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 $5,000. Amounts over that must be filed in Associate Court.


  1. When suing a business or corporation, call the Missouri Secretary of State (Kansas City office 816-889-2925). 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.
  2. Fill out the following two forms. Information about these forms is available here.
  3. 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 $20.50 (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
  4. 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).
  5. Visit three (3) weeks after you receive the receipt to check for service on the defendant(s).
  6. 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.

  1. Certified mail with return receipt requested
    The court clerk will mail the petition to the defendent(s). This costs $10.00 per defendant.
  2. Sheriff
    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 816-407-3850 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.
  3. 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: 8/28/2011