Function of Department
The Norton County District Court is one of six counties within the 17th Judicial District of the Kansas Judicial Branch. The counties include Decatur, Graham, Norton, Osborne, Phillips and Smith.
District courts are created by the Constitution. They are the trial courts of Kansas, with general original jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, including divorce and domestic relations, damage suits, probate and administration of estates, guardianships, conservatorships, care of the mentally ill, juvenile matters, and small claims. It is here that the criminal and civil jury trials are held. Kansas is divided into judicial districts, with varying numbers of judges in each district. There is a district court in each county, and an office of the clerk of the court where cases may be filed.
District Court FAQ
Where do I get legal forms?
Forms for name changes, divorces, expungements etc. are available at www.kansasjudicialcouncil.org. The website provides instructions on preparation and filing. Call the Norton County District Court, 785-877-5770, to obtain information on filing fees and fees for service.
In addition Kansas Legal Services provides legal forms at www.kansaslegalservices.org/FreeLegalForms
If you have a neighbor that is bothering you, can you file a petition for protection from abuse to get a restraining order?
Before you can get a Protection from Abuse Order, you and the person you want to have restrained must: Be residing together, or have formerly resided together, or be the parent of or living with a minor child who has suffered abuse by the party you are attempting to restrain. Abuse must have occurred. This means one of the following has occurred: The person has willfully attempted to cause you or a child bodily injury, or willfully or wantonly caused bodily injury, or the person has willfully placed, by physical threat, you or a child, in fear of imminent bodily injury, or the person has engaged in any sexual conduct with a child under 16 years of age
What is the difference between a civil restraining order and a protection from abuse restraining order?
A restraining order issued in a protection from abuse case must meet certain living requirements and abuse must have occurred. The restraining order issued in a protection from abuse matter prevents the party or parties from being around each other and a violation of the restraining order can result in criminal charges being filed. A civil restraining order can prevent someone from selling, disposing or going on certain property or prevent someone from doing something until a determination is made by the court.
Who can perform marriage ceremonies in Kansas? Are there any specific requirements?
Pursuant to K.S.A. 23-2504 the following are authorized to be officiating persons:
Any currently ordained clergyman or religious authority of any religious denomination or society; any licentiate of a denominational body or an appointee of any bishop serving as the regular clergyman of any church of the denomination to which the licentiate or appointee belongs, if not restrained from so doing by the discipline of that church or denomination; any judge or justice of a court of record;
any municipal judge of a city of this state; and any retired judge or justice of a court of record. The two parties themselves, by mutual declarations that they take each other as husband and wife, in accordance with the customs, rules and regulations of any religious society, denomination or sect to which either of the parties belong, may be married without an authorized officiating person.
Can I represent myself in my court case?
An individual has a right to represent themselves.
By Kansas law, neither District Court personnel , the judge, nor the judge’s assistant are allowed to give legal advice. You are allowed to file pleadings on your own, but if you are not sure how to proceed, what to file, or have legal questions, you should consult with an attorney. Should you desire information on low cost legal services or advice on how to proceed in court, you may contact Kansas Legal Services’ Access to Justice Advice Line at 1-800- 675-5860, or Kansas Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at 1-785-231-1191.
Do you do record searches over the phone?
Requests for records searches cannot be done over the phone. Requests for documents in specific cases can be made in writing and faxed to the appropriate court. There are public access terminals available with court case information in each court house.
Who can help me collect my child support?
An attorney can assist you or you can contact your local Department of Children and Families office and they will direct you to their child support enforcement agency or the 17th Judicial Court Trustee office.
What if I can't afford an attorney?
If you cannot afford an attorney and are coming to court for a criminal, traffic or juvenile matter, you can ask the court to appoint an attorney for you. To apply for a court-appointed attorney, you will be required to complete an application which includes financial information and the judge will determine whether you are eligible for a court-appointed attorney. You can be required to pay back the cost of a court-appointed attorney. In civil matters, the court cannot appoint an attorney to represent you except under some circumstances of contempt. In Kansas, there are Kansas Legal Services offices that charge rates based upon income. There are also some attorney's offices who do not charge for the first initial visit or they may charge a minimal fee for the first initial visit.
Why do I have to pay back attorney fees if an attorney is court-appointed to represent me?
K.S.A. 21-4603 provides that persons who are convicted of a crime must reimburse the state general fund for all or part of the attorney fees and expenses paid by the Kansas State Board of Indigents' Defense Services. K.S.A. 21-4610 also provides that persons who are placed on probation or whose sentence is suspended must, as a condition of probation, reimburse the state general fund for all or part of the attorney fees and expenses paid by the Kansas State Board of Indigents' Defense Services. Attorneys appointed on misdemeanor and juvenile matters are paid by the counties and the counties have adopted a policy similar to the state's policy concerning the reimbursement of attorney fees.
How do I get my probation transferred?
Probation transfers are handled by your probation officer.
How do I obtain older Probate Records or marriage licenses?
If you wish to obtain a copy of a record by mail, you may contact the clerk's office in writing or by e-mail. In your request, please be sure to include the case numbers or book and page location of the documents that you wish to have copied, if you have that information. The costs for copies and certification are outlined in the Open Records Act Office Procedures.
I need a restraining order.
This is what people often say to the Court Clerk when requesting an order to protect them from abuse or stalking. However, this term can be confusing, because a restraining order is only one kind of court order. Protection from Abuse and Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault actions are not a substitute for a Divorce/Custody/ or Separate Maintenance action in situations where the parties are married. You should contact a lawyer to determine if you should also file a Divorce / Separate Maintenance action.
How do I seek protection from abuse?
The protection from abuse process is designed to provide quick and immediate protection. However, the process may require time, expertise, or more than one court hearing. IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE FEAR FOR YOUR SAFETY, ALWAYS CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT! If you have questions, you should seek help from an attorney or victim services advocate. The Kansas Crisis Hotline (1-888-363-2287) or Kansas Legal Services (1-800-723-6953) may be able to help you find an attorney or advocate.
You will need to go in person to the Clerk of District Court office to seek a protection order.
How do I seek Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault?
The protection from stalking process is designed to provide quick and immediate protection. However, the process may require time, expertise, or more than one court hearing. IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE FEAR FOR YOUR SAFETY, ALWAYS CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT! If you have questions, you should seek help from an attorney or victim services advocate. The Kansas Crisis Hotline (1-888-363-2287) or Kansas Legal Services (1-800-723-6953) may be able to help you find an attorney or advocate.
You will need to go in person to the Clerk of District Court office to seek a protection order.
What is Small Claims Court?
The purpose of small claims court is to provide an informal procedure for people to settle small legal disagreements and collections without an attorney. There are no attorneys allowed, unless an attorney is personally suing someone else or someone else is suing an attorney. In that case, the other party is notified that they have the right to have an attorney also, or they can proceed without an attorney.
Each person involved in the suit will have the opportunity to go to court and present their side of the case to the District Magistrate Judge. Each side is also allowed to subpoena witnesses and present exhibits to help prove their case. Then, from the evidence provided by each party, the Judge rules on the case.
Procedures may vary from county to county in the state of Kansas. You could check with the Clerk of the District Court office if you are thinking about filing a small claims case in another county. Even though you may obtain judgment in Small Claims Court, the Court is not responsible for collections in the case. However, the Clerk of the District Court office will provide written instructions and form packets to assist you in doing garnishments for wages and/or bank accounts or you may obtain the forms from the www.kansasjudicialcouncil.org.
Who can be sued in Small Claims Court?
Restrictions that apply to small claims cases: Claims for money or property must be less than $4000.00 in value. A person filing must be 18 years of age, or be represented by someone 18 or over. The person being sued must be 18 years of age. There cannot be more than twenty (20) small claims cases filed by one individual or business in this court during any calendar year. There are two different filing fees required to file or begin a proceeding in small claims court:
- The filing fee for a claim of up to and including $500.00 is $47.50.
- The filing fee for filing a claim from $500.01 to $4000.00 is $67.50.
The person filing the case must fill out a form called a Petition. This form is provided by the Clerk of the District Court office. The person being sued must be able to be located so they can be legally served or given an official summons (or notice to appear) in court. It is your responsibility to furnish the address to the Clerk's office.
How Do I file a Small Claims Case?
If your claim meets all of the above requirements, you should go to the Clerk of the District Court office in the appropriate county and ask to file a small claims case.
- You will be given a Petition to complete stating your claim.
- The form may either be typed or hand written. If the form is hand written, please print so that the information is readable.
- Upon signing the Petition and paying of the filing fee as required, a hearing date is scheduled.
- A Summons, copy of your petition and a Defendant's Claim will be issued to the sheriff for service on the defendant. There is a $15.00 sheriff's service of process fee. A separate check or money order made payable to the County Sheriff's Office must accompany your petition. Do not combine the sheriff's fee with a check or money order for the filing fee, which is to be made payable to Clerk of District Court.
If you settle the case before the hearing date, notify the court at once so that the case can be dismissed.
Your Day in Court
Small claims court proceedings are conducted informally by the judge.
- Bring whatever evidence, documents, or other proof you need to support your case.
- You may subpoena witnesses and you or the judge may question them about the case. A $10.00 witness fee and mileage must be paid to subpoena a witness to insure a witness' appearance in court. There is a $15.00 sheriff's service of process fee that must accompany the subpoena. For each witness being subpoenaed, a check or money order made payable to County Sheriff's Office must be provided by party wishing to subpoena witnesses.
- The defendant will also be allowed to present their side of the case to the judge. If the defendant has filed a counterclaim against you that will be heard at the same time.
- The judge may make a decision immediately after hearing both sides or he may continue the case to another date.
- If the defendant was served and does not show up for the hearing, the judge may declare the defendant to be in default and award judgment to the plaintiff (you).
Collecting your money or property
- The Judgment Creditor is the person or business who has won the case.
- The Judgment Debtor is the loser of the case.
- A copy of the Journal Entry of Judgment is furnished to the Judgment Creditor and the Judgment Debtor.
- A form entitled “Judgment Debtor's Statement of Assets” will be attached to copy of the Journal Entry of Judgment, which is given to the Judgment Creditor.
- If the judgment is not paid or taken care of within 15 days, the copy of the Journal Entry of Judgment with the attached Judgment Debtor's Statement of Assets form is to be mailed by the Judgment Creditor to the Judgment Debtor by mail.
- The Judgment Creditor needs to obtain from the Post Office a certificate of mailing form (P.S. Form 3817). This form needs to be filed in the office of District Court to show the date that the forms were mailed to the Judgment Debtor.
- The Judgment Debtor has 30 days from the date of mailing to either pay the judgment or complete the form and return it to the Clerk of the District Court office. If they do not complete the form, at the request of the Judgment Creditor, the Judgment Debtor will be summoned back to court. This form is used to help collect the judgment by issuance of garnishments against wages or a bank account.
- The Judgment Debtor (loser) has 10 days after judgment is entered to file an appeal in writing to get a new hearing from a different judge.
- The Clerk of the District Court does have a Notice of Appeal form that you may complete.
- The filing fee for a small claims appeal is $195.00. Someone appealing a small claims case or attempting to collect a judgment granted in a small claims case does have the right to hire an attorney to assist them.
Please remember, it is up to the judgement creditor or an attorney to collect money or property. The court does not collect for you.
Janelle K. Morel
(Chief Clerk of District Court)
105 S. Kansas Avenue
Norton, KS 67654
P.O. Box 70
Norton, KS 67654
Office phone :
Monday- Friday except holidays
Related External Sites
District Court Personnel
- Janelle K. Morel-Chief Clerk of District Court
- Karen Glenn-Trial Court Clerk II
- Sierra Percival-Trial Court Clerk III
- Debra S. Anderson-Norton County Magistrate Judge
- 785-877-5735, fax 785-877-5722
- Preston A. Pratt-Chief Judge 17th Judicial District
- 785-877-5770, 785-877-5722 fax
- Terrilyn H. Stout-Administrative Assistant 17th Judicial District
- 785-877-5770, 785-877-5722 fax
- Susan K. Worcester- Official Court Reporter
- 785-421-2865, P.O. Box 70, Hill City, KS 67642
Lisa Dusin- Chief Court Services Officer 785-540-4325, 785-543-6832 fax, P.O. Box 564, Phillipsburg, KS 67661
Bryce Marble- Court Services Officer I 785-877-5775, 785-877-5722 fax, P.O. Box 70, Norton, KS 67654
Shannon Radke- Court Services Officer I 785-282-5142, 785-282-5145 fax, P.O. Box 273, Smith Center, KS 66967
Northwest Kansas Community Corrections
Ray G. Dreher- Assistant Director NWKCC, 785-877-5760, P.O. Box 70, Norton, KS 67654
Brady Tien- Intensive Supervision Officer, 785-877-5760, P.O. Box 70, Norton, KS 67654