Court approved forms are available for some issues, but not all. You may need a lawyer to draft some forms, or locate them through local office products retailers or web publishers. While you may file a case without the assistance of an attorney, you may risk losing some rights, depending on your circumstances. If you need assistance locating an attorney, many options are available. More information is available in the Legal Help section of this site.
Before you file a form with the court, check the legal requirements for notice (or service) to the other party. In most cases, the other party will have to be legally served with the papers before the court will take any action on your case.
Initial paperwork to start a case should be filed on the first floor of the courthouse at the Accounting window. After that, papers filed that don't involve a filing fee may be filed at the Accounting or Information window, or may be sent to the court's mailing address:
Marion County Circuit Court
P.O. Box 12869
Salem, Oregon 97309
Parties filing pro se (without an attorney) are required to file a certificate of document preparation with any document filed with the court in accordance with UTCR 2.010(7). Some court forms already include the certificate.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), Pub. L. No. 108-109 (2003) provides for the temporary suspension of civil proceedings for persons in active military duty and activated reservists. To comply with SCRA, the party requesting a judgment must submit a sworn affidavit stating whether or not the other party is in the military service before the court may enter a judgment against a person who has not appeared in a civil proceeding.
If the party requesting judgment does not have knowledge about the military status of the other party, reasonable efforts should be made to make this determination. If you have the other party's social security number, you may request a search through the United States Department of Defense. Whatever efforts you make to determine the other party's status should be documented in your sworn affidavit.