Small Claims Court in Fulton County

In Fulton County, GA small claims cases are typically filed in the Magistrate Court. Fulton County has three Magistrate 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 Fulton Court System.

Small Claims Court

On Fulton County, Georigia the Magistrate Court is a legal venue for resolving disputes involving amounts of $15,000 or less between individuals or businesses. If a resolution cannot be reached directly, a plaintiff can file a case electronically in their own name without an attorney, or they can hire one at their own expense. The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff, who must demonstrate to the judge that they are entitled to compensation from the defendant.

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

Cases that cannot be Handled

There are specific types of cases that cannot be filed in Magistrate Court, regardless of the amount being sought in recovery. These include:

  1. Divorce and Family Matters: Magistrate Courts do not have jurisdiction over divorce proceedings, child custody disputes, or any other family law matters.
  2. Cases Involving Real Estate Ownership: Magistrate Courts cannot adjudicate cases where the determination of legal ownership of real estate is required.
  3. Injunctions: Magistrate Courts are not empowered to issue injunctions. An injunction is a court order directing a party to take or refrain from taking a particular action, such as repairing or returning property.

In these instances, parties must seek resolution through the appropriate legal channels, such as Family Court for family matters, higher courts for disputes involving real estate ownership, and courts that have jurisdiction over injunctions. Magistrate Courts are limited in their scope and authority, focusing primarily on smaller civil claims and certain criminal matters within their jurisdictional limits.

Who may file a claim

To properly file a claim or have a claim filed against you, it's essential to understand the roles of the Plaintiff and Defendant and to correctly identify the parties involved. Here's a breakdown based on different scenarios:

  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.

It's important to ensure that you name the proper parties in your claim or lawsuit. Failure to do so may result in an unsatisfactory judgment. If you need information about a corporation, you can contact the Georgia Secretary of State. By correctly identifying the parties involved, you can initiate or respond to legal proceedings accurately and effectively.


Jurisdiction lies with the Magistrate Court for civil claims involving amounts up to $15,000.

Where to file

To determine where to file your case in Fulton County Magistrate Court, consider the following guidelines:

  1. Defendant's Residence: File your case in the county where the Defendant (the party you are suing) resides. This is known as "venue." In other words, if the Defendant lives in Fulton County, your case should be filed in Fulton County Magistrate Court.
  2. Businesses: The venue for businesses depends on the type of business entity: For sole proprietorships, file the suit in the county where the owner of the business resides. For partnerships, file the suit in the county where at least one of the owners resides. For corporations, file the suit in the county where the corporation has designated its registered office with the Secretary of State's Office.
  3. Multiple Defendants: If there are multiple defendants, you can file your case in any county location would be proper for at least one of the defendants, if they are jointly and severally liable.

Remember that all civil documents for Fulton County Magistrate Court are electronically filed at eFileGA. By ensuring that you file your case in the correct venue, you can initiate legal proceedings efficiently and effectively.

Filing Fees

When determining the appropriate venue for filing a case, it's essential to consider where the defendant resides. If the defendant is a corporation, the case must be filed in the county where the company's registered agent is located. For unincorporated businesses, the claim should be filed in the county where the business operates.

  • The filing fee for initiating a case is $60 for one defendant, with an additional $8 for each additional defendant.
  • The Marshal's Department can serve suits for $50 per party, or plaintiffs can opt for a private process server.
  • Filing and service fees can be paid when initially e-filing a case through eFileGA.

Procedures for Filing

To file a Statement of Claim in Magistrate Court, the Plaintiff needs to follow these procedures:

  1. Prepare the Statement of Claim: This sworn statement should outline the charges against the Defendant, providing a clear explanation of why the lawsuit is being brought. Include essential details such as the complete name, address, and phone number of the Plaintiff (and their attorney if applicable), as well as the complete name and street address of the Defendant. Also, specify the damages sought and provide a brief statement explaining the basis for the lawsuit, including relevant dates.
  2. Include Supporting Documents: Attach copies of all relevant documents, such as contracts, receipts, canceled checks, or any other evidence that supports the Plaintiff's claim. It's important to keep the original documents for your records.
  3. File Electronically or In-Person: The Plaintiff can choose to electronically file the Statement of Claim at public access terminals locations. Alternatively, they may appear in person at the office of the Clerk of Magistrate Court at the same location to have the statement sworn or affirmed by a Clerk or notarized.
  4. Pay Attention to Service Address: Ensure that the address for service is in Fulton County. The Marshal's Department will not issue a refund for service fees if they determine that the service address is within Fulton County.
  5. Seek Assistance from the Clerk: The Clerk of the Magistrate Court can provide necessary forms and assistance with the electronic filing process. However, they cannot offer legal advice regarding whom to sue or the likelihood of winning the case.

By following these steps, the Plaintiff can initiate the legal process in Magistrate Court and begin the resolution of their dispute.

Filing in the wrong court

If a case is filed in Magistrate Court but it is determined that the court does not have jurisdiction over the matter or that the venue is improper, several actions will be taken:

  1. Transfer to Appropriate Court: The case will be transferred to a court that does have jurisdiction and proper venue to handle the matter. This ensures that the case is heard in the appropriate legal setting.
  2. Transfer Order: An order will be issued by the Magistrate Court, formally transferring the case to the appropriate court. This order will specify the new court where the case will be heard.
  3. Transfer Fee Requirement: The transfer order may include a requirement for the party who filed the case in the wrong court to pay a transfer fee. This fee is typically due within a specified timeframe, often twenty (20) days from the date of the transfer order.

By transferring the case to the appropriate court, the legal proceedings can continue in the proper jurisdiction, ensuring that all parties receive fair and just treatment under the law.


After being served with a civil claim, the Defendant has a window of thirty (30) days to respond by electronically filing an answer. Failure to do so within this timeframe results in the Defendant being in default. However, there's a brief grace period from the 31st to the 45th day where the Defendant can still file an answer electronically, albeit with the requirement of paying court costs.


The Defendant also has the option to electronically file a counterclaim against the Plaintiff in Magistrate Court if the counterclaim pertains to the Plaintiff's original charge and the total monetary claims of the Defendant remain under $15,000. Counterclaims are typically addressed concurrently with the Plaintiff's claims, and if the Judge rules in favor of the Defendant on a counterclaim, they may be entitled to collect damages from the Plaintiff.


In case the Defendant fails to file an answer within the 45-day period, the Plaintiff can request a default judgment by electronically filing a Request for Default with the Clerk of Magistrate Court via eFileGA. This mechanism allows the legal process to move forward even in the absence of a response from the Defendant.

Before the Hearing

Before the scheduled hearing date, both parties should take the following steps:

  1. Collect Documents: Gather all documents relevant to your case that support your claims. Make extra copies of these documents for both the judge and the opposing party. This ensures that all parties have access to the necessary evidence during the proceedings.
  2. Contact Witnesses: Reach out to any witnesses who have agreed to testify on your behalf and inform them of the hearing date, time, and location. Ensure that they are aware of their role and availability to attend the hearing.
  3. Subpoena Documents or Witnesses: If necessary, subpoena documents or summon witnesses to appear in court. A subpoena is a legal command issued by the court that compels a person to testify or produce evidence. You can obtain a subpoena from the clerk of the magistrate court. If there are specific documents or witnesses critical to your case and they are unwilling to cooperate voluntarily, a subpoena can compel their attendance or the production of evidence.

By completing these tasks before the hearing, both parties can ensure that they are adequately prepared to present their case before the judge and that all relevant evidence and witnesses are available to support their arguments.

Procedure of a Hearing

The procedure for a hearing in Magistrate Court typically follows these steps:

  1. Mediation (if applicable): Some cases may be referred to mediation before proceeding to a formal hearing. Mediation allows the parties to attempt to settle the case without a hearing. If the parties reach a settlement agreement, they may avoid the need for a hearing altogether. However, if they cannot reach an agreement, the case will proceed to a formal hearing.
  2. Courtroom Procedure Instructions: Prior to the hearing, the judge will provide instructions to both parties about courtroom procedure. This may include guidelines on presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and making arguments.
  3. Presentation of Arguments: During the hearing, both the plaintiff and the defendant will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence to the judge. They may question or dispute each other's testimony and evidence.
  4. Judicial Decision: After both parties have completed their presentations, the judge will make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented. The judge may grant monetary damages to either the plaintiff, the defendant, or both parties, depending on the merits of the case.
  5. Consequences of Non-Appearance:
    • If the plaintiff fails to appear in court on the day of the hearing, the judge may allow the defendant to present testimony and issue a judgment without hearing from the plaintiff. Alternatively, the judge may postpone the case to a later date or dismiss it.
    • If the defendant fails to appear in court on the day of the hearing, the judge may grant a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff. Overall, the hearing process in Magistrate Court is designed to provide both parties with an opportunity to present their cases and seek a resolution to their dispute in a fair and impartial manner.


Once the Defendant electronically files an answer, the court will schedule a hearing and notify both parties of the date, time, and location. During the hearing, both parties have the opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses. When appearing in court for your case, it's crucial to bring the following:

  1. Witnesses: Bring any individuals who have direct knowledge of the facts relevant to your case. These witnesses can provide testimony to support your claims and strengthen your case.
  2. Documents: Gather all relevant documents that support your case. This may include contracts, agreements, receipts, invoices, bills, correspondence, or any other written evidence. Ensure that you have both the original documents and any copies necessary for presentation in court.
  3. Photographs: If applicable, bring photographs that provide visual evidence relevant to your case. This could include images of property damage, injuries, or any other visual evidence that supports your claims.
  4. hysical Evidence: If there are any physical items or samples relevant to your case, such as damaged property, defective products, or other physical evidence, bring them to court. These tangible items can help the court better understand the circumstances of your case.
  5. Preparation: Lastly, come prepared to present your case effectively. Review your evidence beforehand, organize your documents and materials, and be ready to articulate your arguments clearly and concisely before the judge.

By bringing witnesses, relevant documents, photographs, physical evidence, and being adequately prepared, you can present a compelling case in court and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.


In some cases, the court may opt for mediation before the scheduled hearing. Mediation allows the parties to attempt to resolve the matter outside of court with the assistance of a court-appointed mediator, at no additional cost. If an agreement cannot be reached during mediation, the court will proceed to set a hearing date, and the case will be presented before the judge.


If either party intends to bring witnesses to the hearing, they should ensure that those witnesses are present. Written statements may not be accepted as evidence. If assistance is needed to secure the attendance of witnesses, a request for a subpoena form should be completed and submitted to the Clerk of Magistrate Court along with the required fee. This ensures that witnesses are compelled to appear in court to testify.

Statement of Claim

After the defendant is served with the Statement of Claim, they have thirty (30) days from the date of service to file an answer with the court. The counting of days starts from the day after the date of service, with the thirtieth (30th) day deadline adjusted if it falls on a day when the court is closed, such as a weekend or legal holiday. In such cases, the answer would be due on the next open day.

Default Judgment

If the defendant fails to file an answer within the prescribed time frame, the plaintiff can request a default judgment. A default judgment occurs when the defendant does not respond to the plaintiff's claims or fails to appear at the hearing. In such instances, the judge may proceed to hear and decide the case based solely on the plaintiff's submissions. If granted, the default judgment entitles the plaintiff to the specified amount of money damages sought in the suit, plus court costs. If non-monetary damages are claimed, a separate hearing may be necessary to determine their value.

However, the defendant still has an opportunity to "open the default" within fifteen (15) days after the initial thirty (30) days have elapsed by filing an answer and paying court costs. This mechanism allows the defendant to rectify their failure to respond within the initial time frame.

Let Squabble Help You With Your Small Claim at Fulton 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 Fulton 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. Fulton County Magistrate Court - Downtown Atlanta

    185 Central Avenue SW, Suite TG-100
    Atlanta, GA 30303
    (404) 613-5360


    • Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except court holiday
  2. Fulton County Magistrate Court - North Service Center

    7741 Roswell Road, Suite 226
    Atlanta, GA 30350
    (404) 613-5757


    • Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except court holiday
  3. Fulton County Magistrate Court - South Service Center

    5600 Stonewall Tell Road, Suite 218
    College Park, GA 30349
    (404) 612-4117


    • Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., except court holiday
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