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State of Montana Website
Welcome to Gallatin County
Gallatin County Home
Amsterdam
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Belgrade
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Yellowstone
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Job Openings

Key Differences between
Civil Complaints & Small Claims
Justice Court
CIVIL COURT
SMALL CLAIMS COURT
$50 Filing Fee
$30 Filing Fee
Can be filed anytime
Must initiate with certified demand letter
Suggest demand letter
Wait time – 10 days after mailing certified demand letter before filing
Answer Fee – $30 per each defendant (copy must be mailed to Plaintiff by Defendant)
$20 Appearance fee paid by Defendant on the day of trial or before
Counterclaim – no charge
(copy mailed to Plaintiff by Defendant)
Counterclaim – $20 fee
(must be served by Sheriff or Process Server to Plaintiff)
$20 Judgment Fee from prevailing party (recoverable)
No Judgment Fee
Preprinted forms
Preprinted forms
May file in person or via mail with proper fees (e-mail or fax is not a proper filing)
Must file in PERSON – Plaintiff must be Sworn to Complaint
Money/Value limit – $12,000.00
plus incurred fees
Money/Value limit – $7,000.00
plus incurred fees
Service of Summons
Service of Order
May file eviction/Action for Possession cases
CANNOT file real estate eviction cases (Action for Possession)
Attorney may be required – see Rule 2, 4, and 7 MJCCRCP
No Attorney unless ALL parties are represented by an attorney
Defendant may live anywhere in Montana
Defendant MUST live in county or must be able to be served in the county
20 day response period; 10 days on Action for Possession Cases.
Mediation set if Answer filed within 14 days
Required hearing set within 40 days of the issuance of court order setting trail
Default Judgment may be granted without Pre-Trial if no answer submitted within 20days; 10 days on Action for Possessions
Default Judgment may be granted at time of trail
Judgment – Same effect in either court
Judgment – Same effect in either court
Execution Procedures – same
Execution Procedures – same
Appeal or Transfer - $20 transfer fee payable to Justice court; must appeal within 30 days from signed judgment date.
Appeal - matters of law only must be appealed within 10 days of signed judgment date

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Gallatin County, Montana
311 West Main Street
Bozeman, MT 59715