As the defendant, you may also choose to file a Counterclaim, which is a claim that you have against the plaintiff. All parties to a small claims case are encouraged to try and reach a settlement agreement prior to trial. All settlement agreements should be in writing and should state who is to pay the court costs.
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If the defendant does not agree to pay the court costs as part of the settlement, the plaintiff will be responsible. If a settlement agreement is reached before the trial, the plaintiff must immediately notify the clerk so that the trial can be canceled. If an agreement cannot be reached, both the plaintiff and defendant should get together all papers, receipts, bills, sales tickets, estimates, photographs, etc.
You should write down the details and facts of the case to assist you in telling your side of the story at the trial. As the plaintiff or defendant, you may bring any witnesses you feel can help explain your case. If there is any reason to believe a witness will not voluntarily appear, you may ask the clerk to issue a witness subpoena requiring that person to appear. You will be required to pay a witness subpoena fee.
If you are late, the judge may dismiss your case if you are the plaintiff or he may enter a default judgment against you if you are the defendant. If something comes up which would prevent you from being on time or appearing at the trial, you MUST inform the clerk as soon as possible and request a continuance delay of the trial.
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A trial in Small Claims Court is an informal hearing before the judge. There is no jury. When the case is called, the plaintiff will present his evidence and his witnesses. The defendant will then present his evidence, and call his witnesses.
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After hearing both sides of the case and looking at the evidence, the judge will make a decision and render a judgment based on the law and the facts presented. Mediation is available in small claims court while you wait for your trial time on the small claims docket. Mediation is one way for people to settle disputes. In mediation, the people involved in the dispute talk about solutions that might work for them.
The people who help them work out a solution are called mediators. Mediators are trained in dispute resolution, and their aim is to encourage people who are involved in a problem to work out a solution that satisfies them. Mediation is free and voluntary. Either party may terminate the mediation at any time before a settlement is reached. If the case is resolved through mediation, an agreement will be signed by all parties, and will be approved by the judge.
If the case cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties you will return to the courtroom and begin your trial. The clerk has this form. The appeal will be heard in the Circuit Court. You may need the assistance of an attorney if you choose to appeal because the simplified procedures of Small Claims Court do not apply in Circuit Court. It must meet state and federal requirements in order to collect using this method.
Paperwork will then need to be filed in our office. The property levied cannot be under a recorded mortgage plaintiff can check with the probate court record room for recordings. A copy of the current tax assessment along with a copy of the deed is required for property. The tax assessment information may be obtained by going to the Tax Assessors office on the 5th floor of the Madison County Courthouse. The deed can be located on the 3rd floor, Records Department. If executing on a vehicle, the current years tag receipt is needed.
This can be requested from the License Department, 1st floor of the courthouse.
It is important to mention, you cannot garnishee a retirement check, disability check, welfare, child assistance, unemployment or a social security check. All of the above actions require an additional filing fee. SEE FEES The clerk has the necessary forms and sometimes the method of collection may become involved, you may wish to have an attorney explain the procedure and assist you in filing the appropriate forms. Again the court clerk cannot give you legal advice. The court has no way of collection outside of the above-mentioned methods and judgments that are good for up to ten years.
It is important to mention, it is easier to get a judgment than it is to collect on it.
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If you have purchased new property please take the following steps to ensure your property is properly assessed and you receive your proper exemption:. Why does it seem to take so long for the tax bill to reflect the change of ownership from seller to buyer?
In Alabama, the tax year is Oct. Alabama law provides that the tax bill due on Oct. The current property owner is responsible for paying taxes on all property, regardless of who the bill is addressed. Homestead exemption is a statutory exemption that must be timely claimed or lost. It is a tax break a property owner may be entitled to if he or she owns a single-family residence and occupies it as their primary residence on the first day of the tax year for which they are applying.
There are several different homestead exemptions but none should exceed acres. Only individuals receiving an exemption based on age or disability with or without income limitations must resign each year.
Owners must sign up to receive this exemption and reclaim the exemption each year between the dates of October 1 st — December 31 st. Owners must provide proof of disability when they sign up to receive this exemption and individuals must reclaim the exemption each year between the dates of October 1 st — December 31 st.
Owners of 5 acres or more of farmland, pastureland or timberland that is producing agricultural products, livestock or wood products may apply for current use exemption.
This exemption allows for property to be assessed at less than market value when used only for the purposes specified. After current use has been granted, the owner who made the application for current use does not have to re-apply for subsequent years. However, if the property ownership is transferred or the name has been changed by deed or will, the new owner will have to file an application for current use or his or her taxes will be based on fair market value rather than current use values.
Current use must be removed from the property at least 2 years prior to changing the use of the property. Otherwise the owner will be assessed for no more than 3 years called a roll back at the market value or selling price, whichever is greater. If I have a manufactured home on my property am I required to have a current decal?
All manufactured homes formerly mobile homes must have a current decal to show compliance with ad valorem taxes.
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