Small Claims

Files and maintains records for civil claims up to $5,000 and provides general information preparing involved parties for Court proceeding.

Small Claims

Florida Small Claims Rules permit the Clerk to provide general information and assistance in preparing a statement of claim. Forms and information are available online.

NOTE: Florida law prohibits the Clerk from providing legal or financial advice.

Requirements To File A Small Claims Case

Jurisdiction is in the county where the defendant resides, where the contract was entered into, where the property to be recovered is located or where the action occurred. Non compliance with this requirement may result in a change of venue without refund of fees.

General Questions and Answers

Who Can File A Small Claims Case?

Any person(s) eighteen (18) years or older or any individual(s) doing business as a company may file a Small Claims case. A parent or guardian may file on behalf of a minor child. Each person who is a party to the claim must sign the paperwork.

What Is A Small Claims Case?

Small Claims court is less formal than other types of court and parties may represent themselves. However, if your case is complex, you may want to obtain legal counsel.

Do I need to be present for the Pre-Trial hearing?

Either you must be present in person or you must have attorney representation.

What options do I have if I cannot attend the Pre-Trial hearing?

Request the court to continue the pre-trial to a later date. Give the reasons you cannot attend in your request. The Judge will review.

  • If request to continue is from the Plaintiff, the court will either grant your request to continue or will dismiss your case if you do not appear.
  • If request to continue is from the Defendant, the court will either grant your request to continue or will enter a Judgment against you if you do not appear.

What will happen if I cannot attend the Pre-Trial hearing and I do not request a continuance or do not appear?

Request the court to continue the pre-trial to a later date. Give the reasons you cannot attend in your request. The Judge will review.

  • If the Plaintiff fails to appear, the case may be dismissed.
  • If the Defendant fails to appear, a Judgment may be entered for the amount due without further hearing.

What happens if the Judge dismisses my case?

If you are the Plaintiff, you may want to Motion the court to reopen your case. There is a reopen fee upon filing your Motion. Please see fee schedule for reopen fees.

Preparing to File a Small Claims Case

Complete and print the "Statement of Claim" form and complete for filing with the Clerk of Court. Review the Small Claims Information Page and Small Claims Filing Requirements for additional information. Current filing fees are provided in the Small Claims Schedule of Service Charges at Fees and Fines.

Full Names on Claims

In preparing your claim, be sure to state the full name of the person(s) involved;

  • Suits against an INDIVIDUAL, must contain the proper full name, any known alias and the full address of the person being sued. The same applies for the spouse if they are to be included in the suit.
  • Suits against a CORPORATION, must include the correct name and state in which it is incorporated. The suit must also contain the name and address of the officer/registered agent of the corporation authorized to accept service.
  • Suits against a PARTNERSHIP, must include the name and address of all partners

Fictitious Names

Many individuals, corporations and partnerships do business under a fictitious name. Suits CANNOT be filed against a fictitious name. The filer bears the burden to investigate to determine if the fictitious name is owned by an individual, corporation or partnership. Fictitious names are registered in Tallahassee. Information regarding corporation, partnership and fictitious names and their status may be obtained by writing or calling the Secretary of State – Corporation Division.

**You may also attempt to secure information from the defendant's occupational license in the City or County where the principal place of business is located.

**Conversely, if you are doing business under a fictitious name, you must also be registered before you can maintain a suit in any court in the state.

What Happens After I File My Small Claims Case?

There is a $10.00 charge for a pre-trial Summons or Notice to appear that will issue to each defendant named in the suit. This document will specify the date, time and location for a pre-trial hearing on this claim.

At the pre-trial, mediation is usually ordered if both parties to the dispute are present and unable to settle their dispute. A mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. Mediation is an informal and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement.

If the dispute is not settled at the pre-trial, a trial date will be scheduled for your case to be heard. You must appear at the trial with all witnesses and documentation of your claim.

Enforcing Your Money Judgment

There are numerous methods by which to enforce a money judgment. One way is to file a Judgment Lien by purchasing a certified copy of the Judgment and having it recorded in the Official Records. A recorded certified copy of a Judgment establishes a lien on any real property owned by the defendant in this county.

How Can I Collect My Judgment?

The court does not collect money damages for you. You may wish to consult with an attorney for advice. For additional information, you must consult with an attorney.

Judgment

The Clerk of the Court cannot collect a judgment or give legal advice, however, the following information may help:

  • Request the Court to enter an Order directing the judgment debtor to complete a Fact Information Sheet which may assist in identifying assets of the debtor.
  • Purchase a certified copy of the Final Judgment and record that certified copy in the Official Records in any Florida county where the defendant owns real property. This will potentially create a Lien on the property.
  • 10 Days after the Judgment is entered, request a Writ of Execution. A Writ of Execution authorizes a sheriff to levy on property belonging to the defendant. The judgment holder must be able to locate and describe any property owned by the defendant, real or personal, in order for the Writ of Execution to be enforced.

Note: Pursuant to changes made in F.S. 55 and F.S. 56, effective October 1, 2001, a Judgment Lien Certificate must accompany the Writ of Execution upon delivery to the sheriff's department. For more information contact the Department of State, Div. of Corp., Judgment Liens. You may also contact the local Sheriff's Enforceable Writ Department.

There are other procedures available for obtaining information to help in the collection of a judgment, however, the Clerk's office is unable to assist you any further. If you do not have an attorney, you may refer to the contact Info for a Lawyers Referral Service.

Satisfaction of Judgment

All judgments for the payment of money rendered in the State of Florida may be satisfied at any time prior to the levy of execution issued by payment of the full amount of the judgment, including interest. The defendant may pay the full amount of judgment and interest, from the date of entry of the judgment, directly to the plaintiff. The plaintiff, or attorney of record, shall execute in writing an instrument acknowledging satisfaction of the judgment. It shall be acknowledged and recorded in the Official Records Book in the proper county.

Within 60 days of receiving full payment of the judgment, the person required to acknowledge satisfaction of the judgment shall send the recorded satisfaction to the person who made the full payment.

When the debtor is unable to locate the judgment holder, he or she may apply to the Clerk of the Court to satisfy the judgment. Upon full payment of the judgment, interest from the date of the judgment and other costs described in Chapter 55 of the Florida Statutes, the Clerk of Court will issue and record a Satisfaction of Judgment in the Official Records Book. The Clerk will then attempt to notify the lien holder of the satisfaction so they may collect their funds.

Small Claims Instructions For Attorneys or ePortal Filers

Proposed Orders must be submitted by mail or in person with copies and addressed envelopes with sufficient postage for mailing to parties. The ONLY EXCEPTION is Orders appointing Process Server as those may be submitted through the eportal.

Summons cost $10.00 per summons to issue. Requests and payment may be submitted via the eportal, mail or in person but will not issue without payment. Requests submitted by mail or in person must be received with a return envelope that is properly addressed with adequate postage. All summons requests received through the eportal will be mailed to the filer unless other instructions are provided.

Small Claims Instructions For Pro Se Filers

Summons issuance for cases filed in person or mail delivery are to be returned to the filer. A summons will not issue without payment of fees and an addressed stamped envelope for the return of your summons.

NOTE When requested, the Clerk will assist with sending the summons to the Sheriff of Volusia County. For information on this process, please refer to Small Claims Filing Requirements.