District Court Services & Information




The hearing will usually take place at the court where you filed your claim. It is important to be there on time; if you filed the lawsuit and are not in court when your case is called, the case may be dismissed. If you are the defendant and are not in court when your case is called, a default judgment may be entered against you. Bring all of your relevant papers or other evidence and make sure your witnesses will be on time.

The court clerk will call your case and you and the defendant will appear before the judge or magistrate. The judge will ask you to state your claim. Take your time and tell what happened in your own words and why you think the person or business you are suing owes you money. Show the judge your evidence and introduce any witnesses you have. The witnesses will be allowed to tell the judge what they know about the case.

When you have finished, the person or business you are suing will have an opportunity to explain their side of the case. Listen carefully. If you think the defendant is leaving something out or is misstating facts, be sure to tell the judge.

A judge’s decision is final. Neither you nor the defendant can take the case to a higher court once the judge has made a decision in the small claims division; although, on petition by either party, the same judge may reopen the case in the small claims division. Either party may appeal a magistrate’s decision. The case would be rescheduled before a judge and both parties would explain their case again. 


What Qualifies you to serve as a juror? 

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • You must speak and understand the English language.
  • You must be a resident of Ionia County.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • You must no longer be attending high school.
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony. 


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