fraternity small claims court

Chances are, you have a brother or two in your fraternity has fallen behind on their dues for a significant amount of money.  These brothers have worked with the treasurer and the previous treasurers to work out a payment plan which was supposed to bring them current.  However, they never seen to be catching up on their responsibilities.


This situation then leads to animosity amongst the brothers.  There is the camp that believes that fraternity isn’t a business, and that all problems can be worked out among brothers.

Then there is the other camp that believes that this brother is a mooch and stealing from the rest of the fraternity.  They see how he has the new iphone and went to Cancun for last spring break.  Come dues time though, he conveniently is broke as a joke.

So what is the solution?  The solution for a brother who won’t meet his financial obligations is to take him to small claims court.

This solution will probably seem drastic to some.  While I am firmly in the second camp that I described, I hate the idea of suing a brother as much as the next guy.  But the facts are pretty overwhelming that this is the right move.

Think about it – the brother is stealing from the rest of the fraternity.  The fraternity is still responsible for paying dues to nationals and the IFC for the brother.  The brother is taking full advantages of all the fraternity has to offer, despite not contributing and earning the right to do so.  Essentially, the responsible brothers are footing the bill for the irresponsible, and this will lead to an absolute catastrophe.

If you are going to take a brother to small claims court (not a difficult process – just google how to do it in your state) you must have all your ducks in a row.  Be sure you have brotherhood contracts signed by the brother in question.  Also, be sure you have documentation of all correspondence in regards to the dues collection with the brother.  If you do these two things, you will have a slam dunk case in court.

I did this in my fraternity, and the results were huge.  By taking the most delinquent brother to small claims court, it showed the rest of the brothers that the leadership team was going to hold the brotherhood to their commitments.  The other delinquent brothers paid their dues, because they didn’t want to be next in line.  As a result, the fraternity account grew, and what fraternity couldn’t use more money?

This is obviously a tough call to make for any fraternity leader.  When you went through your ritual though, you made a commitment to have the courage to stand up for what is right.  This is one of those situations that will put your conviction to the test.  Stand up for what is right, and your fraternity will benefit immensely.






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One thought on “Collect Fraternity Dues in Small Claims Court

  1. Another interesting thing to address is how to take a brother to small claims court WITHOUT legal documentation. This is not impossible. Take with you any receipts of previous dues payments (if any), your treasurer (or past treasurer) if an oral agreement was never reduced to writing (they can testify to such agreements made orally). A copy of the most recent budget with the amount dues is for that semester (and previous semesters) and all bank records from the chapter that demonstrate the deposit of everyone else’s dues payments (with the inference that he has not paid because his check was not deposited, as well as to demonstrate how much dues actually were). While it is far smarter to have contracts and agreements written and signed, this may not always be the case and the lack of such agreements does not mean a deadbeat can beat the system.

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