Small Claims

Filing Instructions

The following instructions explain how to file a small claims petition in the Clay County Circuit Court.


The limit in small claims is $3,000. (The amount will be raised to $5,000 on August 28, 2011.) Amounts over that must be filed in Associate Court.

The limit in small claims is $5,000. Amounts over that must be filed in Associate Court.


When suing a business or corporation, call the Missouri Secretary of State (Kansas City office ). Tell them the name of the business/corporation that you are suing and ask for the “the name of the registered agent and their mailing address.” Write the agent's name on the Case Filing Information Sheet (see example) and Petition (see example) forms. The agent will be served even though you are suing the business/corporation.

Fill out the following two forms.

Form FI-05: Confidential Case Filing Information Sheet - Non-Domestic Relations
Form SC40: Petition Small Claims Court

Information about these forms is available here.

Mail or bring the the following items to the Civil Filing Window in the James S. Rooney Justice Center.

Three (3) copies of each of the forms listed above (If there is more than one defendent, bring additional copies for those defendents.)

The filing fee of $23.50 (Cash (with exact change), cashier checks, money orders, and credit cards are accepted. Personal checks are not.)

The fee for the selected service option (see below)

A self-addressed, stamped envelope

A receipt for filing fees will be mailed to you in the self-addressed envelope. The receipt will include the court date, division number, and case number. A summons packet will also be included in the envelope if you chose to use a non-professional Special Process Server (see below).

Visit three (3) weeks after you receive the receipt to check for service on the defendant(s).

On the court date, bring the receipt and your records to court.

Service Options

In legal terms, serving a petition means that the defendent(s) must receive their copy of the petition either by certified mail or by personal delivery by a Sheriff or a Special Process Server. The court must have proof that the petition was served in order to proceed with a case.

The following service options are available.

Certified mail with return receipt requested
The court clerk will mail the petition to the defendent(s). This costs $10.00 per defendant.

The court clerk will get the petition to the sheriff who then delivers it to the defendent(s).

Within Clay County
$50.00 for one (1) defendant
$80.00 for two (2) defendants Call the Civil Department at if there are more than two (2) defendants.
The Clay County Sheriff accepts personal checks.

Outside of Clay County
Call the sheriff of that county to request the service fee amount. Obtain a money order for that amount that is made out to that sheriff.

Special Process Servers

A Special Process Server (SPS) is someone over the age of 18 who is not related to the case. The SPS is responsible for delivering the petition to the defendent(s), filling out and signing the red-stamped sheet of the summons packet in front of a notary, and promptly returning the sheet to the court.

Professional SPSs are available and may be found in phone directories.

If you choose a professional SPS, the court clerk will transfer the summons packet to the SPS. If you choose a non-professional SPS, you will be responsible for getting the summons packet to the SPS.

Complete Form 112: Motion for Order Appointing Special Process Server if you use a SPS.

Last Revised:

Free Mediation

Clay County Civil Mediators recognized for their service during National Volunteer Week (April 7-13, 2019). Last year, mediators conducted one hundred and five sessions with litigants in Small Claims and Landlord-Tenant cases, a majority of which reached agreement to settle their disputes.

Left to right, Row 1: Teri Hargrave (Program Coordinator), Greta Wills, Ginnie Crimmins, the Hon. Karen Krauser, Angie Atkinson, Jill Kirkpatrick, Dionne King. Row 2: Don Shank, Jim Stoufer, Philip Krause, the Hon. Lou Angles, Jackie Dunn, Jeff Kruse, Jim Donovan.


Parties in small claims cases are encouraged to try mediation. Mediation can be arranged on or prior to your court date by calling the Office of Dispute Resolution Services at 816-736-8402. Mediation is provided free.

"Mediation" is a non-binding process in which a mediator assists people to communicate and negotiate effectively as they explore options for resolving their dispute.

Mediation helps when …

  • you want to avoid the red tape, cost and delay of appeals and collecting on a judgment, or
  • you need an outcome beyond a simple judgment for money, or
  • you are not sure about the appropriate amount of damages (evidence needed to establish the "measure of damages" in court), or
  • you wish to make a payment arrangement, or
  • you want to preserve a relationship despite this dispute, or want to avoid the publicity of a judgment on the public record.

Rules of Mediation

For more information, contact:

Building: R. Kenneth Elliott Children's Justice Center
Address: 351 East Kansas Street
Liberty, Missouri 64068
Telephone: 816-736-8402


Contact Information

For filing information:

Circuit Clerk: Civil Department
Building: James S. Rooney Justice Center
Address: 11 South Water Street
Liberty, Missouri 64068
Telephone: 816-407-3850

For assistance in resolving disputes:

Office of Dispute Resolution Services
Building: R. Kenneth Elliott Children's Justice Center
Address: 351 East Kansas Street
Liberty, Missouri 64068
Telephone: 816-736-8402

After service:

Small Claims Court
Clay County Circuit Court
Division IX
Building: James S. Rooney Justice Center
Address: 11 South Water Street
Liberty, Missouri 64068
Telephone: 816-407-3990