Small Claims Court in Miami-Dade County

In Miami-Dade County, FL small claims cases are typically filed in the Small Claim Court. Miami-Dade County has six 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 Miami-Dade Court System.

Small Claims Court

Before going to small claims court in Florida, it's important to know you usually file in the county where the defendant lives, where the issue happened, or where the property involved is located. In Florida, small claims cases can be filed for amounts up to $8,000, not counting extra costs, interest, or lawyer fees.

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

File a claim

Before filing a lawsuit, ensure the defendant is properly served.

  • For individuals, have their full name and valid address.
  • For businesses, determine if they're incorporated.
  • For corporations, obtain the business's full name, incorporation name, and an officer's or registered agent's address from the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations.
  • For unincorporated businesses, contact the Occupational License Bureau of Miami-Dade County for the owner's details. If the business uses a fictitious name, register it with the Florida Department of State. Make sure to verify this information for accurate service.

Who may file a claim

  • 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.
  • 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.

Court Fees

When you file a small claims action, you'll have to pay some fees. These usually include a filing fee, which depends on the amount you're claiming, and a fee for serving court summons to each party.

If you win the case and the court rules in your favor, these costs might be added to the total judgment amount. That means the defendant might have to pay you back for the expenses you had during the legal process if you win.

Small Claims Court Fees:

  • $.01 to 99.99 and less: $55.00
  • $100.00 to $500.00: $80.00
  • $500.01 to $2,500.00: $175.00
  • $2,500.01 to $8,000.00: $300.00

Statute of Limitations

Florida Statutes:

  • 5 years – writt en contract
  • 4 years – verbal contract
  • 4 years – negligence
  • 2 years – recovery of wages/overtime


  • The pre-trial conference for small claims cases typically happens about 50 days after filing, by which time all parties should have received the Statement of Claim and summons.
  • Parties can attend in person or through lawyers, and if everyone has legal representation, they might skip the conference.
  • If the plaintiff doesn't show up, the case might get dismissed, and if the defendant is absent, the plaintiff might win by default, though exceptions exist.
  • The case could also be dismissed if there's no valid legal claim. If a business sends an employee, they need written authorization.
  • During the conference, both sides briefly explain their case, and a mediator tries to settle things. Parties might agree on facts or documents.
  • Usually, there's no formal discovery process in small claims cases unless a party has a lawyer or the court allows it.
  • But if permitted, parties can use methods like written questions, document requests, depositions, or requests for admission.
  • Before trial, parties may also prepare by subpoenaing witnesses or collecting documents.

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

Trial System

During the trial proceedings in a small claims case, the following procedures typically occur:

  1. Introduce yourself: Begin by introducing yourself to the court.
  2. Plaintiff (you) proceeds first: As the plaintiff, you present your case first.
  3. Give a brief opening statement: Provide a brief overview of your case, outlining the key points you intend to prove.
  4. Defendant cross-examines Plaintiff’s witnesses: The defendant has the opportunity to question any witnesses called by the plaintiff to testify.
  5. Defendant may move for a Directed Verdict: The defendant may request a directed verdict from the judge if they believe there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for the plaintiff's claim.
  6. Defendant then presents his case and witnesses: The defendant presents their case, including any witnesses or evidence they have to support their defense.
  7. Plaintiff rebuts and cross-examines Defendant: You have the opportunity to rebut the defendant's case and cross-examine any witnesses they call. This allows you to challenge their evidence and arguments.

These procedures ensure that both parties have the opportunity to present their case and respond to the other party's arguments and evidence.

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 for rumor, opinions without expertise, or irrelevant information, to keep the trial focused on relevant issues.

After Judgment Motions

After a judgment, you can file post-judgment motions:

  • Motion for Rehearing: Usually within 10 days of judgment. If denied, you have about 30 days to appeal.
  • Motion for Rehearing based on certain grounds, like fraud, excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence, clerical mistake, or inadvertence: Up to 1 year to file in specific circumstances outlined by court rules.


If you're unsatisfied with the court's decision and want to appeal:

  • You have 30 days from the judgment date to file with the Appellate Division of the Circuit Court.
  • There's a $281.00 filing fee.
  • You also need a $100.00 deposit for preparing the record on appeal, plus $1.00 for each extra page. This deposit can be refunded if less work is needed or increased if more is necessary. Knowing these steps and costs is vital if you're thinking of appealing.

Collecting After a Judgment

To collect on a judgment in your favor:

  1. Get a Certified Copy: Pay $1.00 per page plus $2.00 for certification.
  2. Record the Copy: Go to 22 N.W. 1 Street, Miami, FL, pay $10.00 for one page and $8.50 for each additional page.
  3. Record with the Department of State: Pay $20 plus $5 per additional page. This gives you priority over other creditors. Visit for forms and more details. These steps help ensure you can enforce the judgment and get what you're owed.

Using these resources helps assess the plaintiff's financial status and informs decisions on legal action, increasing the chances of recovering any judgment awarded.

How to Collect

To start collecting after winning a judgment:

  1. Request a Fact Information Sheet: Ask the debtor to fill out a form about their finances.
  2. Deadline: They have 45 days to respond and attend a court hearing.
  3. Non-Compliance: If they don't comply, they could face contempt charges.

Options for enforcing the judgment:

  1. Interrogatories: Ask written questions about their assets.
  2. Deposition: Question them under oath with a subpoena.
  3. Hearing: File for a hearing to uncover employer or bank information if they don't have a lawyer.

Writ of Garnishment

If there's no property to seize but the debtor is owed money or has a bank account, you can try a Writ of Garnishment:

  • Start by filing a motion with the Clerk.
  • There's a fee, including $85 for service, $100 deposit for garnishee, and $3 clerk fees for the first writ. Extra writs cost $103 each.
  • The defendant can defend against the garnishment.

This lets you collect from third parties who owe the debtor money or hold their assets.

Settlements outside court are encouraged. Plaintiffs should inform the clerk, and the case may be dismissed or continued. If a party fails to fulfill settlement terms before judgment, the court may enter judgment upon the creditor's affidavit of the amount due.

Let Squabble Help You With Your Small Claim at Miami-Dade 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 Miami-Dade 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:


    5400 NW 22nd Avenue, Suite # 103
    Miami, Florida 33142
    (305) 275-1155


    • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; except court holidays.

    3100 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
    Coral Gables, Florida 33134
    (305) 275-1155


    • Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; except court holidays.

    11 E. 6th Street
    Hialeah, Florida 33010
    (305) 275-1155


    • Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; except court holidays.

    1130 Washington Ave, Suite 200
    Miami Beach , FL 33139
    (305) 275-1155


    • Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; except court holidays.

    15555 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite # 100
    North Miami, FL 33160
    (305) 275-1155


    • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; except court holidays.

    10710 SW 211th Street, Suite #1200
    Miami, Florida 33189
    (305) 275-1155


    • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; except court holidays.
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