Small Claims Court in Broward County

In Broward County, FL small claims cases are typically filed in the Small Claim Court. Broward County has four Small Claim Courthouses that handle small claims, serving different jurisdictions.

Squabble is here to assist you in navigating the small claims court system and filing a claim with ease. We recognize that not everyone is a legal expert, and our goal is to simplify the process for you. This guide will answer your questions about filing claims in the Broward Court System.

Small Claims Court

A small claims suit is a way to seek compensation for damages when the disputed amount is $8,000.00 or less, not including costs, interest, and attorney fees. Anyone who is 18 years or older, or any individual operating a business, can file a small claims case. If a child is involved, a parent or guardian can file on their behalf. While having an attorney is not mandatory, some judges might insist that a corporation has legal representation.

Cases Handled

Small Claims Court deals with various situations where you can file different cases. For instance:

  • Tenant/Landlord Dispute
  • Personal Injury
  • Stolen Property
  • Damaged Property
  • Debt Collection
  • Auto Repair
  • Poor Construction
  • Product Defect
  • Broken Contracts or Verbal Promises

Who may file a claim

  1. Individuals:

    • If the party is an individual, designate them by their legal name.
    • For minors (under 18 years old), if they are the Defendant, they can be sued directly or through their parent or legal guardian. If they are the Plaintiff, they must be represented by their parent or legal guardian in the lawsuit.
  2. Businesses:

    • Sole Proprietorship: Owned by one person, not incorporated. Designate the individual owner's name, possibly along with any trade name used (if applicable).
    • Partnership: Owned by two or more persons, not incorporated. Designate the names of the partners.
    • Corporation: A separate legal entity from its owners. Designate the legal name of the corporation. Ensure you have accurate information about the corporation's registered office location and the name and address of the Registered Agent.

File a claim

To ensure you correctly file a lawsuit, here's what you need to know depending on whether you're the plaintiff or the defendant:

Plaintiff Information: If you're filing the lawsuit (the plaintiff), you must provide:

  • Individual: Your full name, address, and a daytime telephone number where you can be reached.
  • Individual doing business as a company (DBA): State your name as DBA (Doing Business As) and your company's name.
  • Corporation: Your corporation's full legal name as registered.

If the defendant is a company, make sure to determine if they operate as an individual DBA or as a corporation. You can verify this by contacting the Division of Corporations at (850) 245-6000 or visiting It's crucial to get the correct corporate name, along with the names and addresses of officers or resident agents in the state. This information is necessary for serving the summons.

Additional Tips:

  • If the company isn't listed with the Division of Corporations, check if they operate under a fictitious name by contacting the Office of the Broward County Administrator. They can help identify who is registered to conduct business under that name.
  • Contact the Occupational License Division of the city where the business is located for further assistance. Ensuring you have the correct information about the parties involved is essential for a successful legal process.

Where to file

According to the law, you have the right to file a case in Broward County if any of the following conditions apply:

  1. The contract in question was entered into there.
  2. For an unsecured promissory note, you can file where the note was signed or where the person who made the note resides.
  3. If the case involves recovering property or foreclosing a lien, you can file where the property is located.
  4. If the lawsuit is based on an event that occurred in Broward County.
  5. If one or more of the defendants live in Broward County.
  6. If a specific location is agreed upon in a contract.
  7. In a case involving money owed, if there's no agreement on where to file, you can file where the payment is supposed to be made.

Court Fees

Breakdown of the filing fees for different types of claims in Broward County:

  • Claims up to $100.00: $55.00
  • Claims more than $100, but not more than $500: $80.00
  • Claims more than $500, but not more than $2,500: $175.00
  • Claims more than $2,500, but not more than $15,000: $300.00
  • Claims more than $15,000, but not more than $30,000: $400.00
  • Claims more than $30,000, but not more than $50,000: $400.00
  • Removal of Tenant Actions: $185.00
  • Chapter 82 - Unlawful Detainer: $300.00
  • For claims up to $1,000 filed with an action for replevin of property: $130.00
  • Cross-claim, counterclaim, or third party complaint over $2,500, but not more than $15,000: $295.00
  • Cross-claim, counterclaim, or third party complaint over $15,000, but not more than $50,000: $395.00
  • Issuance of a summons (per summons): $10.00
  • For cases with more than 5 defendants, additional per defendant: $2.50
  • Re-open case fee for claims up to $500.00: $25.00
  • Re-open case fee for claims exceeding $500.00: $50.00
  • Writ fee (garnishment, replevin, attachment, distress): $85.00
  • Service by registered mail (small claims, FL resident only, per defendant): $9.00

Methods of Payment

Here are the valid payment methods and guidelines for fees and costs at all County Civil Courthouse locations in Broward County:

Accepted Payment Methods:

  • Personal checks are not accepted.
  • Payments must be made with a check or money order payable to Broward County Clerk of Courts.

Payment for BSO Service:

  • If you are using Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) for service of documents, you must provide a separate check or money order payable to Broward Sheriff’s Office.

These guidelines ensure that fees and costs are handled correctly and that services, such as document service by BSO, are paid for separately and clearly identified.

Documents Needed to File

Simplified explanation of the process and requirements for filing a small claims case:

  • Forms and Assistance: The Clerk’s office provides forms for filing a small claims case for a fee. Clerks can assist in filling out these forms, but they are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice. They are there to guide and help with form preparation only. Ultimately, it's the responsibility of the person filing the case (the litigant) to ensure the adequacy of their pleadings and their position in the lawsuit.
  • Required Documents: To file your case, you'll need:
    • 2 Statement of Claims: One for each defendant you are suing. Both statements must contain identical information.
    • 2 Summons/Notices to Appear for Pretrial Conference: Also for each defendant.
    • Supporting Documents: Attach 2 copies of any supporting documents (like contracts or invoices) to each Statement of Claim. Keep the originals for your records.
    • One set of Statement of Claim with attached supporting documents will be kept by the court.
    • The other set of Statement of Claim with attached supporting documents, along with the 2 Summons/Notices, will be used for serving the defendant.
  • Signing and Notarization: When filing in person, you must sign your Statement of Claim in front of a Deputy Clerk. If mailing your case, the Statement of Claim must be signed and notarized. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope along with the required documents and payments.

This process ensures that all necessary paperwork is properly prepared and filed, with copies for both the court and for serving the defendant. It's important to follow these steps meticulously to ensure your case proceeds smoothly.

Serving the Defendant

A copy of the Summons/Notice to Appear for Pretrial Conference and Statement of Claim must be served on the defendant. Service may be accomplished by any of the following methods:

  • Sheriff’s Delivery in Broward County – If the summons is being served in Broward County, Broward - Sheriff’s Office (BSO) can serve the summons.
  • BSO will send into us the affidavit of service indicating whether the defendant was served. A copy of the affidavit of service will be mailed to you by BSO.
  • If the defendant is not served, you may attempt service again by obtaining an alias summons from us. You will be required to pay for the Summons/Notice to Appear for Pretrial Conference forms and $10 for each defendant for the issuance of the summons. You will also be required to pay BSO $40 per defendant.
  • A certified Process Server
  • If the defendant is to be served outside Broward County, the summons will be issued to you. It is your responsibility to obtain the cost of service, method of payment and address to the Sheriff or a Process Server in the city where the defendant will be served.
  • If service is accomplished by a Process Server or Sheriff outside Broward County, the affidavit of service may be mailed to you. You will be required to mail or bring in the affidavit of service to us.


Breakdown of what happens during a pretrial conference and what to expect:

  • Purpose: A pretrial conference is an informal meeting to determine if there is a valid legal claim. Once your case is filed, a pretrial date will be scheduled. You will receive details such as the date, time, room number, and the name of the Judge handling your case.
  • Attendance: It is crucial that you attend the pretrial conference. If you fail to appear, your case may be dismissed.
  • Defendant's Attendance: Once the defendant is served with the summons, they are required to appear at the pretrial conference. If the defendant does not appear, a judgment may be entered against them.
  • Witnesses: Typically, witnesses should not be brought to the pretrial conference.
  • Mediation: Mediation might occur during the pretrial conference. This is an attempt to reach a settlement agreement between you and the defendant with the help of a mediator.
  • Next Steps: If no agreement is reached, the Judge may schedule a trial date to resolve the dispute.
  • Outcome: If the Judge rules in your favor, a final judgment will be mailed to each party involved. Alternatively, you may be instructed to prepare and submit a final judgment to the Judge. Understanding these steps will help you prepare for and navigate through the pretrial conference and subsequent proceedings in your case effectively.

Counter, Cross & Third Party Claims

In civil lawsuits, different types of claims can be made beyond the original complaint:

  • Counterclaim: This is a claim by the defendant against the plaintiff in response to the original complaint. If the counterclaim exceeds the court's jurisdictional limit, the case may be transferred. It's typically filed five days before the Pre-Trial Conference.
  • Crossclaim: This happens when one party on the same side of the lawsuit (like one defendant) files a claim against another party on the same side (a co-defendant). It usually relates to property or issues from the original lawsuit.
  • Third-Party Claim: This is a claim by a defendant against someone not yet involved in the lawsuit (a "third party"), alleging they're responsible for all or part of the plaintiff's claim. The judge decides whether to allow this claim based on a motion made at the Pretrial Conference.\


During a small claims trial:

  • The trial is usually scheduled within 60 days from the Pre-Trial Conference.
  • A corporation can be represented by an officer or authorized employee with a notarized power of attorney.
  • Either party can request a jury trial in writing, but it must be done within a specific timeframe.
  • You're responsible for presenting your own case; the judge can't advocate for either side.
  • Evidence like photos, documents, and witnesses are crucial to support your case.
  • The burden of proof is on the party bringing the claim, typically based on a preponderance of the evidence.
  • If witnesses won't appear voluntarily, you must subpoena them, covering associated fees.
  • If a witness can't appear in person, you may request telephonic testimony.
  • If you plan to appeal, consider hiring a court reporter to transcribe the proceedings, ensuring an accurate record for the appellate court's review

Courtroom Behavior

Maintaining proper courtroom behavior is crucial during small claims proceedings:

  • Prepare and rehearse your opening statement for clarity.
  • Keep statements concise and focused.
  • Speak clearly and at an appropriate volume.
  • Dress in neat, conservative attire.
  • Be prepared to make objections when necessary, such as rumor, opinions without expertise, or irrelevant information, to keep the trial focused on relevant issues.


A judgment is the written decision of the case signed by a Judge. It specifies the prevailing party, monies being awarded, actions to be performed or property to be transferred.

  • Your judgment will be entered into the case record and will be recorded in Broward County’s public records.
  • Either party has 10 days from the date of the judgment to file with the Clerk for a rehearing.
  • Either party has the right to appeal the judgment, within 30 days after the judgment is rendered. See fee schedule for the cost of an appeal.
  • The court cannot collect your judgment for you.
  • If you wish to proceed on your own, refer to the County Court / Small Claims Information sheet.

Record of Judgment

To officially record your judgment and potentially place a lien on the debtor's real estate, follow these steps:

  1. Certified Copy of Judgment: Start by obtaining a certified copy of the judgment from the Clerk of Courts office where your case was filed.
  2. Recording the Judgment: Visit the Office of the County Recorder in Broward County, located at 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 114, Fort Lauderdale. You can contact them at (954) 357-7283 for general information, including details about recording fees.
  3. Effect of Recording: By recording your judgment, it becomes a lien on any real estate owned by the debtor in Broward County. This lien serves as a claim against the property and must typically be satisfied if the property is sold. Additionally, the lien may impact the debtor's credit history.

Recording your judgment is an important step in enforcing it against the debtor's assets, particularly real estate. Ensure you have all necessary documentation and information before proceeding with the recording process.

Writ of Execution

To enforce your judgment using a Writ of Execution, follow these steps:

  1. Requesting a Writ of Execution: Wait ten (10) days after the court enters judgment, then request a Writ of Execution from the Clerk’s office where your case was filed. This document authorizes the Sheriff to enforce your judgment.
  2. Contacting the Sheriff's Office: Get in touch directly with the Broward Sheriff's Office for specific information on fees and procedures related to executing the Writ. You can reach them at 2601 W. Broward Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311, Phone: (954) 831-8787.
  3. Filing the Writ of Execution: Bring the issued Writ of Execution to the Sheriff’s office in the county where the debtor’s property or goods are located. Once filed, the Sheriff has the authority to seize and sell the debtor's property to satisfy your judgment.
  4. Priority of Payment: File your Writ of Execution promptly to ensure your claim is prioritized. The Sheriff will distribute proceeds from the sale in the order that Writs of Execution were filed, giving you a chance to recover your judgment ahead of other creditors.

Following these steps carefully will help you effectively navigate the process of enforcing your judgment using a Writ of Execution, working closely with the Sheriff's office for successful execution.

Levy and Execution

To levy and execute on specific personal property of the debtor, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the Debtor's Property: If you know where the debtor's personal property is located, provide written instructions to the Sheriff. This is called Instructions for Levy.
  2. Contact the Sheriff's Civil Executions Department: Reach out to the Broward Sheriff's Office Civil Executions department to obtain forms, details on fees, and instructions for levying on the specific property.
  3. Seize the Property: Once you provide instructions and pay the required fees, the Sheriff will seize the debtor's identified personal property.
  4. Public Sale: The Sheriff will publish a notice announcing a public sale date for the seized goods. Interested buyers will bid on the property, and proceeds from the sale, after deducting expenses, will be used to satisfy your judgment.
  5. Repeat if Necessary: If the sale proceeds do not cover your entire judgment, you may repeat the process with other assets of the debtor.
  6. Priority of Writs: Writs for levy are prioritized based on their filing order, determining when you receive payment from the sale proceeds.

Following these steps ensures you enforce your judgment effectively by legally seizing and selling the debtor's property under the Sheriff's supervision. Adhering closely to legal procedures is crucial for a successful execution process.

Debtors Property

To locate a debtor's property for enforcing a judgment:

  1. Vehicle Ownership: Contact the County Tax Collector’s office or write to the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles to check for vehicles registered to the debtor.
  2. Real Estate: Visit the county records office in Ft. Lauderdale to search for property owned by the debtor, or seek assistance from an experienced professional.
  3. Legal Procedures: If initial searches are unsuccessful, file a motion with the court for a hearing to question the debtor under oath about their finances and assets.
  4. Deposition: Consider a Deposition in Aid of Execution, where the debtor is questioned under oath by a court reporter or notary public. Note that having an attorney is required for this procedure.

These steps provide effective methods to gather information on a debtor's assets to aid in the execution of a judgment.


To enforce your judgment using garnishment proceedings, follow these steps:

  1. File a Motion for Writ of Garnishment: Submit a motion to the Clerk of Court requesting a Writ of Garnishment. You'll need to pay a filing fee along with your motion.
  2. **Service of Writ: The Sheriff will serve the Writ of Garnishment on the garnishee (such as the debtor's employer or bank). The garnishee will then be required to provide a written report disclosing any monies owed to the debtor and details of any property in their possession or control.
  3. Execution of Garnishment: Unless the debtor qualifies for an exemption (see below), the garnishee must either pay the owed money directly to you or turn over the specified property to the Sheriff for execution, to satisfy your judgment.
  4. Legal Complexity: Garnishment procedures can be intricate. If you find it challenging, it may be wise to seek guidance from a qualified attorney. Understanding these steps will help you navigate the garnishment process effectively to enforce your judgment against a debtor who may have funds or property owned by third parties.

Unsatisfied Judgment

If you've obtained a judgment from a court case related to an automobile accident and there are no pending appeals, you can take steps to potentially suspend the defendant's driver's license:

  1. Obtain the Form: Get the "Record of Unsatisfied Judgment" form from the Drivers License Bureau.
  2. Request Issuance: Ask the County Courts clerk to issue the necessary forms.
  3. Submit the Form: Send the completed form to the Bureau of Financial Responsibility at PO Box 5775, Tallahassee, FL 32314.
  4. Effect on Driver's License: This submission could lead to the suspension of the defendant's driver's license.

For further details, you can contact the Bureau of Financial Responsibility directly. This process aims to enforce compliance with judgments related to automobile accidents effectively.

Let Squabble Help You With Your Small Claim at Broward County

Don't allow the intricacies of the legal system to discourage you from pursuing justice and compensation for your claim. With Squabble, you have a dedicated partner to streamline the process and guide you toward resolution. Whether you're contemplating filing a claim at Broward County small claims court, Squabble is here to support you at every stage. Reach out to us today to commence your journey toward justice and compensation. Get started today and become one of the 95% of our customers who won or settled their case.

Courthouses Location:

  1. Central Courthouse

    Judicial Complex, West Building
    (County Civil Central)
    201 S.E. 6th Street
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
    (954) 831-5622


    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except court holidays.
  2. North Regional Courthouse

    (County Civil North)
    1600 West Hillsboro Boulevard
    Deerfield Beach, FL 33442


    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., except court holidays.
  3. South Regional Courthouse

    (County Civil South)
    3550 Hollywood Boulevard
    Hollywood, FL 33021
    (954) 831-0353


    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., except court holidays.
  4. West Regional Courthouse

    (County Civil West)
    100 North Pine Island Road
    Plantation, FL 33324
    (954) 831-2339


    • Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.; except court holidays.
Terms of UseTerms of Privacy

© 2023 Squabble International, Inc. Patent Pending. All Rights Reserved.