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Small Claims File at Home

There are many ways to file the paperwork to start a Small Claims case in Santa Cruz County. One of the ways is to use the Guide & File program. To get started the Guide & File program asks you a series of questions about your situation. The program uses your answers to prepare the form needed to file in Small Claims Court.

Before you complete the Guide & File program make sure you do not have any questions about your situation or the Small Claims process. Some of the most commonly asked questions:

  • Where do I file my paperwork? (Is this the right county?)
  • How do I name a business?
  • How do I sue a corporation?
  • Who is the agent for service of process for a corporation?

We strongly suggest that you contact the Small Claims Advisor Program BEFORE you submit your paperwork. Call (831) 786-7370 and leave a message for a return call.

Once you have completed your paperwork you have the option of submitting your completed form via e-file or to print your completed form to bring to the Watsonville Courthouse to file.

When you submit your forms by e-file you will need to pay the court filing fee (and the applicable e-file service fee) or complete and submit the fee waiver application and order forms. You may pay your filing fee and e-filing service fee by credit card or echeck. There is an additional service fee for paying by credit card or echeck.

If you decide to print your forms for filing, we encourage you to bring them to the Self Help Center before you file so we can review them first.

IMPORTANT: E-filing your forms means that you will need to check to make sure your forms were accepted for filing. Once your filing is accepted you will receive an email with a link to download a file-stamped copy of your document to have served on the party you are suing. If you do not receive an acceptance email within a few days, you should log into your account to check for acceptance. The completed proof of service (after the forms have been served) will need to be filed with the Court.

Small Claims   Returning User

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