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Frequently Asked Questions
INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE REPRESENTING THEMSELVES IN LEGAL MATTERS (Pro Se)
Pro Se (pronounced Pro Say) is a Latin term meaning "on behalf of one’s self." The phrase refers to a person, who is not a lawyer but chooses to represent him/herself in court. Should you choose to represent yourself, you must research the legal rules that apply to your case. Self-represented litigants are held to the same standards as attorneys admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Representing yourself does not exempt you from understanding and following statewide and local Rules of Court. The Local Rules of Court are available at: Butler County Local Court Rules | Butler County, PA (butlercountypa.gov)
Can your office help me with legal advice?
No, the staff in the Prothonotary's Office are not attorneys. No staff member in the Law Library or Prothonotary's Office is permitted to give legal advice, tell you which forms you should file or helpyou fill out/complete the forms. We suggest consulting an attorney. There is a link on our home page to an attorney referral list, or you may contact the Butler County Bar Association at: Lawyers – Butler County Bar Association (butlercountypabar.org). If you have financial constraints, please contact Neighborhood Legal Services at: Neighborhood Legal Services > Neighborhood Legal Services (nlsa.us). If you choose to represent yourself, information is available at the Law Library located on the Third Floor of the Government Center.
The Prothonotary's Office Staff can:
- Provide you with fees, forms and instructions that have been approved by the Court.
- Answer basic questions about court deadlines and how they are determined.
- Provide you with information from your case filing.
The Prothonotary's Office Staff cannot:
- Tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
- Tell you what words to use in your filings or what to say in court.
- Interpret court documents or fill out court documents for you.
How do I obtain a certified copy of my Divorce Decree?
A certified copy of your Divorce Decree can be obtained in the Prothonotary's Office either by calling our office, personally coming into the Prothonotary’s Office or requesting by mail. If you are coming in, please call ahead so that we have the documents prepared for you to pick up. Certified Copies are $8.00. Payment options are cash, credit card, certified check or money order. Certified checks or money orders should be made payable to Butler County Prothonotary. Credit card payments can also be made online at www.AllPaid.com. There is an AllPaid link on our home page. You will need your case number to pay on AllPaid. Our pay location code is a003tp, or you can search for Butler County Prothonotary. When you enter the case number, you will, then, choose Family Court as the type of case. If paying by credit card online, the fee is $8.60 to include postage. Also, please make sure the address you enter at Allpaid is the address, where you would like to have the documents mailed.
All requests for Divorce Decrees must be accompanied by the following:
1. The case number assigned to the Divorce action. If the case number is not known and the divorce was granted after the year 2000, please access our docket management online access and look up your case number. There is no charge for access to the public. All case information is available at: CountySuite Courts (butler.pa.us)
2. If the case number is not known and was granted before the year 2000, please provide the names of husband and wife (married last name) and approximate year of when the divorce action was filed.
3. If request is made by mail, send request to: Butler County Prothonotary, P.O. Box 1208, Butler, PA 16003 and include a self-addressed stamped envelope and payment of $8.00 by certified check or money order made payable to Butler County Prothonotary.
Do I obtain a marriage license in your office?
No, you must contact the Register of Wills. If you have been divorced, you must have a certified copy of your divorce decree, which can be obtained in the county, where you were divorced.
Can I obtain copies of birth or death certificates from the Prothonotary's Office?
No. For information about birth or death certificates, please contact the Pennsylvania Vital Records (pa.gov) .
How do I change my address that is listed on the docket?
Address changes must be made in writing to our office. The information update form is available on our forms page.
How do I file for Divorce?
A Divorce Complaint packet is located on our forms page and also, at www.pacourts.us/learn/representing-yourself/divorce-proceedings. There are also paper copies available in the Butler County Law Library located on the 3rd floor of the Government Center. Once you have completed the Divorce Complaint, you will need to make two copies of the completed document and bring the original and two copies to our office to be time-stamped. We can make photocopies at a charge of 50 cents per page. You must then serve the Defendant with one of the copies and retain the other copy for your own records. The filing fee must be paid when a Divorce Complaint is filed. Divorce documents are completed in a time-sensitive, sequential manner. Pay strict attention to this as the process moves forward.
Can I file a pleading by faxing or emailing it to the office?
No, we do not accept any electronic filings at this time.
Does the Prothonotary's Office conduct title searches?
Title and credit searches can involve the examining of many records. It's a complex process that investigates ownership, mechanics liens, tax liens, and judgments, to name a few. Our office will answer specific questions concerning a specific person and time. Due to time, manpower and legal constraints, we are unable to conduct in-depth research of all records in our database. For extensive research, we recommend that you employ the services of a title company.
Are docket entries available online?
Yes, all cases (excluding PFAs and Family Court pleadings) are available to access free of charge to the public at: CountySuite Courts (butler.pa.us) PFAs and Family Court pleadings may be viewed in our office lobby public computers. There is also a public computer available in the Law Library located on the Third Floor of the Government Center.