you in preparing or presenting your case. The laws and the rules of evidence remain the same whether you are represented by a lawyer or you represent yourself.
The self-help website address is: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/selfservice/forms.html
If you cannot afford an attorney, you may contact the following places to apply for free legal assistance: Legal Aid, P. O. Box 766, Columbus IN 47202; Telephone No. 1-877-378-0358.
Q. How do I get a continuance of a court date if I don't have an attorney?
A. You need to request the continuance in writing prior to the court date and provide a copy of that request to the all parties in the case. Clearly explain your reasons for the request. Your current address and a phone number should be provided to the Court. You should then contact the Court to see if the continuance has been granted.