Katrina Johnson – Department Manager
Phone (318) 357-2293 Fax (318) 357-2284
CIVIL SUITS AND SUCCESSIONS:
The Civil Department is responsible for the filing of all Civil Suits and Successions (Probate). All pleadings, documents and exhibits relating to these suits are filed with the Civil Department and a notation is made of that filing on the pleading. A ledger is maintained for each suit with a listing of each document filed and the cost for filing. This department also prepares a daily index of all suits filed.
The Civil Processing Department is responsible for issuing citations, subpoenas, writs and other process of the Court as requested by the parties involved. These documents are sent to the Sheriff’s Office for service.
Civil pleadings may be filed by Fax, provided the original document, filing fee and Fax fee are received by the Clerk’s Office within seven (7) days. Please use Fax No. (318) 357-2284 for Fax filings to the Civil Department.
The Civil Department provides assistance to those persons wishing to file a Petition for Protection from Domestic Abuse. Forms are available and clerical assistance will be given if needed.
Adoptions are handled by the Civil Department. All adoption records are confidential records; therefore, anyone wishing to view any proceedings involving an adoption must obtain a valid court order.
The Civil Department collects an advance deposit for court costs when each suit is filed and collects costs as needed for later filings, for the issuance of subpoenas for trial and deposition, and for the costs associated with a jury trial.
All pleadings must be filed with the Clerk of Court before they are presented to the Judge. Anyone who is not sure of funds on deposit in a suit should phone the Civil Department before sending a pleading without payment. If insufficient funds are on deposit, the pleading cannot be filed or processed.
REGISTRY OF COURT:
The Civil Department maintains the Registry of Court accounts. It is in these accounts that “disputed money” is placed pending the outcome of the lawsuit. The money in these accounts is only accessible by court order.
The Minute Clerk for each division keeps the minutes of court when in session and transcribes them into a Minute Book. The Minute Clerk also administers the oath to jurors, witnesses and anyone appearing in court for testimony, and files exhibits offered into evidence in open court.
Appealed lawsuits from the Tenth Judicial District Court, Natchitoches Parish, are under the jurisdiction of the Third Circuit, Court of Appeal, Lake Charles, LA. Appealed suit records are prepared by the Clerk’s Office and forwarded to the Court of Appeal in accordance with the Rules of Court for the Third Circuit.
The Civil Department assists the general public in retrieving civil and probate records and making copies of needed files, for a copy charge of $1.00 per page. Civil searches may be requested, in writing, for a $10.00 per name search fee, payable in advance.
The Clerk of Court and his staff are by law prevented from rendering legal advice or legal services except as provided by the Constitution or other laws of the State of Louisiana. The State of Louisiana does not supply the Clerks of Court with a generic package of legal forms to be used in our courts.
An individual has the right to act as his or her own attorney; however, he or she may be better served by consulting a professional trained in both the process of law and the application of that law.
10jdc.org This website provides legal information to self represented litigants. It includes some forms for divorces. It does not include specific advice for cases. It is always recommended that you seek professional representation if possible.
CLERK BOOK SUITS (SMALL CLAIMS)
If you are a plaintiff filing a small claims suit in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, you must assume the position of representing yourself in a court of law. Before you file you may wish to consult an attorney to determine if filing the clerk’s suit is proper for your particular situation.
THE CLERK OF COURT EMPLOYEES, JUDGES AND COURT PERSONNEL CANNOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.
The amount of claim for the clerk’s suit cannot exceed $5,000.00, plus costs and interest.
You, as plaintiff, will be held responsible for accruing court costs. If costs exceed your deposit you will be billed for the additional costs.
THE PLAINTIFF MUST COMPLETE THE PETITION AND HAVE HIS SIGNATURE NOTARIZED BEFORE FILING. A sample form for a petition/affidavit is located under “FORMS” on this website.
Once the suit is filed, a citation is issued to the defendant. Defendant has ten (10) days from the date citation was served to respond, answer, or deny or contest the matter. The Clerk’s office will mail you a notification of service or will notify you if service cannot be made. If defendant wishes to settle the matter, the defendant should contact you. You should contact the Clerk’s office to obtain the amount of court costs thus far incurred, as well as the charge for dismissal.
If the defendant files an answer or denial, a copy will be sent to you. It will be up to you to request that the case be set for trial. You may obtain the form to do so at the Clerk’s office. Once set for trial, notification will be sent to all parties by the Clerk’s office.
If no answer is filed within ten (10) days from date of service, you may request judgment be entered against the party sued. This request must be made IN WRITING to the Clerk of Court. We will then prepare a judgment and submit it, along with the entire suit file, to the judge for his or her consideration. The judge will either sign the judgment based on the documents filed with your petition or will order that a hearing be held. If a hearing is required, notification will be sent to all parties.
If the defendant answers or if the Judge sets a hearing you must be prepared to represent yourself and/or your case in open court, before a judge. You must bring any evidence or supporting documents of your claim to the hearing.
If a judgment is rendered in your favor, upon signing by the Judge it will be recorded in the Clerk’s office in the parish Mortgage records. Notice of Signing Judgment will be prepared by the Clerk’s office and sent to all parties. The defendant has thirty (30) days from the date of mailing of the Notice of Signing Judgment or from service of the Notice of Signing Judgment in which to file an appeal.
Rendition of Judgment is no guarantee that you will collect. You must pursue the needed steps to collect.
If no appeal is taken you will be in a position to file a garnishment against the defendant’s wages. At the time of filing of the garnishment petition you will need to pay approximately $250.00 in filing and service costs. You may obtain the form for the garnishment petition at the clerk’s office. You must be able to furnish the name and service address for defendant’s employer when you file the garnishment.
You may contact the Civil Suit Department of the Clerk’s office at (318)357-2293 for more information.
Name and address of the Clerk of Court:
David Stamey, P.O. BOX 476, NATCHITOCHES, LA 71458-0476