Guide to Small Claims Proceedings in the District Court - If the Creditor or Debtor Fails to Appear at the Disclosure Hearing

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If you, the creditor, fail to appear at the disclosure hearing, the disclosure is terminated. To terminate a disclosure means that you must wait six months before requesting another disclosure hearing. Each new disclosure hearing requires a new filing fee and service of the notice of disclosure on the debtor.

If the debtor fails to appear at the disclosure hearing, a civil order of arrest will be issued by the court upon the request of the creditor. If you want a civil order of arrest, you will have to file a written request with the court stating that you know of no valid reason for the non-appearance of the debtor.

The clerk's office has forms entitled "Request for Civil Order of Arrest." The request must also contain the present address of the debtor. The clerk will arrange for the arrest of the debtor, but you must pay the sheriff's office a fee for the arrest. This cost can be added to the amount of the judgment. The civil order of arrest directs the sheriff to arrest the debtor on a day that the court is in session and bring the debtor to court. (The sheriff is not to take the person to jail, but may release the debtor on his or her personal recognizance and order the debtor to appear at court at a specific date and time.)

When the debtor is arrested and brought to the court, the clerk will immediately notify you to appear at court. If the disclosure hearing cannot take place (due to the unavailability of you, the creditor, or the judge or if the court is simply too busy), the "personal recognizance" of the debtor can be taken, i.e. the debtor is released and promises to appear in court on another date. If a debtor fails to appear in court after having been given a "personal recognizance," a civil order of arrest will be issued again if you so request. A debtor who fails to appear for the disclosure or contempt hearing after being released upon the debtor's personal recognizance commits a class E crime.

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