FILING A CLAIM

Before filing a claim, you should have some idea what your chances are of collecting. A judgment does not mean automatic payment. There are often cases where the collection of money is difficult, if not impossible. The party you sued may be penniless or bankrupt; may have gone out of business or left town; may not earn enough for you to garnish wages; or for other reasons it may be difficult or impossible to collect the judgment. Income such as welfare, unemployment, social security, etc. cannot be garnisheed. However you do have six years to collect and a party's circumstances may change during that time.

Before coming to the court be sure you have the following:

  • Bring all paperwork with the proper number of copies.
  • The filing fee, plus service fee for certified mail (see fee schedule). When filing by mail, send check (Michigan banks only) or money order made payable to the 73B District Court.
  • Defendant's full and correct first and last name.
  • Defendant's current address (route or post office box numbers are not sufficient when you want a process server to make personal services). If you furnish an incorrect address and the court officer attempts service, he is allowed by law to charge you for his or her time.
  • Amount of claim and pertinent dates.
  • A brief and concise statement of the nature of the claim. The responsibility is yours to prove two things to the Court. First, liability, or why it is the defendant's obligation or responsibility to pay the money you claim. Second, damages or what is the exact amount of the money owed.

When the Claim is filed, a hearing date is set four to five weeks away. This generally allows enough time for the defendant to receive the notice with more than the required seven days before the hearing date.

The Defendant will be served in one of the two ways:

  • A copy is delivered personally by a process server or any legally competent adult who is not a party, or an officer of a corporate party.
  • The notice is mailed by certified mail with a return receipt requested. If certified mail is not picked up by the defendant you may want to have a process server try to make service after a new hearing date is scheduled.