If the defendant does not appear, a default judgment will be granted. A defendant must submit a written response to the complaint in order to contest the claim. This may be done in person on the court date or by mail, but must be received no later than on the date and time set for the return date.
Any defendant may file a counterclaim against the plaintiff or a cross complaint against a co-defendant. There is no fee if the claim is for less than $5,000 (see fee schedule (PDF)). The parties should consider a settlement. If no settlement occurs, a court trial will be scheduled for another date. A Circuit Judge will weigh the evidence and render a decision. If either party objects to the decision, they may file a Demand for Trial before a Judge. Instructions will be provided.
Once the judgment is granted, it will be entered on the court record by the Clerk of Circuit Court staff and a Notice of Entry of Judgment will be mailed to each party at their last known address. This notice will state the amount of judgment including statutory costs.
State law directs the Clerk of Circuit Court to compute costs and insert them in the judgment in favor of the successful party as follows: