Generally, the judge's decision will be announced at the end of a small claims trial. The court clerk should give you an order at the conclusion of your case if the judgment is in your favor. However, sometimes the judge will want to take additional time to review the evidence or research the law before entering a final judgment. When this occurs, the parties will receive a copy of the final judgment in the mail.
If the judgment is in your favor and you receive payment, you must sign and give to the other party an order to satisfy, which the other party must file with the court clerk to end the case.
If you don't receive satisfaction within 30 days, you may execute on the judgment. This means you may take action through the sheriff's office. The cost of execution will be returned to you if and when you collect on your claim.
Either side may appeal to the county court if the amount of the dispute exceeds $20, not including costs. If you feel that the decision was unfair and you have originally asked for more than $20, you may appear in front of the county court judge and go through the trial as before, completely retrying the case in front of a new judge.
If you want to appeal, you must file a Notice of Appeal in the county court within 10 days after the case was decided in the court of small claims. Ask the clerk of the small claims court for help if you need it.
Also, the party you are suing can appeal. If this happens, be sure to appear at the second trial or the judge in the county court may rule against you. The clerk at the county court will notify you if the defendant has appealed.
An appeal to county court involves a much more formal proceeding than the one in small claims court. In many cases, it will be necessary to have an attorney assist you with an appeal.
Questions for Your Attorney
- Do I need to have an attorney to file an appeal?
- If my case is remanded does that mean I get a new trial?
- How long does it generally take to get the judge's decision by mail if the judgment wasn't announced at the trial?
Related Resources on Lawyers.comsm
- Start the process with our Texas Small Claims Worksheet
- Next in the Small Claims series: Collecting a Judgment in Texas
- Success In Small Claims Court
- Small Claims Court Terms
- Defending a Small Claims Court Case
- Visit our Small Claims Court Forum for more help