|Barry County Courts & Law Building
202 W Court St, Ste 202
Hastings MI 49058
|Main: (269) 945-1404 ext. 5
Fax: (269) 945-1399
|8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday – Friday
The court is only a tool that is available to you for settling disputes or establishing and reducing your claims to judgment. You are responsible for locating the parties, determining your course of action, and gathering your witnesses and evidence. The necessary forms may be obtained at any court or from any business supply house that carries legal forms, or at the Michigan Court website.
While the staff of this court will try to help either party to an action, you must understand that:
Our clerks are not attorneys and they cannot give legal advice.
The judges, who are attorneys, may not and will not give advice on matters they may have to rule on.
This court can render money judgments only and has no power to force anyone to do something or to stop doing something.
By having your case tried in the Small Claims Division, you give up the following rights:
- The right to have an attorney.
- The right to appeal to a higher court.
- The right to a jury trial.
In civil cases, you must file a summons and complaint upon the defendant. The summons does what its name suggests; it summons or calls the defendant before the court. The complaint is perhaps the more important document. In the complaint, the plaintiff makes allegations or accusations against the defendant. The plaintiff’s complaint will charge the defendant either with causing bodily injury or property damage or with depriving the plaintiff of something of value to which the plaintiff believes he/she is entitled. The complaint will also request the court to award damages, that is money to the plaintiff to compensate them for their bodily injury or property damages or the thing of which they have been deprived. The defendant responds to the complaint by filing a document called an answer.
The most you can collect through a judgment in the General Civil Division is $25,000 plus costs. To file a civil case in the 56B District Court the business or person you are suing must do business or live in Barry County or the action must have occurred in Barry County. In a civil case, legal counsel may represent you.
Please contact the Civil Division at 269-945-1404 ext. 5 with any questions you may have regarding General Civil Cases.
What is the difference between a 7 day notice and a 30 day notice?
A 7 day notice allows a person to stay if they pay the amount that they are required to before the 7th day. Failing to do so will result in beginning eviction procedures. A 30 day notice is a notice that terminates tenancy even if a payment is made.
How do I answer a complaint?
A complaint can be answered by sending in a written statement to the court either explaining your side of the situation or by objecting to the complaint. It is required that you sign and date your answer and mail it into the Civil Division of the District Court within 21 days of receiving it. Once the court has received the answer, the case will be set up for a scheduling conference. Failing to answer the complaint will result in a default judgment. It is extremely important that you are aware of all court dates and are in attendance of them following your scheduling conference.
How do I set up payments on a garnishment?
Most all garnishments are served by the employer. In order to make payments on the garnishments you must file a Motion for Installment Payments with the 56-B District Court. A filing fee of 20 dollars will be assessed when you file the form. The Plaintiff will be notified and will give an answer to your request. If the Plaintiff has no objection to the motion you filed then the court will make a judgment. If the Plaintiff does object, the case must be set up for a hearing.