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Civil and Small Claims




​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 57th District Court, the business or person you are suing must do business or live in Allegan County or the action must have occurred in Allegan County. In a civil case, you may be represented by legal counsel. 

Fines, Fees and Costs Schedule for Civil and Small Claims


Points to Consider

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, 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:​
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.
The defendant may choose not to give up these rights. He/she can demand before or at the time of hearing that the case be transferred to the General Civil Division.


A tenant can be evicted for various reasons. Some common reasons are failure to pay rent, destruction of property, or failure to follow rules and regulations.
Before a landlord can file a law suit to evict a tenant, the tenant must be served a copy of a notice to quit. A notice to quit is a demand to vacate the property. After the specified time on the notice to quit has passed, a complaint may be filed in district court. There is a fee for filing the complaint. A copy of the complaint and a notice of court hearing must be served on the tenant. If the tenant fails to appear at the court hearing and answer the complaint, a default judgment for possession of the property and money judgment may be entered. Ten days after the default judgment has been entered, the landlord may obtain a document called an Order of Eviction. This authorizes the landlord to evict the tenant and remove the tenant's belongings from the property.

Small Claims Court