46th Circuit Court
The Circuit Court is the trial court with the broadest powers in Michigan. In general, the circuit court handles all civil cases with claims of more than $25,000 and all felony criminal cases (cases where the accused, if found guilty, could be sent to prison).
The family division of circuit court handles all domestic relations cases regarding divorce, paternity, adoptions, personal protection actions, emancipation of minors, treatment and testing of infectious disease, safe delivery of newborns, name changes, juvenile offenses and delinquency, juvenile guardianship, and child abuse and neglect. In addition, the circuit court hears cases appealed from other trial courts within its jurisdiction and from some state government administrative agencies.
Friend of the Court
The Friend of the Court office is part of the family division of the circuit court and assists with implementing and enforcing orders related to custody, parenting time, child support and spousal support.
87-A District Court
Citizens have more contact with the District Court than any other court. This is because the District Court has exclusive jurisdiction over minor traffic cases, criminal cases where punishment is less than one year in jail, arraignments, bail, housing evictions, payroll garnishments, small claims, and land contract forfeitures. This court also issues search warrants, arrest warrants, peace bonds, handles civil cases under $25,000, and performs civil weddings.
Otsego County Drug Court
The mission of the drug court is to stop the abuse of alcohol and other drugs and related criminal activity. The judge, court administrator, prosecutor and defender, along with representatives from treatment provider agencies, law enforcement, probation services, and other community-based organizations work together to develop a plan for treatment and rehabilitation of chronic drug offenders. Defendants have the right not to participate in the drug court but to remain instead on the criminal court docket and try the merits of their case.
Otsego County Probate Court
Technically, the term “probate” refers to the process of legally establishing the validity of a will. However, the Probate Court and judge has jurisdiction over a wide variety of matters. The Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction in such matters as guardianships, commitment of mentally ill persons, as well as supervision of the administration of wills, estates, and trusts of deceased persons as well as emancipation of minors.
A court administrator is appointed to assist the judges with administrative matters, including policies and procedures. Court policies, procedures and rules are governed by one or more of the following authorities: Federal and Michigan Constitutions, Federal or Michigan Statutes, Michigan Court Rules, Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Orders, directives from the State Court Administrator’s Office, directives from state regulatory agencies, or local directives from the Chief Judge.
Michigan Court of Appeals
This is the court where parties can go if they are not satisfied with the result of their cases in Circuit Court. There are 36 judges on the Court of Appeals. Three Court of Appeals judges form a panel to hear each case. The decision of the panel is final except for those cases reviewed by the Supreme Court.
Michigan Supreme Court
To attain access to this court, attorneys representing cases that have been decided by lower courts file an application for “leave to appeal.” The Court decides whether or not to grant leave to appeal and hear the case. If the Court denies the appeal, the decision of the Court of Appeals stands.
The Supreme Court is also charged with the general administrative supervision of all courts in the state. As part of that supervisory role, the Court establishes rules for practice and procedure in all the courts. This includes the Michigan Court Rules (MCR) and Supreme Court Administrative Orders.
Michigan Court of Claims
As a general rule, a state cannot be sued without its consent. Michigan granted consent by establishing the Court of Claims. The Court of Claims is part of the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County and has jurisdiction in all claims against the State of Michigan over $1,000.