Frequently Asked Questions
Where must I file a suit?
A lawsuit may generally be started in either the county where the defendant resides or where the activity upon which the suit is based took place.If your matter may have some special circumstances, you should talk with an attorney.
How Much Does it Cost to File?
Filing fees are listed on the 80th District Court web page – click on that listing. Cost of service depends upon the manner of service.
How do I serve the Defendant?
You may choose to serve the defendant by certified restricted mail, or by personal service via a process server or by someone who is an adult and not a party to the suit. “Service” means delivering a summons and copy of the complaint to the defendant personally. If you cannot get service on the defendant, you may wish to consult an attorney about alternative ways to accomplish that if you wish to continue the suit.
What if I want to drop the case?
At any time before the defendant is served, you may file a dismissal of the action. After the defendant is served, you may request the case be dismissed, but the decision rests with the Court.
what happens if the defendant does not show up?
If there is proof of service filed showing that the Defendant has been served long enough before the hearing, you may be able to put in your proofs and receive a default judgment.
How do I collect my judgment?
After 21 days have passed from the date of your judgment, if the defendant hasn’t paid, you may begin to take action in the court to discover what assets may have, and begin collection action such as garnishment. If you do not know what this involves, you may wish to consult an attorney to find out about the process, as court staff cannot give you legal advice about what procedure or which forms would apply to your case.
How can I get legal advice?
By law, the court staff cannot give legal advice. You may find the name of an attorney who practices in the area by looking in the yellow pages or checking with the State Bar of Michigan. The court has a listing of local attorneys that you may review, although the court staff may not recommend any particular attorney. Often attorneys will charge a minimal fee for consultation about your questions, which may assist you in deciding whether and how to proceed.
What if I can't afford an attorney?
There are many sources to locate legal information, some with interpretation. Check the other links concerning self-help, small-claims, and landlord-tenant matters, on the Court website. There are other sources on-line for legal information. You may wish to “Google” for possible links.