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Small Claims Matters and North Carolina’s New Guide & File

The legal system can be difficult to navigate, and occasionally it may seem that the costs to pursue a matter may outweigh the benefits. However, if you are owed $10,000.00 or less, you may wish to represent yourself in Small Claims Court.

Small Claims Court is available in every county in North Carolina. Filing a small claims case previously required that each person filing a case appear at the courthouse and fill out the appropriate paperwork.

However, on August 24, 2020, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced a new service that allows attorneys and the public to prepare court documents online. While the Guide & File system is currently only used for select types of cases, the attorneys at Hannah Sheridan & Cochran believe that Guide & File may be most useful for our clients that want to handle small claims cases for money owed without the assistance of an attorney.

The new “Guide & File” system prompts users to answer a series of simple online questions. Based upon the user’s answers, Guide & File automatically creates the legal document that can then be printed and filed with the Court either by mail or in person. Currently there is not an option to submit the documents for filing online, but the Guide & File system eliminates the initial need of appearing at the local courthouse to obtain and execute the appropriate forms. Furthermore, the Guide & File system ensures that the forms are legible and properly completed.

Once the documents are filed with the Court and served on the opposing party, you will be given a date to appear before a magistrate judge and have a trial on the issues. If you are successful, the judge will issue an order in your favor and you will be able to initiate the process to collect on your judgment.

For legal advice or questions about legal rights, remedies, or how to collect your judgment, please contact one of the attorneys at Hannah Sheridan & Cochran, LLP.


By: Emily Anne Buttrick

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