Small Claims

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

Filing a Small Claims Case

The Clerk's Office may assist you with filing a Small Claims case, and you can file at any of our three civil offices in DeLand, Daytona Beach, or New Smyrna Beach. Once your case is filed, the Clerk's Office will send a Pre-trial Summons/Notice to Appear to the defendant(s) named in your case. In order to do this, you must obtain the proper name and address of the individual, corporation, or fictitious name. The Clerk's Office will provide an information sheet for you to review that will provide instructions to help you prepare your claim form correctly. Also be prepared to furnish copies of anything that you attach to the claim as exhibits, such as photographs, invoices, etc.

Pre-Trial Procedures

A case number is assigned to the suit and a Pre-Trial Conference date is scheduled. The Clerk of the Court will prepare a Summons/Notice to Appear detailing the Pre-Trial date, time and location. Only the Plaintiff(s) and Defendant(s) are obligated to attend the Pre-Trial Conference. Do not bring witnesses. The purpose of the Conference is to encourage the parties to resolve their conflict and avoid a trial. They will be given an opportunity to meet with a mediator to see if they can come to an agreement. If the parties do not come to terms, a date is scheduled for everyone to return for a trial.

Pre-Trial Summons/Notice to Appear (For the Plantiff)

Pursuant to Florida Statute 30.231 the Volusia County Sheriff's Office will serve the Summons/Notice to Appear. There is a fee for such service, which is paid by the plaintiff or the party requesting the service of process. The plaintiff is required to furnish the Sheriff with the original process (Summons) signed and sealed by the Clerk along with sufficient copies of the originals to be served and left with each party to the suit.

Refer to the Sheriff's Civil Division in the contact info to the right for additional information regarding fees and services.

Pre-Trial Summons/Notice to Appear (For the Defendant)

If you are served with a Summons/Notice to Appear, you are being advised that you are named as a defendant in a lawsuit and the plaintiff in the suit is suing you. A copy of a Statement of Claim/Complaint providing the details of the suit is attached to the notice. You must appear at the Pre-Trial Conference scheduled. If you fail to appear, a Final Judgment may be entered against you without further notice or hearing.

Unable to Appear at Pre-Trial or Trial

If you are unable to appear, contact the plaintiff and attempt to reschedule the conference. If the plaintiff agrees to reschedule the pretrial, then he or she must notify the clerk in writing. You, too, should contact the Clerk's Office to verify that the conference (pre-trial) is, in fact, canceled or rescheduled. If the plaintiff does not agree to reschedule, then the defendant may ask the court for a continuance by filing a written motion. A mere motion does not guarantee that a continuance will be allowed. The defendant must stay informed of the case to know whether the Court granted the motion and to learn when his or appearance will be rescheduled. Under no circumstances should you just not appear, as the case will proceed without you. If an emergency arises that does not allow time for you to move for a continuance, then you must telephone the office of the Judge assigned to your case.

Trial

If your case is set for trial, be prepared and on time. Have documents, photographs and witnesses ready. Written estimates of repairs are usually not accepted as evidence without the person who wrote the estimate present to testify. If you have a witness who will not appear voluntarily, you may request the Clerk to prepare and issue a subpoena.

Subpoena

A subpoena is defined as a command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony regarding a certain matter. The testimony may be before the court or before a court reporter and, if requested, you may have to provide documents.

Upon request, the Clerk's Office will sign and seal a subpoena prepared by you, or they will prepare and then sign and seal a subpoena for you. You may view the associated fees online or contact the Civil Division for information.

Subpoenas must be served on the party and the local sheriff's department is the most commonly used method for getting this done, though not the only method. This also requires a fee, so contact the service department of the sheriff's office in the county where the subpoena will be served for more information. You may also refer to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure to learn about other methods for effecting service.

If you receive a subpoena, you may contact the plaintiff (person who had you served) or their attorney for additional information on the matter. Contact information is located within the subpoena. Under no circumstances should you ignore any subpoena as the court can hold you in contempt.

Can the Case Settle?

At any phase of the case, the parties may enter into an agreement. These are commonly known as stipulations or settlement agreements for payment. This agreement should be made in writing, signed by all parties and filed in the court file.

Filing the original stipulation in the court case establishes a payment schedule for settling your claim. If the defendant does not comply with the terms of the stipulation, the plaintiff may file an Affidavit of Default and a judgment may be entered against the defendant without hearing or further notice.

If the plaintiff refuses to honor the stipulation, the offended party may motion the court for relief. The original motion is filed in the court file, and the filing party must mail copies of the motion to all other parties involved. The Judge will determine the next course of action, which may be to reset the matter for trial or render a decision based on the information in the file.

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 forms and information are available online.

Available References

The following references are available at the local Law Library:

County Civil

Small Claims & Replevin Filing Fees
Claim Less than $100 55.00
$100.01 up to and including $500 80.00
$500.01 up to and including $2,500 175.00
Over $2,500.01 up to and including $5,000 300.00
Writs - Attachment, Replevin and Distress (in addition to filing fee) 85.00
Crossclaim, Counterclaim or Third Party Complaint over $2,500.01 to $15,000 295.00
Claims up to $1,000 filed simultaneously with an action for replevin of property subject to claim **includes Writ fee 130.00
Reopening claims of not more than $500 25.00
Reopening claims over $500.01 up to $15,000 50.00
Enforcement of Foreign Judgment (in addition to filing fee) 42.00
Summons issuance, per summons 10.00
Additional Charge for each Defendant over five 2.50
Garnishments 188.00
Mediation Fees, per person 60.00