Small Claims


If you feel an individual or a business owes you money, you can bring a lawsuit against that person or business in the Small Claims division of the District Court. This court handles matters when the defendant lives in or the action took place in your county of residence (i.e. Antrim County, Grand Traverse County or Leelanau County).

Claim Amount

The claim may not exceed $6,500. If your claim is more than $6,500 and you still elect to file in small claims court you waive your right to collect more than that amount.
If you file a lawsuit to recover for damage to your motor vehicle arising out of an automobile accident if the other driver is at fault, you are limited to that amount not otherwise covered by your insurance up to $1,000 if the defendant had insurance at the time of the accident.

Your Responsibilities

The court is 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, gathering your witnesses and evidence and determining the defendant's source(s) of income.

Please provide only 1 copy of the DC84 affidavit and claim form (PDF) with the appropriate fee, along with a self addressed and stamped envelope for return. A separate check is required for each case filed.

Ability To Collect

Collectability should be a prime consideration prior to starting a lawsuit. There are often situations where a judgment is not particularly difficult to obtain but the collection is difficult, if not impossible. Situations such as welfare, unemployment, social security and disability are not subject to garnishments.

Legal Advice

While the staff of the court will assist either party, the following must be understood:
  • Staff members are not attorneys and they may not give legal advice.
  • Judges may not and will not advise on matters they must rule on.

If you are seeking legal advice, please refer to any of the given resources.


You give up or waive the following rights:
  • The right to appeal the final decision of the court
  • The right to be represented by an attorney
  • The right to have a jury trial