What to Expect

California Small Claims Court addresses civil cases quickly and inexpensively; a party can ask up to $10,000 in awards.
The Plaintiff (one who sues) will file the claim and will pay a filing fee of $75 if the claim is for more than $5,000 but less than or equal to $10,000. The Defendant (answering party) can be served by the clerk of the court (for an additional fee) or by a third party or process server.
  • A hearing will be set for both parties to appear and provide their side. There are no attorneys, no juries and no rules of evidence in small claims court, and you do not need to be a U.S. Citizen to file or defend your case.
  • If both parties appear at the hearing, the judge will either enter a ruling on the spot, or send it in the mail shortly thereafter.
  • If only one party appears, a default judgment may be entered against the party that does not appear at the hearing.
  • A losing Plaintiff will not be allowed to appeal the decision unless defendant has filed a Defendant’s claim in response to the claim; however, a losing defendant will be allowed to appeal the decision within 30 days of the mailing of the judgment.
  • An appeal, or a new trial will be in the civil division of superior court (not small claims) and each party will be allowed to have an attorney representing them.

Divorce N’ More Legal Document Preparation Services offer help with small claims. Visit our store in Santa Ana, CA, or call 714-209-8500 to make an appointment!