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Read #2 on the front of the Summons. An "Answer" to the Summons and Complaint must be filed with the Civil Division of the Court within 21 days of the date you were served. You must also serve a copy of your Answer on the opposing party / attorney.
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First read the The Small Claims Booklet, complete the form according to the instructions attached to the form, and then file the claim with court.
Complete the form "Motion for Installment Payments". There is a 14-day waiting period after the motion is mailed. If there are no objections, the order is entered on the 15th day and the garnishment is suspended. If there is an objection filed, you may have to come to court for a hearing on your motion.
Before you file an Ex Parte Petition with the Court, Petitioner and Transferee will need to:
After your Ex Parte Order is entered the Transferee will need to give the Secretary of States Office a certified copy of this order.
A certificate of mailing is a receipt that provides proof of the date your mail was given to the post office for mailing.
Certified mail requires a signature from the tenant / recipient. If the tenant does not sign for the certified mail, the Court may not consider the tenant properly served.
You can file an answer. If you were served personally, you have 21 days to file an answer. If you were served by mail or outside the State of Michigan, you have 28 days to file an answer.
If you do not file an answer, the plaintiff can file a Default Judgment against you. A Default Judgment is a judgment in favor of one party based on the other party’s failure to take action. For example, the plaintiff may request a default against a defendant because the defendant does not respond to a summons or because the defendant failed to appear.
The Court does not keep account of money owed from Civil Judgments. Please contact the Plaintiff / Plaintiff’s attorney for the amount owed. Payments are made to the Plaintiff / Plaintiff’s attorney.
If filed timely, you may file an Objection to a Garnishment.
Generally, a defendant has 14 days from the date the Writ of Garnishment was mailed to him/her to file an objection. If you have questions regarding the timeliness of the filing, you may contact the Court at 269-982-8683 (Saint Joseph) or 269-684-5274 (Niles).
You may also file a Motion for Installment Payments.
Please bring income information and a list of monthly expenses for the Court to consider when filing a Motion for Installment Payments. After filing a Motion for Installment Payments, a copy of the motion is sent to the plaintiff or their attorney. The plaintiff has 14 days to object to the entry of an Order for Installment Payments. If the plaintiff objects, there will be a hearing in front of the Judge. If you are being garnished, the garnishment does not stop until a Judge signs an order to stop it. If the Judge signs an Order for Installment Payments, you are then responsible to make your payment to the plaintiff or their attorney.
If you have a signed Satisfaction of Judgment, send a copy to all three of the credit bureaus. If you do not have a signed Satisfaction of Judgment, contact the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney for entry of a Satisfaction of Judgment.
Eviction is a three step process. Visit our eviction page for more information.