Small Claims In the Atlanta Metropolitan Area

Have you ever had a roommate skip out on rent? Or perhaps you loaned someone some money or performed a service and weren’t paid? Maybe you bought a faulty product, received a shoddy service, or were the victim of a fender bender that led to damage or injury? Maybe your business is owed a debt?

We’ve all been in at least one of these situations.

Legal disputes can be frustrating – at times even infuriating – for a number of reasons. Not only do you have to deal with financial implications of property or money lost and perhaps even physical pain or injury, but then you also have to learn to navigate a complex legal landscape to bring your case to court.

Once the initial shock wears off, you want justice without having to deal with the headache (and cost) associated with lawyers and traditional court. After all, Atlantans don’t usually let someone get over on them and who needs another headache? Fortunately, that’s why small claims courts and Squabble exist.

This post will provide you with all the details you need to know about filing a small claims case in Atlanta, GA. If you’re overwhelmed or bored at any point, you can just click any of the “Let’s Get Started” buttons and Squabble it. The whole process will be taken care of. 

  Squabble helps you File Your Small Claims Case in Minutes

What is Small Claims Court?

If you cannot resolve a dispute with a business or a person and the amount in controversy is less than $15,000.00, you may file a case in Magistrate court. You may file in your own name without an attorney or you may hire an attorney at your own expense. The Plaintiff (person filing the suit) must prove to the Judge that he/she is entitled to receive compensation from the Defendant (person being sued).

 🌟 Did you know? In Georgia, claims for less than $15,000 are filed in Superior Court for the state of New Jersey in a less formal division also known as the Special Civil Part. 

How much can I sue for in the Small Claims Court (Magistrate Court) in Atlanta, GA? (Jurisdiction)

The Magistrate Court has jurisdiction to handle civil claims in the amount of $15,000 or less.

Which court in Atlanta, GA should I file in? (Venue)

You must file where the Defendant lives. If the Defendant is a corporation, you must file in the county of the registered agent for the company. Typically, you’d have to contact the Corporations Division of the Secretary of State to locate the registered agent. If the Defendant is an unincorporated business, the claim must be filed in the county where the business is physically located. With Squabble, all of this is taken care of in our Triple-Check Guarantee!

  Squabble helps you File Your Small Claims Case in Minutes

How much is the Court’s Filing Fee in Atlanta, GA?

The filing fee is $60.00 plus administrative costs.

Do I need to know How to Write a Demand Letter before I file in Small Claims Court in Atlanta, GA?

A demand letter asking for your money back isn’t required in Atlanta, GA. Regardless, nearly everyone who is owed a sum of money has, in some written form, already asked the defendant to give them their money back. If you haven’t, send a quick text or email doing so. Again, it isn’t required, but it might be helpful as something to tell the judge.

How long do I have to sue someone after I learn that the defendant owes me money?

To begin a small claims

Plaintiffs have time limits in which to file a civil claim. These are governed by “statutes of limitations.” The purpose of these laws is to ensure that claims are made while evidence is still relatively vital, and to prevent the constant “threat” of a lawsuit long after the disputed event has occurred. Georgia civil statute of limitations laws impose a two-year time limit for personal injuries and fraud, with a four-year statute of limitations for trespassing, debt collection, and injuries to personal property.

Sometimes there’s just no way to reasonably know for sure that an injury has occurred, or to discover the cause of a known injury until much later. So while the “clock” typically starts running at the time an injury is suffered, it technically doesn’t start until the “accrual of claims,” which could be the point when the injury (or its cause) is discovered. This is the “discovery rule” and it allows a suit to be filed within a certain time after the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.

Additionally, the statute of limitation may be “tolled” — or paused — for a period of time. This may happen if the plaintiff was a minor (under 18) or mentally incompetent at the time the injury occurred. Also, statutes of limitation may be shortened through contract.

The table below is a list of civil statutes of limitations laws in Georgia for the types of disputes that are heard in Magistrate Court. 

Type of Claim

How Long You Have to File (Statute of Limitations)

Injury to Person

2 yrs. §9-3-33


1 yr. §9-3-33


2 yrs. §9-3-33

Injury to Personal Property

4 yrs. §9-3-32

Medical Malpractice

Medical: 2 yrs., max. of 5 from act §9-3-71


4 yrs. §9-3-30

Broken Promise or Breach of Contract (leases, security deposits, contractor agreements, sales agreements, etc…)

Written: 6 yrs. §9-3-24; Oral: 4 yrs. §9-3-26

Collection of a Debt on Account

4 yrs. §9-3-25


5 yrs. foreign judgment §9-3-20

 🌟 Did you know? Squabble has the status of limitations for all County dispute types coded right into the app.Wondering how much time you have to file? Check it out here.

How Do I File in Small Claims Court in Atlanta, GA (How do I file my Statement of Claim)?

You must file a sworn statement with the Clerk of Magistrate Court, describing the charges against the Defendant (the person or business against whom the claim is brought). This Statement of Claim provides each party with the reason for the lawsuit. An applicant may appear in person in the office of the Clerk of Magistrate Court at 185 Central Avenue, Suite TG-100, Atlanta, GA 30303 to have the Statement of Claim sworn or affirmed in person with a Clerk or notarized with a signature and seal. The paperwork can be filed at the public access terminals located in suite TG-100 185 Central Ave. SW, Atlanta, GA 30303.

The statement of claim should include the following:

  • The complete name, address and phone number of the plaintiff (and attorney, if he or she has one).
  • The complete name and street address of the defendant.
  • The damages, or the amount of money or property the plaintiff is seeking.
  • A brief statement explaining why the defendant is being sued, including the date(s) of the underlying incident(s).
  • Copies of all relevant documents, such as contracts, receipts and canceled checks. (Keep the original documents for your files.)

The Clerk of the Magistrate Court can provide you with the necessary forms and help with the filing process in Suite TG-100. The Clerk cannot give any legal advice, such as whom to sue or whether or not you will win.

You can also just avoid all of this when you Squabble. You answer super simple questions in the app or on the web and you’re taken on the journey from start to finish. All you need to do is sit back and watch the notifications roll in. Everything is taken care of.

🌟 Did you know?  Courts reject 36% of self-filed claims due to form or filing errors. Squabble’s Triple-Check  filing guarantee ensures that your small claims filing forms are completed properly.

  Squabble helps you File Your Small Claims Case in Minutes

How to serve someone in Atlanta, GA?

You, the Plaintiff (the one filing the action) must also have the proper person carry out “service of process”, which is a formal notification to the defendant that they have been sued. State Rules govern how this must be done. Service may be done by the Marshal’s Department for a fee per party or by a private process server. Filers in Atlanta typically have to coordinate appropriate service and monitor its success. With Squabble, all of this is taken care of and you’ll receive updates in the app and via email at each stage!

Confirm the service address is in the correct county.  Plaintiff(s) must confirm the address for service is in the correct county.  The Marshal’s Department will not issue a refund of a service fee if the Marshal’s Department determines the address for service is in the County that you have filed in. Below are websites that may be used to confirm an address is in the county in which you have filed. Be careful, these websites’ accuracy can’t be guaranteed. These rules vary by county in Atlanta – Fulton County’s link is listed below as an example.

The process of serving someone can be a bit of a headache, which is why we created Squabble so that you don’t have to worry about it. In fact, you don’t have to worry about any of these steps to file a small claims case in Atlanta. With Squabble, everything is taken care of in a timely and jurisdictionally appropriate manner.

  Squabble helps you File Your Small Claims Case in Minutes

What does the defendant have to do when they are sued in small claims court in Atlanta, GA? (Answer)

Once served with a civil claim, the Defendant has thirty (30) days to file an answer. If an answer is not filed within 30 days, the defendant is in default. A defendant may file an answer from the 31st to the 45th day upon payment of court cost. Here, you can take a look at the Answer/Counterclaim Form.

When I sue the defendant, can the Defendant sue me back in Atlanta, GA? (Counterclaim)

This is extremely rare because it’s just as confusing for the defendant to file a counterclaim against the plaintiff as it would be for the plaintiff to file on their own in the first place. Yes, the defendant may file a counterclaim against the plaintiff in Magistrate Court, if the counterclaim is related to the plaintiff’s original charge and the defendant’s total monetary claims are less than $15,000. Counterclaims are usually heard at the same time as the plaintiff’s claims. If the Judge rules in the defendant’s favor on a counterclaim, the defendant may collect damages from the plaintiff.

How Can I Negotiate a Settlement in Atlanta, GA? (i.e. Mediation)

At the discretion of the courts, mediation may take place prior to court to have the opportunity to speak to see if the matter can be resolved without a hearing. A mediator is provided by the court to assist the parties in discussing the matter, at no additional cost. If a settlement cannot be reached, the court sets up a hearing date and the case will be presented to the judge.

What happens if the defendant doesn’t respond to the case in Atlanta, GA? (Default)

If the defendant fails to file an answer within 45 days, the plaintiff may request a default judgment! This means you automatically win and will be entitled to your money. This happens about 50% of the time in small claims court in Atlanta!

  Squabble helps you File Your Small Claims Case in Minutes

What happens on My Day in Court, i.e. my Small Claims (Magistrate) Hearing in Atlanta, GA?

The court will set a hearing date after the defendant files an answer. The court will notify both parties of the date, time and location of the hearing. Both parties will have the right to present evidence and call witnesses. You should bring any relevant evidence with you to court; including copies of the contract, receipts, ledgers, photographs or other relevant items. If you use Squabble, you will be updated at each step of the way!

🌟 Did you know? A judge will dismiss your case if you lose your cool. Remember to remain polite and professional even if you disagree or are unhappy with a witness statement.

Can or Should I Bring Witnesses to Small Claims Court in Atlanta, GA?

If you have witnesses, try to bring them to the hearing if you can. If they can’t come, you can have them write a statement under oath called an affidavit. If assistance is needed to obtain the attendance of witnesses, a request for subpoena form should be sent to the Clerk of Magistrate Court along with the required fee. This usually isn’t required in small claims court in Atlanta, GA.

🌟 Did you know? Most small claims courts will allow you to bring signed witness statements to court. Make sure they include the witness’ name, their professional experience (if its relevant) and clearly detail how, where and when the witness saw or heard what happened. 

Where can I find Small Claims forms for Atlanta, GA?

In case you wanted to take on the process yourself, here’s a list of forms that you may need.

  1. Answer and/or Counterclaim
  2. Appeals
  3. Blank correspondence form
  4. Change of Address (PDF)
  5. Entry of Appearance
  6. Marshal Entry of Service Small Claims (PDF)
  7. Notice and Summons
  8. Notice to Pro Se Litigants (PDF)
  9. Procedures For Default Judgment Requests (PDF)
  10. Request for Default (PDF)
  11. Satisfaction of Judgment
  12. Statement of Claim
  13. Rule 31 Designation of Agent For Business Entity

If you don’t see the form you need, you may access additional Magistrate Court forms and procedures from the Council of Magistrate Court Judges.

We hope this post was helpful in explaining the basics of a small claims case in Atlanta, GA. As we’ve noted, there are some quirks depending upon the particular county in which you’re suing, whether it be Fulton County, Dekalb County, Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton, Douglas, DeKalb, Rockdale, Fayette, Henry, Cherokee, Forsyth, Spalding, Paulding, Newton, Walton, or Barrow.. You can also always contact the courthouse to get information about the proper Magistrate Court in your area. Below are the Magistrate Courts where judges preside over small claims cases in Atlanta in case you want to do some research.

Remember, with Squabble, all of this is taken care of and you don’t need to worry about whether your case will be filed in the proper jurisdiction and venue. Our Legal Team is on it! Now anyone in Atlanta, GA who is owed $15,000 has access to justice. We’re pretty confident that once you play explore on our web filing engine or the Squabble app, you’ll understand what we mean.

Fulton County Magistrate Court
136 Pryor St SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 613-5360

Cobb County Magistrate Court
32 Waddell Street
Marietta, GA 30090
(770) 528-8900

Gwinnett County Magistrate Court
Clerk’s Civil Office
75 Langley Dr.
P.O. Box 246
Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0246

Spalding County Magistrate Court
132 E Solomon St # 300,
Griffin, GA 30223
(770) 467-4321

Henry County Magistrate Court
1 Judicial CTR #260
McDonough, GA 30253
(770) 288-7700

DeKalb County Magistrate Court
556 N McDonough St
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 371-2261

Douglas County Magistrate Court
8700 Hospital Dr
Douglasville, GA 30134
(770) 920-7540

Rockdale County Magistrate Court
874 N. Main Street NW
Conyers, Georgia 30012
(770) 278-7800 

Clayton County Magistrate Court
9151 Tara Blvd.
Jonesboro, GA 30236
(770) 477-3443

Paulding County Magistrate Court
280 Constitution Blvd # 1109
Dallas, GA 30132
(770) 443-7533

Cherokee County Magistrate Court
90 North St.
Canton, GA 30114
(678) 493-6583

Fayette County Magistrate Court
1 Center Drive
Fayetteville, GA 30214
(770) 716-4230

Forsyth County Magistrate Court
1090 Tribble Gap Rd
Cumming, GA 30040
(770) 781-2211

Barrow County Magistrate Court
Barrow County Courthouse
652 Barrow Park Drive, Suite F
Winder, GA 30680
(770) 307-3050

Newton County Magistrate Court
1132 Usher St NW # 149
Covington, GA 30014
(770) 784-2050

Walton County Magistrate Court
303 S Hammond Dr.
Monroe, GA 30655
(770) 267-1301

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