How to File a Small Claims

The information contained on this web page is provided as a courtesy to members of the public, and shall not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, contact the Wisconsin Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service (800)-362-9082 for additional assistance.

Forms Needed

Optional Forms

How to Complete the Small Claims Summons and Complaint

Completing the First Page

  • The Plaintiff(s): The plaintiff is the person filing the case. Fill in your name(s) and address(es) in the space provided.
  • The Defendant(s): The person sued is the defendant. Fill in the defendant(s) correct name and address(es) in the space provided.
  • Case Number: Leave this space blank. The Clerk of Courts Office will assign a case number. The case number is very important. If you have concerns regarding your case, you will need to know your case number.
  • Case Classification (Boxes under Case Number ): Check the boxes that apply to what you are seeking in Small Claims Court
    • Claim for Money ($10,000 or less) - 31001
    • Tort/Personal Injury ($5,000 or less) - 31010
    • Return of Property (replevin) - 31003
    • Eviction - 31004
    • Eviction Due to Foreclosure - 31002
    • Arbitration Award - 31006
    • Return of Earnest Money - 31008
  • When To Appear (The Return Date): Leave this space blank. The Clerk of Courts Office will fill in the date and time. The return date is when the case is first called and is held at the:

Oconto County Courthouse
301 Washington Street
Hearing Room/Building C
Oconto, WI 54153

Completing the Second Page

  • Plaintiff's Demands:
    • 1. Plaintiff demands judgment for: (Check all that apply. This should match the Case Classifications selected on the first page)
      • Claim for Money ($10,000 or less). Fill in amount.
      • Tort/Personal Injury ($5,000 or less). Fill in amount.
      • Return of Property (replevin)
      • Eviction
      • Eviction Due to Foreclosure
      • Arbitration Award
      • Return of Earnest Money
    • 2. Brief Statement of dates and facts: Explain what you are asking for and why you believe you should receive it. Check see attached if you are attaching any additional documents with your Summons and Complaint
  • Signatures: Sign the summons and complaint under signature of Plaintiff/Attorney and complete your contact information.

Please note: The court may include your filing and service fees if you prevail (win your case).

Filing Instructions

Once all necessary forms are completed, you may take them to the Oconto County Clerk of Courts, Courthouse, 301 Washington Street, Building C, 1st Floor, Oconto, WI 54153 to file. It is at this point that:

1. A court case number is assigned to the case.

2. A Return Date is scheduled.

3. Filing fees must be paid unless a Petition for Waive of Fees (PDF) is granted by the court. See below for information regarding filing fees.

4. Authenticated copies of the paperwork are given to you.

  • If personal service is required, it is the Plaintiff's responsibility to get the authenticated copies to the Sheriff's Department/private process server where the defendant(s) reside for service.

If the Summons and Complaint paperwork is sent via mail to file with the Clerk of Courts Office, an additional $2 mailing fee must be included in addition to the small claims filing fee and service fee, if applicable. This allows the Clerk of Courts to mail back authenticated copies of the small claims paperwork to you.

Fees

Claim for Money, Tort, Return of Earnest Money

  • Defendant(s) reside iOconto County
    • $94.50 plus an additional $2 mailing fee per defendant
  • Defendant(s) Does Not reside in Oconto County
    • $94.50 (Personal service required)

Eviction, Replevin

  • $94.50 (Personal service required)

Cash, check, money order, debit and/or credit cards are accepted.
An additional service fee is charged when using a debit or credit card.

Service Information

There are several different methods and very specific time limits by which the other party must be served in Small Claims actions. For a complete list view the Small Claims Service Guide. The type of service required depends on the type of action being filed:

  • Service by Mail
    • Service by mail is permitted for the following case types:
      • Claim for Money only if the Defendant(s) reside in Oconto County.
      • Tort/Personal Injury only if the Defendant(s) reside in Oconto County.
      • Arbitration Award/Return of Earnest Money only if the Defendant(s) reside in Oconto County.
    • If service is to be by mail, a $2 mailing fee will be charged for each defendant.
  • Personal Service
    • You must use personal service, service by a Sheriff's Department/private process server, if:
      • You are filing an Eviction action.
        • In Eviction actions where the defendant(s) cannot be personally served after reasonable diligence and substitute service was attempted and also not successful, the server may post a copy of the Summons and Complaint onto some part of the premises where it may be conveniently read at least 7 business days prior to the return date. 
      • You are filing a Replevin action.
      • In any Small Claims action where the defendant(s) reside outside of Oconto County.
    • If using personal service, an Affidavit of Service must be filed with the court. If you do not have the other party served properly and do not provide proper proof of service, the Court cannot hear or decide your case.
    • If you are unable to serve the other party within the required time limits, you may write a letter to the Court requesting a different court date. You must then have the other party served with the new court date, if granted.
    • Service fees incurred may be included in the judgment amount if proof is provided to the court.
  • Publication
    • Service by Publication is a last resort and can only be used if you failed to have the other party served. You have a responsibility to make every effort to make personal service if possible, which includes gathering reasonably available information from family and friends to try and determine the other party's location.
    • You must obtain permission from the Court to serve the other party by publication. Service by Publication requires you to publish a Publication Summons and Notice in a newspaper that publishes legal notices in the county where the defendant(s) last resided. The publication must take place one time. Proof of Publication must then be provided to the court.
Most Common Types of Actions
Service Required
Service Time Limits
Claim for Money (Deft. resides IN Oconto Co.)
Mail
Not less than 8 business days before the Return Date.
Claim for Money (Deft. does NOT reside in Oconto Co.)
Personal
Not less than 8 business days before the Return Date.
Eviction
Personal
Not less than business days before the return date. 
Replevin
Personal
Not less than 8 business days before the Return Date. 


Helpful Links

  • Basic Steps for Handling Small Claims: Case for Eviction: Form SC-6010V
  • Basic Steps for Handling Small Claims: Case for Recovery of Money: Form SC-6020V
  • Basic Steps for Handling Small Claims: Case for Replevin: Form SC-6030V