Q: What constitutes a Circuit Court case?
Criminal: all criminal cases start in District Court. If a criminal case is determined to be a felony, it is then bound over into Circuit Court. All misdemeanor cases stay in District Court.
Civil: District Court civil cases are damages under $25,000. Circuit Court civil cases are damages over $25,000.
Family: a domestic case is actually considered a civil matter, however due to the domestic/family issues these cases are filed in the Family Division. All Family Division cases are at Circuit level which include: divorce, support, custody, paternity, personal protection orders, juvenile cases.
Q: Who is the Plaintiff and who is the Defendant?
The Plaintiff is the person who files the case with the court. The Defendant is the person who the Plaintiff is filing a complaint against. Once a case is opened, this never changes. Any future filings by either party should always list the Plaintiff and Defendant just as the case was originally filed.
Q: I received a summons and complaint and it says I must answer to the courts. What does this mean?
You are not required by the court to file an answer. If you choose to file an answer it must be in writing and filed in the County Clerk's office. If you are not sure whether you should file an answer or not, it is highly recommended that you contact an attorney for legal advice.
Q: Where is each Court Division located?
Criminal: District Court matters are on the 1st floor of the courthouse. Circuit Court matters are also on the 1st floor of the courthouse (County Clerk's office).
Civil: both District and Circuit Court matters are on the 3rd floor of the courthouse.
Family: all Family Division matters are located throughout the 4th floor of the courthouse. Domestic matters and Probate are located in the file room. Juvenile and Friend of the Court offices are located on the 4th floor also. Personal Protection Orders are filed in the County Clerk's Office on the first floor.