Jo Rhett (jorhett) wrote,
Jo Rhett

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Wonderful online sites for small claims in California

Often web sites disappoint me in some fashion -- being incomplete, hard to use, or sometimes downright useless. Today was the opposite, I was happily surprised.

Lots and lots of useful, easy to read online information about filing small claims in California is available at

In particular, they have a EZ Legal File system.

I thought that this would be a fairly useless "help you fill in the clearly labeled boxes", but actually it is one of the most useful online systems I've used in recent memory. It asks you the relevant questions *AND ONLY THE RELEVANT QUESTIONS* based on the result of their previous question. And when you are done, it provides you with PDFs of all of the legal forms for filing your claim, along with several pages of instructions for the process. I kidd you not, use this site and all you have to do at the end is sign the pages it prints for you. It's brilliant.

I would note that it's significantly easier to use and better at bringing the ideas together than say, TurboTax - which always manages to ask you questions that aren't possible based on your previous answers...

One last note: none of the documents tell you this, so pay attention. When you get to the small claims counter they will demand that you have many, many copies of each of the documents. One for them. One for you. And one for each defendant you name in the suit. This isn't mentioned in the legal documents.

They tag each one with the case number and date received, and then give all but one of the copies back to you. You have to give the defendant's copies to your process server. RTFM -- that part is described pretty well in the documents.

Anyway, best of luck if you needed this info. I think we all hope we never do.

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