If the defendant is a person, the claim must be filed in the county where the individual lives. If the defendant is a corporation, the claim must be filed in the county where the registered agent has designated as its office with the Secretary of State. Contact the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State at 404-656-2817 to find out whether a business is a corporation and, if so, the name and address of its registered agent. You may wish to also search on the website of the Secretary of State at https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/BusinessSearch. If the defendant is an unincorporated business, the claim must be filed in the county where the business is physically located. When suing a business that operates as a partnership, the suit may be filed in the county which at least one of the business owners resides.
How Do I File a Claim?
The plaintiff must file a sworn statement with the clerk of the appropriate Magistrate Court, describing the charges made by the plaintiff against the defendant. This statement is called a statement of claim, or a claim. You can see the complaint form on this page below. The statement of claim should include the following:
- The complete name, address and phone number of the plaintiff (and his attorney, if he has one).
- The complete name and street address of the defendant.
- The damages, or the amount of money or property the plaintiff is seeking.
- A brief statement explaining why the defendant is being sued, including the date(s) of the underlying incident(s).
- Copies of any relevant documents, such as contracts, receipts and canceled checks.
You can file your case by filing a Statement of Claim with the Clerk of Magistrate Court. A free multi-page NCR Statement of Claim form is available at the Magistrate Court Clerk’s Office. The Court’s form will suffice in most cases and it makes processing more efficient and ensures that copies are available for service.
If you prefer to use your own document, please make sure to provide enough copies to the clerk for service. You have to provide facts on which your claim is based. You do not need to provide details of the evidence that you will present at the trial, but you have to provide enough information so that defendants reading it will be able to know what the case against them is about. If you have documents that support your case, e.g. a copy of a bill or a receipt, then you should attach copies of those documents to the Statement of Claim.
Additional Forms You May Need to Print and Complete:
- Civil Statement of Claim (front)
- Civil Statement of Claim (back)
- Civil Entry of Service
- Civil Answer
- Civil Request for Default on Consent
- Civil Request for Default Judgment
- Civil Dismissal
- Civil Satisfaction of Judgment
Where Do I File My Claim?
File your claim in the Civil Suits (Small Claims) division of the Magistrate Court at the location below:
DeKalb County Courthouse
556 N. McDonough Street, Room 230
Decatur, GA 30030
Hours of Operation:
8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m, Monday through Friday (except holidays)
At the time of filing, the plaintiff must pay a filing fee of $54.00, The fee to serve one defendant is $35.00. Service for additional defendants increases the cost by $35.00 for each added defendant. Payments are accepted in cash, by money order, cashier’s check or other certified funds. We do not accept personal checks, debit or credit cards. View our fees
Please remember that the Clerk of the Magistrate Court can help the plaintiff complete the necessary forms but cannot give any legal advice, such as whom to sue or whether or not the plaintiff will win.
You can find more helpful information about small claims court proceedings, on the Small Claims FAQ page.