If you are in a non-ending conflict with someone regarding financial matters and it only involves a small amount, you can choose to settle it in court as long as you are 18 years old or older. What you will need to know to get this done is by filing small claims lawsuits. However, you must still make sure that you are ready to do so. If you really are resolved on collecting your money this way, then read the basic instructions below to serve as your guide.
- Explore other options. You must know that legal matters and cases can cause tension between two parties. Make sure that before doing so, you have tried other options in settling your conflicts.
- Contact your County Court’s clerk. The small claims lawsuit must be filed in the county where the defendant dwells, where the conflict, dispute, or the property in question resides, or where a certain payment has been received.
- File your “Statement of Claim” Form. This form will contain the necessary information regarding the lawsuit that you are filing. Fill-out what is asked, including the amount of money (in dollars) in conflict, the name and residential address of the defendant, and proofs that you will be using as evidence such as promissory notes, receipts, and sales contracts.
- Pay the fee. The fee that you would have to pay would depend on the amount of money or monetary value of the subject in the dispute.
- Notify. In any legal case, the defendant must be notified of an involvement in a lawsuit. Through a “Service of Process,” a summons and the Statement of Claim will be sent to that particular defendant. The only process for this is to have the Office of the County Sheriff deliver the suit papers directly to the address of the defendant personally or through registered mail. Whichever way it is, there will be a fee to be paid.
- Wait for your pretrial date. You will be notified of your pretrial time and date. During this pretrial, your issues shall be the center of discussion and it is from this that the next courses of action will be identified and determined.
- Attend your pretrial. During the pretrial, the defendant will be presented with another opportunity to pay you back the amount in dispute. The judge might just also order mediation between the two parties. In this mediation, both parties will use court mediators to settle their dispute.
You must also remember to check out the procedure of the state you are filing in for they may differ with other states. If you are already sure of filing, see to it that you have all the evidence that will prove your own case. Of course, it is still best if you try to settle your dispute personally and outside the court. But if it does not work, then seek legal advice. Remember that these are just guidelines to give you an idea of the filing process, but not in any way are they legal advices. For professional advice, it is best that you have a talk with an attorney.