How to create a legal form or letter
These guides will help you write forms or letters to solve legal problems in New York State. Some are forms for a court or government agency. Others are forms or letters for problems with people or businesses.
1. Click on a legal topic for the form or letter you need.
2. The links take you to another website for free, private, guided questions. Your answers fill the form or letter.
3. At the end of the questions, print the form or letter. Print or save the instructions on how to deliver the form or letter.
Dealing with a consumer debt case (Upstate)
This guide can help you write an Answer, Unfreeze Bank Account Letter, Improper Garnishment Letter, or Motion to Dismiss. (The link is to LawHelp Interactive)
Vacate a default judgment
This guide can help you tell a judge why you missed your court date or didn't answer a complaint. (The link is to nycourts.gov)
Write a letter to debt collector to report identity theft
Create a letter to send to a debt collection company for a debt from an identity theft (The link is to IdentityTheft.gov)
Write a letter to get a collector to stop contacting you
This government form will help you write a letter to get a debt collector to stop contacting you. (The link is to ConsumerFinance.gov)
You can use the Uncontested Divorce guide only if you both
- agree to a divorce
- agree about what will happen to all property, assets, and debts after the divorce
- are at least 18 years old
- have no children who are younger than 21
(Link is on LawHelpNY)
Custody/Visitation Enforcement Petition
You can use the Custody/Visitation Enforcement Petition if the custody or visitation order is not being followed. This free guide will help you fill out the petition to file in Family Court. (Link is to LawHelp Interactive)
Family Court Custody/Visitation Modification Petition
You can use the Custody/Visitation Modification Petition to change the custody/visitation order if there is a "change in circumstances." This free guide will help you fill out the petition to file in Family Court. (Link is to LawHelp Interactive)
Family Court Support Enforcement/Violation Petition
You can use the Support Enforcement/Violation Petition, if the support order is not being followed. This free guide will help you fill out the petition to file in Family Court.
You can use this guide and petition if:
- you already have a support order signed by a judge
- you are the one who receives the support payment
- no person on the support order gets public assistance
(Link is to LawHelp Interactive)
Surrogate's Court 17A Guardianship Petition
Surrogate's Court can make a parent or other relative the guardian of a person who is developmentally disabled, through an "Article 17-A Guardianship proceeding."
Article 17-A can make someone a guardian even after the person turns 18. The free guide fills out the forms to start the 17-A Guardianship proceeding. (Link is to nycourts.gov for more instructions. After that, the court website links to LawHelp Interactive)
Family Court Paternity Petition
Paternity means fatherhood. You can use this free guide to write a paternity petition. After you file the petition, there will be a hearing in Family Court to decide who is the child's biological father. (Link is to nycourts.gov for more instructions. After that, the court website links to LawHelp Interactive)
Name Change for Minors
This free guide helps you change your child's name in New York City. When you finish the guide, print the petition and file it at the court. The guide will tell you how to file it. You can use this guide and petition if:
- Your child is age 17 or younger.
- You are the child’s parent, and
- You both live in New York State.
(Link is to LawHelp Interactive)
Name Change for Adults (NYC)
Click here for the Court's free interactive computer guide to create an adult name change petition. (LawHelp Interactive)
Online Name Change (for adults living outside of NYC)
This guide will help you ask the NY State Supreme Court to change your name. You can use this guide if
- You are age 18 or older
- You are not in prison, on probation or on parole
Online Support Modification Program
A Support Modification Petition asks (or "petitions") the Family Court to change a support order, based on changed circumstances. This guide will help you fill out the petition to file in Family Court. (LawHelp Interactive)
Online Small Estate Affidavit Program
This interactive guide will help you fill out an Affidavit of Voluntary Administration. You can use this form ("affidavit") for dividing the property of someone who died with less than $30,000 in property. (LawHelp Interactive)
File Federal Tax Return
TaxACT to enable taxpayers to prepare and e-file their Federal tax returns completely free with a nominal fee of $14.99 to file the state return.
Foreclosure Answer Program
This free and confidential online program can help you create an Answer to the Summons and Complaint you received. Your Answer tells the court your defenses (or reasons) why the mortgage Lender must not win the case.
HP Action Case Forms to Get Housing Repairs and Stop Harassment (NYC)
This free and easy program will ask you questions and make court papers to start a case to bring your landlord to court to get housing repairs and stop harassment. You will get step by step instructions that will tell you what to do.
Small Property Owner Licensee Holdover Petition Program
This free and easy program will ask you questions and make papers for a residential licensee holdover petition or notice to quit to start a licensee holdover case in court. You will also get instructions that tell you what to do next.
Small Property Owner Squatter Holdover Petition Program
This program will help you make papers for a residential squatter holdover petition or notice to quit to start a squatter holdover case in court.
Tenant Vacate Default Judgment Program (Non-NYC)
This free and easy program will ask you questions and make papers that help you tell a judge why you missed your court date in a landlord-tenant nonpayment or holdover case.
When you finish the program, you can print an “Order to Show Cause,” and “Affidavit in Support” which you must give to the Court Clerk.
The papers ask the judge to let you come back to court to explain why the judgment against you should be cancelled (or "vacated"). You should only use this program if a judgment has been made against you.
Tenant Affidavit to Restore Case to Calendar Program
Use this form if you need to go back to housing court to ask the judge to do something more on your case such as
- Give you more time to do what you promised to do.
- Get the landlord to do what they promised to do.
- Resolve some other issue directly related to your housing case.
Before you start filling out this form, it is best to have the paper you signed. That way you can copy certain information the form asks you to provide.
If you cannot find your court papers, you just need to know who is suing who and the court will be able to find the case in their records.
For help with immigration issues, visit immi.org, an online tool that helps immigrants in the U.S. understand their legal options.
Cell Phone Service Contract Termination Letter - for All States
This packet helps the servicemember draft a sample letter to their cell phone service provider requesting termination or suspension of services due to deployment or PCS.
Collection Agency Stop Contact Letter - for All States
This packet helps individuals with military connections (IMC) draft a sample letter to a collection agency requesting stop contact and verification of the debt. The packet is based on the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
Letter from Commanding Officer - Stay of Proceedings for All States
A packet for active duty military members seeking to delay an action against them under the protections of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Letter to Landlord Ending the Lease Early
Self-Help Sample Letter Packet Providing Notice of Early Termination of Residential Lease.
Letter to Landlord (Eviction)
This packet helps the servicemember draft a sample letter to the landlord explaining the protections provided by the SCRA
Letter to Landlord - Security Deposit Return for All States
This packet helps the servicemember draft a sample letter to their landlord requesting the security deposit to be returned after an early termination of the lease under the SCRA.
Letter to Request 6% Interest Rate Cap on Loans
This packet helps the servicemember draft a sample letter to request 6% interest rate cap on loans
Letter to Request Lower Credit Card Interest Rate
Letter to adjust credit card interest rate.
Motion to Stay Proceedings for All States
Motion, letter from Servicemember, and sample letter from Commanding Officer requesting the court to stay the proceedings against the servicemember for 90 days. Protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Notice of Disagreement of VA Claim Denial for All States
This program will create a letter and instructions. This letter states that you disagree with the VA rating decision about your claim and that you want to appeal the decision to the Board of Veterans Appeals
USERRA - Letter Notification to Employer for All States
The program will create a letter and instructions. You can use this to notify your employer that you will be absent from work due to active duty service
USERRA Return Notification to Employer for All States
The program will create a letter and instructions. You can use this to notify your employer that you will be returning to work after your active duty service
Sample letters from the FTC
The Federal Trade Commission has sample letters that you can use to help solve issues coming up because of identity theft. You can use the sample letters on this page to write debt collectors, credit bureaus, dispute an account in your name and more.
Small Estate Affidavit Program
This program will help you file an Affidavit of Voluntary Administration, also known as the Small Estate Affidavit.
If the deceased did not have many assets, you can ask the court to let you divide their property to people who have a legal right to inherit.
Requesting a Fair Hearing
This program will help you ask for a Fair Hearing and start to get ready for your case.
After the Fair Hearing is decided
This section of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website explains your options after the fair hearing is decided.
Last Reviewed: June 8, 2021