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Answering questions about Michigan courts

Most residents of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, are law-abiding. However, there may come a time when some have a need for criminal defense or other business in court. At those times, they will want to know about the what different courts do.

What does the circuit court do?

Michigan circuit courts have broad powers. They handle all of the civil cases that involve claims of over $25,000. They also handle all felony criminal cases, which are cases in which the accused person could be sent to prison if he or she is found guilty.

What about family issues?

The circuit court also has a family division, which handles marital, children's and family issues. Those issues include divorce, adoptions, paternity, emancipation of minors, name changes, juvenile delinquency and many other issues.

How many circuit courts are there in Michigan?

There are 57. Each has a judge who is elected to a six-year term.

What do district courts do?

District courts have contact with more people than any other type of court because of the kinds of cases they handle. District courts handle traffic violations, civil cases that involve claims in amounts equal to or less than $25,000, traffic tickets, landlord-tenant matters and misdemeanor criminal cases. A division of the district court also handles small claims cases, except in municipalities that have a municipal court that handles small claims cases.

What do probate courts do?

Probate courts administer estates and trusts, handle wills, order treatment for developmentally disabled and mentally ill persons and appoint guardians and conservators.

By understanding what each kind of court does, Michigan residents can be better suited to successfully address the legal matters that they have to deal with. This understanding will save them time and will also help them choose an attorney. The attorney they choose should be well-versed in the types of legal matters that the person hiring him or her will need help with.

Source: Michigan Courts, "Michigan Trial Courts," accessed July 05, 2017

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