File your Plaintiff’s Claim

Once you finish filling out your form, you need to file it with the court and pay a filing fee of $30-$100. If you can’t afford the fee, you can ask the court to waive it.

How to file forms with the court

  • Take your forms to the court clerk

    Read this page to figure out where to take your forms to start your small claims case. At the courthouse, you’ll file the forms by giving the original and all the copies to the clerk. 

    The clerk will give you a case number, court date, and stamp the forms. The court will keep the original and return the copies to you. One is for you, the other(s) for the person/people, business, or agency you’re suing.

    Yes, you can file by mail. Mail the original and 2 copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. If you do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies. 

    Some courts allow online filing. You can find out if your court has online filing by visiting your court’s website. 
  • Pay a filing fee

    Pay a fee to the clerk when you file your forms. 

    • $30 if you're suing for up to $1,500
    • $50 if you're suing for over $1,500 and up to $5,000
    • $75 if you're suing for over $5,000 and up to $12,500

    If you've filed more than 12 small claims cases in the past 12 months, your fee is $100.

    If you can’t afford the fee, you can fill out forms to ask the clerk for a fee waiver. You qualify for a fee waiver if: 

    • You receive public benefits 

    • Your income is less than a set amount

    • You can’t afford the fee and meet your basic needs  

Start your small claims case

What's next

Once you’ve filed the form, the next step is to share the form with the person, business, or agency you’re suing. You need to follow a specific process to do this called serving papers.

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