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Small Claims
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Circuit Court District Division - Small Claims (e-Filing)

e-filing is now available for small claims cases that started electronically (not in paper) at ALL District Division locations

Basic Definitions

Attachment - A document/process requiring Court action by which the Plaintiff places a lien upon real or personal property of the Defendant.  Attachments are available only after a judgment has been obtained.  Pre-judgment attachments are no longer available in small claims cases.  There are  several  ways to obtain an attachment:

Petition to Attach with Notice - In this instance, the Plaintiff files the Petition to Attach with the court but does not request the court to take action on the Petition until the Defendant has been notified and has had a chance to respond.

Petition to Attach without Notice - In this case the Plaintiff files the Petition with the court but requests that the court take action before the Defendant is notified. It is the Plaintiff's burden to show the court why the Defendant should not first be notified of the request for the attachment. Ex parte relief is often called "extraordinary" relief because it is done without notice to the other party which is not favored.

Certificate of Judgment - A document issued by the court, generally signed by the Clerk, certifying the existence and amount of a judgment issued by the Court.

Claim - The original complaint filed by the Plaintiff.

Contempt - A finding that a party has not done what the Court has ordered that party to do and the Court has determined that nothing made it impossible for that party to comply.

Counterclaim - An action brought by the Defendant against the Plaintiff at the same time as the Plaintiff's filing, and involving the same situation.

Default - The Defendant, having been served with the small claim, fails to respond.

Defendant - The Defendant is the person/entity who is being sued.

Judgment - A judgment is issued by the Court, either after the Defendant defaults or after a hearing.

Judgment for Defendant - The Plaintiff has NOT proven the case and no money is awarded.

Judgment for Plaintiff - The Plaintiff has proven the case and is awarded money that the Defendant has to pay.

Military Service Statement - A form available online  or completed through TurboCourt, in which a party verifies that the Defendant is not in active military service. Federal law provides protection from civil process for those on active military duty.  This form had been referred to as an “Affidavit of Military Service.”

Motion – The party who has obtained a judgment may file a motion with the court, instead of a Petition to Attach, requesting a post judgment attachment.

Motion for Contempt for Non Compliance with a Payment Order - The Plaintiff files this document which asks the Court to find the Defendant in contempt, if, after the Court orders the Defendant to pay a judgment by periodic payments, the Defendant fails to do so and further has the ability to do so. This form had been referred to as an “Affidavit of Non-Compliance.”

Periodic Payment - The Plaintiff can ask the Court to order the Defendant to make installment payments by filing a Motion for Periodic Payments.

Plaintiff - The Plaintiff claims that the Defendant owes money. The Plaintiff is the person/entity that files the small claim.

Record Certified Copy – A judgment in a small claims matter may also be secured by real estate by recording a certified copy of the judgment in the County Registry of Deeds in which the property is located.

RSA - The "Revised Statutes Annotated" are the laws enacted by the N.H. Legislature. "RSA" will generally be followed by a number which refers to the chapter and section of a particular law.

Statute - A law enacted by the N.H. Legislature.

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