Our Friendly Staff (Yes, Real People!) Look Forward to Helping You!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We The People
116 Wolf Rd Albany NY 12205
ARE 'WE THE PEOPLE' PERSONNEL ATTORNEYS?
No, we are not attorneys. We are generally considered what is referred to in the industry as Legal Document Assistants or Legal Document Preparers. The profession of Legal Document Assistant or Legal Document Preparer is not a licensed or recognized profession in New York State. However, in some states, like California and Colorado, being a Legal Document Assistant IS a licensed profession. We provide computerized documents at your direction using information supplied by you - you make all the decisions and you remain in charge throughout the entire process. We're just here to help with the paperwork. We are not able to give legal advice.
WHAT IF I NEED LEGAL ADVICE?
You can always consult with an attorney of your choice. We are not attorneys and are therefore barred from providing legal advice. We may be able to refer you to a competent local attorney that can answer your questions.
HOW CAN NON-ATTORNEYS LIKE 'WE THE PEOPLE NY' HELP ME WITH MY LEGAL ISSUE?
We the People's Legal Document Assistants prepare standard, computerized court forms at your direction, using information supplied by you. You have a Constitutional right to represent yourself in any legal matter, and our services are designed to help you effectively and inexpensively represent yourself. There is much misinformation and disinformation disseminated regarding your right to represent yourself in any legal action, and some of that misinformation is unfortunately perpetuated by attorneys and even public court system employees. Do not let anyone, including public court system personnel, discourage you from representing yourself in court if that is what you truly want to do. If you wish to do more research on the subject of representing yourself, you might start by Googling the terms "pro se", or use legal resources like the NOLO series of do-it-yourself books and publications.
IS WE THE PEOPLE LGBT FRIENDLY?
Absolutely! Not only do we stringently adhere to all New York State and Federal laws regarding equal accessibility of our services to any member of a protected class, but we believe all Americans deserve equal access to legal and court documents, including those involving marriage and divorce. We offer a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in our office for members of the LGBT community.
NEW YORK STATE DIVORCE FAQS:*
CAN WE THE PEOPLE HELP WITH A NO-FAULT DIVORCE?
On October 12, 2010, a new law took effect in New York State which added No-Fault Divorce grounds as an option for New York uncontested divorce filers to use. This would require at least one party to swear under oath that the marriage has irretrievably broken down for a period of six months or more.
I HIRED AN ONLINE COMPANY OUT OF NEW YORK STATE TO PREPARE MY DIVORCE DOCUMENTS, NOW THE COURT HAS REJECTED THEM. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Unfortunately there are many companies online that are preparing inadequate, outdated or flat out incorrect New York State divorce documents. If the documents themselves were deficient in some way, ask that the company fix any problems or ask for your money back from them, although that may be difficult if they are out of state. If you paid by credit card, contact your credit card company about the sale and whether they can facilitate a refund for you. Keep in mind the court generally will not refund any of your court fees. Then hire a local, in-state document preparation company like We the People NY to help you with your next filing. We the People NY adheres to all industry standards, and we meet all of the American Association of Legal Document Preparers guidelines for hiring a quality, reputable legal document preparation company.
THE NEW YORK STATE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM HAS AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE PACKET ON THEIR WEBSITE. WHY SHOULD I USE A LEGAL DOCUMENT PREPARER WHEN I CAN PROBABLY DO IT MYSELF?
The difference is just $499.00, as the court fees are the same for all filers. However, this will be your first time filing for an uncontested divorce in New York. Sure, you can spend all your vacation time from work studying up on how to file for uncontested divorce in New York State and running around to the court clerk's offices and the Notary Public, but do you want to? And if you make a paperwork mistake and your divorce is rejected by the court, you might have to start all over again and you may not be refunded your court filing fees of $335.00. $499.00 is a small price to pay for peace of mind knowing your divorce documents will typed using all the standard and up to date court forms.
WHAT DOES THE TERM "UNCONTESTED "MEAN? [Ask us about the One Signature Divorce]
The term "uncontested" generally refers to that fact that neither party in a court action is interested in fighting the other party and neither party chooses to hire an attorney. We the People can only assist in preparing standard documents for uncontested court matters. If, for example, your spouse has hired an attorney to file for divorce, We the People cannot help you. We recommend you seek a competent matrimonial attorney of your choice in that situation. If you are unsure as to whether you can successfully utilize the services of a computerized document preparation service, you should have a consultation with a matrimonial attorney first.
I AM A SPOUSE IN A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, AND MY SPOUSE AND I WANT TO GET DIVORCED. CAN 'WE THE PEOPLE' HELP US?
Yes, if you and your spouse can agree on all the important issues like marital assets/debts and minor children's issues, then we can assist you in preparing the documents for your uncontested divorce. We welcome members of the LGBT community. We offer a safe and accepting office atmosphere for our LGBT customers. In fact, We the People NY prepared the paperwork for the first pro se same-sex divorce in New York State!
I WANT TO GO BACK TO MY MAIDEN NAME AFTER MY DIVORCE. HOW DO I DO THAT?
Usually, that information is included as a standard clause in a New York State Judgment for divorce, so that the wife may resume using her maiden name or any other surname she was previously known as. Once your divorce is granted, the Certified Copy of your Judgment for Divorce can be used as proof at the Social Security Administration and at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles that you are allowed to use your maiden name again. We suggest you start by changing your name at the Social Security Administration and at New York State DMV, then once your ID is changed, you can change your information with your employer, your bank and other entities.
WHY ARE THERE FILING FEES FOR DIVORCE IN NEW YORK STATE?
Many people access the Family Court System in New York State prior to filing for divorce and are used to the fact that there are no filing fees in the New York State Family Court System. However, divorces are granted in New York State Supreme Court, which is a higher court than Family Court. New York State Supreme Court does set filing fees in uncontested divorces. In most counties, those court filing fees will total $335. The court systems in every state need to take in revenue in order to operate the courts properly and pay judges and court personnel. It is reasonable for the courts to ask those seeking to use the court's time and resources help pay for those costs. You must expect to incur filing fees if you are seeking to file for divorce in New York State.
I WANT TO GET DIVORCED, BUT I CANNOT FIND MY SPOUSE. CAN WE THE PEOPLE HELP ME? There is a way to obtain a divorce in New York State even if you are unable to find your spouse; however, that is not something we can assist with here at We the People. We suggest you contact a matrimonial attorney for additional information.
WHAT NEW YORK COUNTIES DO YOU SERVICE FOR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
Most of our divorce document preparation customers come from Albany County, NY; Rensselaer County, NY; Saratoga County, NY; Schenectady County, NY; Washington County, NY; Fulton County, NY; and Montgomery County, NY. However, New York State has a Unified Court System, which means the process and laws apply the same in all counties. We can additionally prepare paperwork for any New York State county, outside of Long Island and the Five Boroughs of New York City.
DOES WE THE PEOPLE HELP WITH CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY FILINGS?
No, we do not. The vast majority of people who file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy need the advice and guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. We can refer you to an excellent local bankruptcy attorney if you are interested in filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
I WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY. CAN YOU RECOMMEND SOME RESOURCES?
Yes, there are many reputable resources online and in the library to help you get all the information you need to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on your own and without an attorney. Online we suggest you check out legalconsumer.com for information on which district to file in and what bankruptcy exemptions are available to you. At the library or bookstore, we highly recommend books by Nolo Publishing, specifically their "How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy" book. You may also wish to check out some of the Bankruptcy Court websites around the country. Some are better than others and many have a resource section for those who choose to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy without an attorney. We now have information on Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filings available online, as well. Please click on the "About" tab at the top of this page, then click on "Resources" and scroll down the page. We will be adding additional publicly available Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing information to that page on a regular basis, so check back often!
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM ELIGIBLE TO FILE FOR CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY?
All Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filers must pass a "Means Test" to determine their eligibility to file for Chapter 7 based on their income, what state they reside in and the number of people in their household. We have the Means Test form available for you to download on our "Resources" page. The U.S. Trustee's Office maintains information on the State Median Family Income by Family Size chart. The figures are revised every six months. Currently, the U.S. Trustee's Office chart covers cases filed on or after November 1, 2014. Their website is www.justice.gov. If you are unsure as to whether you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on your income or other factors, you should seek the advice of a bankruptcy attorney.
I CANNOT AFFORD EVEN WE THE PEOPLE NY's BANKRUPTCY DOCUMENT PREPARATION FEES. IS THERE OTHER ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO ME?
You may be eligible for low-cost or free legal assistance from the Legal Aid Society in your area, so you should start there first. The United States Bankruptcy Court Clerk's Office for the Northern District of New York also has free downloadable Chapter 7 Bankruptcy forms available on their website if you want to do it yourself. And depending upon your financial situation, you may be eligible to have the Consumer Credit Counseling fees waived and/or the court filing fees waived or be allowed to pay your court filing fees in installments. You can contact the Northern District of New York Bankruptcy Court clerk's office at (518) 257-1661to find out more about their eligibility requirements for fee waivers.
WHERE SHOULD I STORE MY ORIGINAL WILL?
You should store your original will in a safe place, along with your other important papers. A good quality fireproof safe is an excellent way to store these documents, and they can be purchased relatively inexpensively. You should let your executor and alternate executor know where your original will and important papers are located, so they can access them and secure them quickly upon your death. It is generally not advisable for most people to store their original will in a safe deposit box at the bank. Your safe deposit box will be sealed by the bank upon your death, so your executor may not be able to access the box in a timely manner after your death.
I WANT TO MAKE CHANGES TO MY WILL. CAN I JUST WRITE THEM ON MY ORIGINAL WILL, THEN INITIAL AND DATE THE CHANGES?
It is never a good idea to write on or mark up your original will document. Crossing things out and re-writing the language on the original copy of your will could possibly invalidate the document. If you would like to make changes to your will, note the changes on a separate sheet of paper prior to having a new one prepared.
DO YOU HAVE A NOTARY PUBLIC?
Yes, whenever we are open we usually have a Notary Public on staff. If you are a We the People NY customer, all Notarization of you documents is included free of charge. If you are not currently a We the People NY customer, we charge $2.00 per Notary Public signature in cash only. You must sign the document in our presence and provide photo identification.
DOES 'WE THE PEOPLE' HANDLE CRIMINAL MATTERS?
No, we only handle uncontested civil matters. You should contact a reputable criminal defense attorney in your area.
HOW CAN I PAY THE FEES?
For our fees, we accept cash, check, and all credit and debit cards. The County Clerk’s Offices and Courts DO NOT accept credit or debit cards, so you must pay your court filing fees by check or money order only made payable directly to the appropriate Court or County Clerk.
I AM PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED AND I WOULD LIKE TO USE WE THE PEOPLE'S SERVICES. ARE YOU HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE?
Yes, our office and the plaza we are located in are fully handicapped accessible, with handicapped parking spaces right outside our door. We comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act in providing reasonable accommodations to all handicapped individuals. Please feel free to call our office or e-mail us if you need special help in accessing our services.
.HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO PREPARE MY DOCUMENTS?
The documents we prepare at We the People NY are computerized standard court forms, typed with information you provided and at your direction. All documents are then rigorously proofread to ensure you receive the highest quality documents available anywhere. Most of our documents are prepared and ready for you to sign within one week, depending upon the document.
*DISCLAIMER: We The People staff are not attorneys are are not able to give legal advice. The content on this page is considered widely available general legal information and is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for the advice of a competent attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.
** We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
CONTACT US TODAY. WE’RE HERE TO HELP.
Monday - Friday 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Saturday - 10AM -2PM
(During the months of July, August, November & December, we are typically closed on Saturday, therefore, during these months, give us a quick call to check if we are in)
In observance of the holiday season, we are always closed December 24th to January 2nd, so why wait? Click the "start button" on our home page & get started!