Small Claims Document Preparation
Welcome to the Pine Tree Legal Assistance Small Claims Forms Preparation Tools.
Use these tools to prepare forms in a small claims case. In Maine Small Claims Court is for claims that are $6,000 or less.
- Using the HotDocs Links to Prepare Your Forms
- Starting Your Claim
- Serving The Papers
- If you already have a judgement
- Feedback about HotDocs
Tips on using the HotDocs Interviews to complete Small Claims forms
- When you get to the site, you can either register or go directly to the "form" without registering. If you just want to view - or view and print - your results, you don't need to register. Registration allows you to also save your results, so that you can come back and view them later. Also, if you are missing some required information, registering would allow you to come back to the site later to add that information, without having to start over again. Your stored data is private; no one can look at it unless you give them your user name and password.
- When you click on one of the links below, you may see an Internet Explorer "security warning." You can safely go ahead and load all of the information on the page.
- These automated forms work best if you use the most recent version of Internet Explorer or another up-to-date browser. If you have trouble with browser compatability, you can still use our older interactive .pdf forms here.
To use the program, follow the links below. This will take you to a national legal services website.
There you will find an on-line interview that will help
- You prepare the forms.
- Print the completed forms and use them.
To begin a case in Small Claims Court you need to prepare a Statement of Claim.
You can serve the papers on the defendant by sending a Notice of Service. If the defendant does not sign and return the Notice of Service within twenty days, you will have to try another way to serve the papers. If the defendant does sign the Notice of Service you must file the original and two copies of the Notice with the Court, along with your Statement of Claim.
If you will not file more than three small claims cases during this calendar month you may request the Clerk to arrange to serve the papers on the defendant by filing an Affidavit and Request for Service. This can be by mail or by a deputy sheriff. You will have to pay for service unless the court orders that you can proceed without payment of fees.
If you have no money to pay court or sheriff's fees, you may file an Application to Proceed without Payment of Fees. There is a lot of financial information you will need to provide along with that Application.
If the defendant does not return the Acknowledgment or if you believe it would be futile to request the defendant to accept and acknowledge the papers you may try service by certified or registered mail. You may send the copy of the Statement of Claim (with any attachments) to the defendant first class, postage prepaid, registered or certified, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. You will have to get the necessary forms for this type of mail at the post office. You should advise the Post Office that when it delivers the Statement of Claim it should have the defendant sign the green card and mail it back to you. You then must file the original of the Statement of Claim, the filing fee and green card with the signature of the defendant on it with the clerk within 20 days of the date on which the post office delivered the Statement of Claim.
If either one of the two methods above does not work, you then must arrange with the sheriff’s office to have service made by a deputy. For deputy service you should give the sheriff’s office the original and the copy of the Statement of Claim. The deputy will give the defendant the copy and make a return of service on the original and return that to you. You must file the original with the return of service with the clerk within 20 days of the service and pay the filing fee.
If you already have a small claims judgment and want to schedule a "Disclosure Hearing" in court to try to collect that judgment, use the Request for Disclosure Hearing.
These are test versions. We think that they are working pretty well, but there may still be bugs. Please let us know. You can submit comments when you reach the end of the online interview. Many thanks to those who are helping us test this program.
Thanks to LEXIS-NEXIS for their generous donation of the HotDocs document assembly software we used to create this online tool.
Updated February 2011; partially updated October 2013 and April 2014