Small Claims Division
Important Notice: All attorneys and pro se filers of 10 cases or more annually must file electronically. Some of the following instructions may not apply.
Small claims court matters shall consist of and be governed by Section 799 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The dollar limit amount for a small claims money action to be filed is $10,000.00 or under. The dollar amount limit for small claims Third-party, Personal Injury claims, and Tort claims are $5,000.00 or under. If filing an eviction action, the 5-Day Notice to Vacate must be attached to the Summons & Complaint.
Plaintiff: Party commencing the action.
Defendant: Party the action is against.
Where to File
The county in which the defendant currently lives or county where the claim arose. This can be done electronically on wicourts.gov or with the Clerk of Courts Office.
If you would like a copy returned to you with the case number and court date listed, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.
Also, the Wisconsin Court System website offers self-help assistance on filing a small claims case.
- Basic Guide to Wisconsin Small Claims Actions (form #SC-6000V)
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Case for Eviction (form #SC-6010V)
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Case for Recovery of Money (form #SC-6020V)
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Case for Replevin (Recovery of Property) (form #SC-6030V)
Forms Needed to file a Small Claims Case
All summons and complaint forms must be printed or typed, not handwritten.
ALL eviction and replevin actions must be personally served.
- Calumet County Residents: Small claim summons and complaints for money judgements can be served by regular mail, Sheriff service or private service for Calumet County residents.
- Out-of-County Residents: Personal Service IS REQUIRED for all out of county defendants. The affidavit of service from the Sheriff’s Office, or from a private process server of your choice, must be filed at the Clerk of Court office before the action will be taken up in Court. The Sheriff or private service is REQUIRED in garnishment cases IF either the defendant’s or garnishee defendant’s address is outside of Calumet County.
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps to Small Claims Service (form #SC-6050V)
Small Claims Filing Fees
- $94.50 filing fee
- $ 2.00 mailing fee per defendant (unless outside of the county)
- These pre-judgment fees will be added to your judgment by the Court. DO NOT include them in the amount you are seeking to receive.
- These fees are payable to Clerk of Courts; Sheriff Service fees are payable to the Sheriff Office of the county where the defendant is located.
Cross Complaints and Counterclaims
Must be filed prior to the initial Return Date. If the total amount requested exceeds $10,000.00 the matter must be transferred to a civil case and the applicable fees paid.
- Pre-Judgment: Basic Steps for Filing an Answer to a Small Claims Complaint (form #SC-6040V)
Referred to as Return Dates, initial appearances are usually held on Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. Parties are not required to appear on return dates for money judgments. Attorneys for plaintiffs may appear by letter.
Defendants must have their Statement of Defense, listing the reasons for disputing the claim, filed with the Clerk of Court’s office prior to the Return Date if wishing to contest the matter. Defendants who do not have their statement of defense filed prior to the return date will have default judgment taken against them. Telephone answers are not acceptable.
If a Statement of Defenses is filed, or if the defendant appears in court and contests the action, a Pre-Trial Date will be set by the court. Non-electronic parties will be notified by mail of the Pre-Trial Date. Both the plaintiff and the defendant must appear for the Pre-Trial Conference. The Pre-Trial proceedings will be informal and will be held with the Court Commissioner in Courtroom #115. No witnesses will be allowed at the Pre-Trial. Failure to appear could result in the case being dismissed or having judgment rendered against you.
If either the plaintiff or the defendant disagrees with the Pre-Trial results, a Court Trial will be scheduled. This proceeding will be formal, in the Courtroom, with the Judge’s word binding. Any form of video or jump drive will be marked as an Exhibit and kept by the Court. A copy of any exhibits needs to be provided to ALL parties in the case, including the Court.
A Small Claims judgment remains in effect for 20 years. The Court does not collect on your judgment.
The judgment debtor (defendant) shall complete a Financial Disclosure Statement (form #SC-506) and mail it to the judgment creditor (plaintiff) or pay the judgment creditor in full, within 15 days of entry of the judgment or, under penalty of contempt. The Notice of Entry of Judgment and Financial Disclosure Statement will be mailed to all non-electronic parties by the Court.
All summons and complaint forms must be printed or typed, not handwritten.
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps in Collecting on a Judgment for Money (form #SC-6090V)
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps in Collecting on a Judgment for Replevin (form #SC-6100V)
Methods of Collection
Docket: An official list, open to public inspection, telling interested parties, such as creditors, that a judgment exists. A docketed judgment becomes a lien against any real estate owned by the debtor in Calumet County and remains in effect for ten years. If the debtor tries to sell the property, the purchaser will usually require that the lien be removed (by paying the creditor the judgment) before taking the title. There is a $5.00 fee to docket a judgment.
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Docketing a Judgment for Collection (form #SC-6060V)
Transcript: Transfer of judgment to another county. A transcript of judgment may be obtained from the clerk and docketed in another county. If the debtor owns any real estate in the county where the creditor has forwarded the transcript, a lien will be placed on those properties. There is a $5.00 fee to the county issuing the transcript and a $10.00 fee to the county filing the transcript.
Contempt: If the debtor does not comply with the court’s order to return the Financial Disclosure Statement within 15 days from the date of judgment or has not paid the debt, the creditor may start proceedings to have the debtor held in contempt of court.
- To file for Contempt of Court, complete a Motion and Request for Hearing on Contempt & Order for Hearing on Contempt (forms #SC-507A & SC-507B). There is no filing fee for Contempt of Court but the Debtor MUST be personally served.
- After you file the Motion and Order for Hearing on Contempt with the Court and have it personally served on the debtor, the court will order the debtor to appear to explain why he/she failed to send the proper financial disclosures. Once in court, the Court will require the party to complete the Financial Disclosure Statement. If the debtor fails to appear, the court will issue a warrant for his/her arrest for being in contempt of court. The debtor can be placed in jail or ordered to pay a fine for each day he/she fails to make the required financial disclosure. The warrant can only be served if a middle initial and date of birth OR driver’s license number of the debtor are provided by the creditor.
Writ of Restitution: Legal procedure used to aid a landlord in evicting a tenant. When a Judgment of Eviction is granted, the court orders a writ. This writ gives the landlord the right to remove and store the Tenant’s property. The creditor must pay an additional $5.00 Writ fee to obtain a Writ of Restitution.
Writ of Replevin: Return of property as requested in complaint after Judgment of Replevin ordered. The procedure is the same as in the Writ of Restitution. The creditor must pay an additional $5.00 Writ fee to obtain a Writ of Replevin.
Execution: Legal procedure in which the Sheriff seizes the debtor’s property to pay a judgment. $5.00 Docket Fee and an Execution Fees are required before the clerk issues the execution.
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling an Execution Against Property (form #SC-6080V)
Garnishment (Earnings and Non-Earnings): Legal procedure authorizing the creditor to be paid from the debtor’s wages or bank accounts. The creditor must pay an additional $92.50 Garnishment fee to obtain each garnishment. Earnings garnishments remain in effect for 13 weeks. If the judgment has not been paid in full after 13 weeks and you wish to continue garnishing the debtor’s wages, you may file and pay for a new garnishment action.
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Earnings Garnishment (form #SC-6070V)
- Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Non-Earnings Garnishment (form #SC-6071V)
Auto Accident Judgment Above $500: Legal procedure in which the Creditor may suspend the Debtor’s driver license until the judgment is paid in full. The case must first be docketed, and a $5.00 Certification of Judgment fee paid to the clerk. The Creditor must provide the driver’s license number AND date of birth of the Debtor.
Satisfaction of Judgment
Legal form creditor MUST provide to Debtor upon payment in full of the judgment. Debtor MUST file the Satisfaction of Judgment with the Court and pay a $5.00 filing fee to satisfy the judgment.
- Satisfaction of Judgment or Partial Satisfaction of Lien: (form #GF-129)