How to Petition the Circuit Court

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Each state has its own circuit court system, which has jurisdiction over most cases involving general disputes involving more than $4,000, such as contested wills, divorce, property disagreements and civil litigation. Circuit court consists of various divisions, including associate circuit, small claims, municipal and juvenile. Family court is perhaps the most well-known division of circuit court, and, in these courts, specially assigned judges hear divorce and custody cases. In order to file a motion or request to the circuit court for any reason, the public or attorneys must utilize the proper legal forms and procedure.

Consult with an attorney regarding the reason you wish to petition the circuit court. Many attorneys offer free consultations to help potential clients determine how to proceed in a legal matter. Describe the details of your case or the reason you wish to petition the court for feedback from an authority. Make certain you have a proper legal reason to petition the court before proceeding. Consider hiring an attorney to petition the court on your behalf, or decide to petition the court without assistance.

Find the phone number and address for the clerk of court in the county in which you wish to petition the circuit court. Each state has its own courts website with information about the various courts and clerks of court. Perform an online search to find your state's courts website.

Contact the office of the clerk of court to verify that a specific location is the proper place to file your petition. Describe the type of petition you wish to file. Ask if any forms are available online on the clerk of court website or if you must obtain the forms in person. Obtain the mailing address of the clerk of court and ask what filing fees are associated with the petition.

Complete the proper form needed to petition the court. Forms--also called motions--vary by purpose. For instance, courts require different forms for requesting a reduction in alimony than they do for disputing a will. Make certain you are completing the right form by doing an online search or verifying it with the clerk of court. Follow the instructions to complete the form exactly. Have the form notarized and then mail or deliver it to the clerk of court along with the proper filing fees.


  • This article is not intended to replace legal advice given by an attorney or other court representative.


About the Author

Angela Campbell began writing professionally in 1997 for Easley Publications in Easley, SC, and later for Gannett newspaper properties. A graduate of the University of South Carolina's mass communications and journalism program, she has won numerous South Carolina State Press Association awards for spot news reporting, business reporting, feature writing, photography and page design.

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