Topic What is it? Where do I go?
Adoption Legally taking parental responsibilities for a child. The Family Court where the minor or the petitioner resides.
Child Protection Proceedings Protection of a child under age 18 in situations where the child is being abused or neglected. The Family Court where the minor resides or the offense against the child occurred. Initial reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect should be made to law enforcement and/or F.I.A.
Claims Against the State Cases against the State of Michigan. The Court of Claims is located in the Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing.
Conservatorship The determination of who has the legal duty and power to manage and protect the estate of a person under age 18, or the estate of a person 18 years or older, who, because of some legal disability such as incompetence, is unable to manage the estate themselves. The Probate Court where the person resides, or, if the person is a nonresident where the property is located. However, if the person is under age 18, and the matter arises out of a protective proceeding, a delinquency proceeding or a domestic relations custody case, then the Family Court.
Custody The determination of which person shall be responsible for primary care, of child(ren) under the age of 13. The court where the divorce judgment was granted. If there was no divorce, then the Family Court where the plaintiff resides.
Decedent's Estates A case involving the administration by the court of the assets of a deceased or disappeared person. The Probate Court where the deceased resided or if the deceased was not a resident of Michigan, in the county where the deceased left property.
Delinquency An offense committed by a child under 17 years of age which would be a criminal offense if committed by an adult, including misdemeanor traffic offenses.
Delinquency cases may also include status offenses such as Home Incorrigibility. Home Truancy, School Incorrigibility and School Truancy.
The Family Court where the minor resides or the offense was committed
Divorce The termination of a marriage. The Family Court where either party resides.
Driver's License Restoration A hearing at the end of a period of license revocation or suspension to reinstate driving privileges. The Circuit Court where the person resides.
Emancipation The legal way a minor between the ages of 16 to 18 can be granted adult civil rights, except those otherwise prescribed by law. The Family Court where the minor resides.
FelonyThe most serious category of criminal offenses punishable by more than 1 year in prison.Felonies involving persons under 17 years of age are handled as delinquency cases in the Family Court where the minor resides. In some situations, the charge may be waived to the criminal division of the Circuit Court or can carry adult sentencing penalties in the Family Court. For felonies involving persons 17 years or older, the District Court where the offense occurred handles the initial stages of arraignment on the complaint and preliminary examination. If the District Court finds sufficient evidence, the case is bound over or transferred to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court then handles the case after bind over including the arraignment on the information, pretrial, trial, plea and sentencing. If the defendant intends to plead guilty before a pretrial, the plea and sentencing will be handled in the District Court courtroom. The file will be transferred to the county clerk's office after sentencing.
General Civil Cases involving lawsuits between two or more parties seeking money damages, injunctions, or equitable relief In general it depends on the amount of the dispute. Claims of $25,000 or less are handled in the District Court. Claims greater than $25,000 are handled in the Circuit Court. Only the Circuit Court can handle cases involving equitable relief. Venue may be proper in more than one court location. Typically, a case may be filed either where the defendant resides, has a place of business, conducts business or has a registered office. Sometimes the case may also be filed where the action arose.
Guardianship The determination of who has the legal duty and power to care for a person under age 18 years or a person 18 years or older, who because of some legal disability such as incompetence, is considered unable to care for him/herself. The Probate Court where the person resides or is found. However, if the person is under age 18, and the matter arises out of a protective proceeding, a delinquency proceeding or a domestic relations custody case, then the Family Court.
Landlord/Tenant Proceedings to recover possession of premises and/or obtain a money judgment. The District Court where the premises are located. If there is a claim for a money judgement on a landlord/tenant case, the District Court has jurisdiction up to $25,000. If a claim for money judgement exceeds that amount, the District Court will determine the possession issue and the Circuit Court will determine the money portion. The case will not leave the District Clerk's possession until the money judgment is entered, since all judges have Circuit authority..
Marriage The creation of a legal relationship between a husband and wife. The District or Probate Court.
Mentally Impaired Proceedings Cases involving mental illness or development disabilities. The Probate Court where the mentally ill person resides.
Misdemeanor Crimes of a less serious nature that usually carry a maximum jail term of one year, including traffic misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are handled by the District Court where the offense took place. Some misdemeanors are punishable by more than one year in jail but are processed in the same manner as felonies. If the case involves a juvenile under 17 years of age, the case would be handled as a delinquency case in the Family Court.
Municipal Civil Infractions Non-traffic civil infractions such as building code, nuisance, trail ways, dog, park and curfew offenses that are violations of a local ordinance. The District Court.
Name Changes Actions involving change of names. The Family Court where the petitioner has resided for a minimum 1-year period.
Parenting Time The determination of time spent with the non-custodial parent. The Family Court.
Parking Tickets Improper parking violations. See the section under traffic and parking Civil Infractions.
Paternity The determination of legal fatherhood. The Family Court where the plaintiff resides.
Personal Protection Orders (PPO) Actions seeking protection from individuals for criminal stalking or domestic abuse. Filing for a PPO is handled in the County Clerk's office. Any judge of the Otsego County Court System will issue an order and handle the hearing.
Small Claims Cases where the amount claimed does not exceed $1,750. There are no lawyers or juries and no right to appeal. The Family Court judge handles these cases.
State Law Civil Infractions Non-traffic civil infractions that are violations of a state law. The District Court.
Support The determination of the amount of money for care of a child or spouse. The court where the divorce judgment was granted. If there was no divorce, then the Family Court where the plaintiff resides.
Traffic and Parking Civil Infractions Traffic offenses not serious enough to be classified as crimes, but serious enough to deserve sanctions other than jail. They include minor traffic violations such as speeding and parking violations. The District Court.
Waiver of Parental Consent of Abortion Cases involving minors seeking an abortion without parental consent. The Family Court where the minor resides
Wills and Trusts Issues concerning the validity or interpretation of a will or trust. Also, the safekeeping of wills. The Probate Court where the deceased resided or the estate is located.