If you are going through the Small Claims Court system, the steps are as follows:
- Contact the county clerk located nearest to the residence or business of the person you are suing
- Fill out a "Statement of Claim" form at the clerk's office, and pay the filing fee. The form generally lists the nature of your claim, the amount you are claiming, and any evidence you plan to submit. Pay the filing fee (up to $250).
- Send your "Statement of Claim" to the defendant.
- The person you are suing will then have 20 days to either send you the money you are owed, not respond, or file a counterclaim.
- In the case that a counter claim is filed, both you and the defendant may have to appear before the judge for a pretrial hearing to discuss next steps. The defendant may settle the claim, or the case may proceed to small claims court.
- If the case goes to court, then both you and the defendant will have the chance to present your sides of the story. Each will have to back their claim with evidence and answer the judge's questions satisfactorily.
- After both sides have spoken, the judge will issue a ruling. If they need more time to consider, they will tell you when to expect a decision.
- If you win the case, it is then your task to collect the money owed.