Small Claims Information

Small Claims

The resources listed below assist individuals who are are looking for information on how to file or defend against a small claim.  For civil claims that do not exceed $3,500, small claims court can be used by any association, individual, partnership, or corporation.  If an agreement cannot be reached outside of court, a complaint may be filed. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a small claims division?

Civil disputes, that do not exceed $3,500, can be heard in the small claims division if Arizona justice courts.  Small claims court tends to be a simpler, less expensive, and a faster process.  Cases are heard by a judge or court official. 

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Serving a Defendant in a Small Claims Case

The summons and complaint must be served on each named defendant. This is called "service of process".

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Filing a Counterclaim to a Small Claim

A Counterclaim is a statement by the defendant, not necessarily opposing the claim by the plaintiff but, alleging other facts to establish a claim by the defendant against the plaintiff.

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 Considerations Before Filing a Small Claim

Small claims court can be used by any individual, partnership, association, or corporation as long as the claim does not exceed $3,500.  Either person may object to the proceeding being in small claims; the case would then be transferred to civil court and the objector would be assessed the transfer fee.

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Answering a Small Claims Complaint

After receiving the summons and complaint, the defendant has 20 days to file an Answer with the court.

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Change of Venue Request

If the complaint has been filed in the wrong precinct, the defendant can file a Motion for Change of Venue.

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Consequences to Not Answering a Claim

If the defendant does not file an answer to a complaint, or if the plaintiff does not file an answer to a counterclaim, within 20 days after service is complete, an Application for Entry of Default may be filed with the court.

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Statutes of Limitation

Time limits in civil actions begin from the date the events that created the legal action occurred.  These apply to small claims and civil suits.  This list is a general guide of the statutes of limitation in Arizona.

When to File a Small Claim

People should try to settle their disputes and disagreements out of court whenever possible. If an agreement cannot be reached, a small claims complaint may be filed.

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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