Trial Date & Service of Papers to Defendant

The trial date is scheduled approximately six weeks from the date the claim is filed. The claim with notice of the trial date must be promptly served before the trial. Proper service is accomplished by:

Personally handing the Small Claims affidavit to the defendant

A deputy sheriff or process server is qualified to make proper service. The deputy or server sends a bill to the plaintiff when the defendant is served the papers. Pay the deputy or server with a check or money order by mailing to the address on the bill.

If the address for the defendant is incorrect, the deputy or server charges $10 for an incorrect address fee. A legally competent adult, who is not involved in the case, or not an officer of a corporation filing the claim, may also serve papers to the defendant.

Mailing by certified mail, return receipt requested

(See the fee schedule.) By law, the court sends the certified mail and the plaintiff pays for mailing fee at the time of filing. If the certified mail is not signed by the defendant, the Post Office returns the unclaimed mail to the court. The plaintiff may file an amended Affidavit and Claim (no filing fee required) and request service by a deputy. The certified mail fee may not be included as costs with the judgment if the mail is returned unclaimed.

Proof of proper filing

The claim cannot be heard at trial unless there is proof of proper service filed with the court before the trial date.