The Circuit Court is referred to as the
"trial court of general jurisdiction" in Michigan because of its very broad
powers. Circuit Court has
jurisdiction over all actions except those given by state law to another
court. Generally speaking,
Circuit Court has original jurisdiction in all civil cases involving
more than $25,000; in all criminal cases where the offense involves a
felony or certain serious misdemeanors; and in all family cases and
domestic relations cases such as divorce, paternity actions, juvenile
proceedings, and adoptions.
The State of
is divided into judicial circuits along county lines. The number of
judges in a circuit reflects the volume of business in the court.
If there is more than one county in a circuit, such as ours,
judges travel from one county seat to another to hold court sessions.
Our judges conduct court in both
as well as
The Circuit Court also hears cases appealed from
lower courts and from some administrative agencies of state government.
In addition, the Circuit Court has superintending control over
other courts within the circuit, subject to final superintending powers
of the Supreme Court.
Circuit judges are elected for six-year terms on
non-partisan ballots. A
candidate must be a resident of the circuit in which the candidate is
running, a qualified elector, licensed to practice law in
, and at the time of election less than 70 years of age.
The legislature sets salaries for circuit judges.
The Family Division, a division of Circuit Court,
has exclusive jurisdiction over all family matters such as divorce,
custody, parenting time, support, paternity,
adoptions, name changes,
juvenile proceedings, emancipation of minors, parental consent, and
personal protection proceedings. The
Family Division also has ancillary jurisdiction over cases involving
guardianships and conservatorships and proceedings involving the
mentally ill or developmentally disabled.
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