Civil matters are filed in the Civil Division, located on the 1st floor of the Buncombe County Courthouse. Civil matters are filed in one of three court divisions depending on the relief being sought: Small Claims Court; District Court; and Superior Court. Small Claims Court are civil matters involving less than $5,000.00 in controversy and these are heard by a magistrate. Forms are available for Small Claims actions and the proceedings are less formal than District Court and Superior Court.
The Clerk of Superior Court and staff are specifically prohibited by law from giving you legal advice.
Absolute Divorces & Resuming Maiden Name
The filing fee for an absolute divorce is $225.00. Service of the summons and complaint must be made on your spouse – the Sheriff’s service fee is $30.00.
Resuming a prior name or maiden name:
Once you have a divorce judgment, you may resume your maiden name through the Clerk’s Office for a $10.00 fee. The resumption of maiden name forms are located in the Civil Division of the Clerk’s Office. Additionally, you may resume the name of a prior deceased husband or previously divorced husband (if you have children with that husband’s surname) by using the same forms as are located in the Civil Division of the Clerk’s Office. You will need a copy of the divorce or death certificate to attach to the application forms.
Collection of Judgment
Typically, a judgment is enforced by having the Clerk issue a Writ of Execution. A Writ of Execution is an order commanding the Sheriff to seize and sell the defendant’s property in order to satisfy your judgment. You may go through the execution process as many times as you like during the 10-year life of the judgment.
Small Claims Court
Small Claims are civil matters involving less than $5,000.00 in controversy and which are heard by a magistrate. Small Claims actions usually must be filed in the county where the defendant resides.
Forms are available for Small Claims actions and the proceedings are less formal than District and Superior Court. Generally, Small Claims actions are heard within 30 days from the filing of the action. Examples of Small Claims actions include landlord-tenant disputes; complaints for money owed; and complaints seeking the recovery of personal property. The statutory filing fee for Small Claims is $96.00, which is made payable to the Clerk of Superior Court. Additionally, the Sheriff’s service fee is $30.00 per defendant. If you are filing your small claim by mail, be sure to
include two separate checks to cover these fees: $96.00 made payable to the Clerk of
Superior Court and $30.00 per defendant made payable to the Sheriff's Department. [Small Claims Forms]
A foreign judgment is a process by which a judgment from another jurisdiction, such as another state, county, or federal court, is placed on record in Buncombe County for the purpose of collecting on said judgment. In order to become effective the party filing the judgment must notify the defendant of the filing and inform them that they have thirty (30) days to file any objections.
Payment of Judgment
You may pay a judgment by making your payment at the Clerk’s Office. To completely pay a judgment into the Clerk’s Office, you must pay the total amount owed, including court costs and interest.
To make payment on a judgment into the Clerk’s Office, you must pay in cash or certified funds. All payments received are mailed to the plaintiff and credited against the judgment. We will notify the plaintiff when our records indicate the judgment is paid in full. If it is not canceled by the plaintiff within 10 days, we will cancel the judgment.
To mail your payment on a judgment please send us a letter with the file number and case caption of the judgment you are paying, as well as your full name, address and telephone number. Clearly indicate in your letter that you wish to pay a civil judgment. If you would like a receipt from our office, please request one in your letter and enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for its
Civil Judgments and Liens
A civil judgment for money is valid for 10 years and may be extended by the creditor for an additional 10 year period. Additionally, a civil judgment acts as a lien against all real property owned by the defendant and will attach to all real property acquired in the future, for as long as the judgment is valid. Typically, a civil judgment is picked up by the various credit reporting agencies that court records daily. Once noted on a credit report a civil judgment may seriously impair a debtor’s ability to receive loans and other credit.
The judgment creditor (party awarded the judgment) may also have a Writ of Execution issued by the Clerk, ordering the Sheriff to collect the judgment from the debtor. If the debtor does not pay the Sheriff, the Sheriff may seize and sell any available property in order to satisfy the judgment. Judgment collection procedures are discussed below.
Many liens are also filed in the Clerk’s Office, including State and Federal tax liens, Employment Security Liens, and Material men’s Liens. If you are a General Contractor or Subcontractor and have not been paid on a project, you may be able to file a Claim of Lien in our office for a nominal fee. There are no forms available for Claims of Lien - it is recommended that you consult with an attorney to advise you whether a Claim of Lien should be filed, and if so, to draft this document for you. The Clerk’s staff cannot advise you about your legal rights.
District & Superior Court
District Court has jurisdiction over actions appealed from Small Claims Court; domestic / family law cases; and actions seeking $10,000 in money damages or less. Superior Court has jurisdiction over matters appealed from the Clerk of Court (except in adoption cases) and actions seeking more than $10,000 in money damages.
Unlike Small Claims matters no forms are available for filing a civil action in District or Superior Court, and the legal process is much more formal. You are advised to consult with a qualified attorney for actions in these courts.
The filing fee for District Court cases is $150.00. Uncontested divorce cases are $225.00. The filing fee for Superior Court cases is $200.00. Sheriff fees for service are in addition to these fees.
Judgment Creditor's Duty to Cancel & Credit Judgments
If you are a judgment creditor (person who was awarded a judgment) and have received
payments from the defendant, those payments MUST be reflected on the judgment in our office. Credits and cancellations of a judgment should be made immediately but in no event later than 60 days from receiving the payment. Your failure to notify the Clerk’s Office of payments on a judgment may make you liable for the defendant’s damages, attorney’s fees, and you may also be fined by the court.
To notify our office of a payment on a judgment you or your attorney of record may visit in person with valid photo ID to have one of our staff credit or cancel the judgment. If you would prefer to do this by mail, you may send us a signed and notarized Notice of Credit or Notice of
Clerk of Superior Court
Attention: Civil Judgments
60 Court Plaza
Asheville, NC 28801
Remember to have the file number and case caption on the Notice – otherwise, we will have to
return it to you for correction.