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Legal Matters

The Self Help Center provides information about civil claims in Franklin County Municipal Court. If you are unsure whether your legal issue is a Municipal Court issue, read the Center’s Municipal Court Overview or visit the Municipal Court Clerk's website  .


If you have a criminal record, you may be eligible to have your record sealed. Record sealing is sometimes referred to as "expungement."


What Can be Sealed?
Sealing and Expunging Convictions  - Filing Fee: $50 - If you cannot pay the fee, you may be able to ask for relief from the Court, ask us how!
Sealing Dismissals  - $0 fee
Record Sealing Checklist  


Municipal Court Cases
Municipal Court Sealing of Records and Expungement Application  
Applications are filed with the Municipal Court Clerk. View Filing Instructions   


Common Pleas Court Cases
To apply to have a Franklin County Common Pleas Court conviction sealed, you must file the Common Pleas Sealing Convictions Form  
To apply to have a conviction expunged, you must file the Expungement Application for Convictions Form  
To apply to have a dismissed felony case sealed, you must file the Common Pleas Sealing Dismissals form  

If you need help or have questions about enforcing a judgment or if a judgment is being enforced against you and you plan to represent yourself, please visit us.

If you received paperwork about a lawsuit and need to file an answer, use the Debt Collection Answer Assistance Tool  or visit the Self Help Center located on the 16th Floor of the Court for assistance!

The Franklin County Law Library has more information about Creditor or Debtor issues, such as wage and non-wage garnishment.


Contact an attorney for assistance
Columbus Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service  
Columbus Find A Lawyer  
Legal Aid Society Columbus  

Motion for Extension of Time to Answer  

The Self Help Center can provide helpful information to both Landlords and Tenants about Escrow and Evictions. Landlords and Tenants may both choose to seek legal assistance.




Escrow is a legal process available to residential Tenants when Landlords do not make requested repairs to the residential property. The Tenant deposits the monthly rent with the Court. The Landlord then files for release of the funds, usually once the repairs are completed.
Guide to Rent Escrow  
Clerk of Court’s Rent Escrow Information  


Eviction is a legal process in which a landlord removes a tenant from a rental property for breach of a rental agreement. A tenant who the eviction is filed against is referred to as the “Defendant”.

Eviction Prevention Resources  
Rights / Duties of Tenants in Franklin County  
Law Library Landlord Resources  
Landlord Eviction Guide   
Learn More about Eviction Court  



Eviction Continuance Information   
Eviction Answer   
Eviction Answer with Counterclaim   
Notice to Leave Premises   
Eviction Complaint – 1 Count   
Eviction Complaint – 2 Count   
Agreed Entry Affidavit   

More information is available by visiting the Legal Aid Society of Columbus  or Environmental Court  

The Self Help Center can answer questions and provide assistance with General Division cases. General Division cases are for Plaintiffs (persons or businesses requesting relief) who have a claim for money damages up to $15,000 for cases that include personal injury, property damage, contracts, notes, accounts, and other civil matters.

Claims greater than $15,000 must be filed in the Court of Common Pleas. For more information on filing a claim, visit the Franklin County Clerk of Court. Individuals or partnerships may represent themselves in court. Due to the complexity of some General Division cases, you may choose to seek legal assistance. Corporations, limited liability companies, and some other business entities must be represented by an attorney.

If you received paperwork about a lawsuit and need to file an answer, use the Debt Collection Answer Assistance Tool  or visit the Self Help Center located on the 16th Floor of the Court for assistance!


Resources for self-represented parties:
Columbus Legal Aid   
A Guide to Legal Research  
Glossary of Legal Terms   
Representing Yourself in Court, A Citizen’s Guide  
Courtroom Do’s and Dont's  

The Self Help Center assists persons requesting relief through Small Claims Court. Small Claims Court is available to Plaintiffs who have a claim for money damages for $6,000 or less.

Plaintiffs cannot ask for the return of property or completion of services within a small claims complaint. For claims involving the return of property, completion of services, or damages that exceed $6,000, please see the General Division section of this website.

Visit Small Claims  

Can't find what you need here? We have created a list of helpful links to help with that. External Resources  

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Court Basics