The LAC is Reopening!
Starting on Monday, July 6, 2020 you can once again get help in person at the Legal Assistance Center. Initially, open hours will be limited to 10 am to 2 pm from Monday to Friday.

For your safety and the safety of our staff and volunteers, you will be required to wear a mask or face covering to enter the courthouse and to get help at the LAC. To promote social distancing we will be limiting the number of people in the LAC.

If you are not feeling well, have a fever, or have been exposed to someone who has or may have COVID-19, please stay home and be well. You can still get help by phone by calling 616-632-6000. You will be asked to leave a message and we will return your call as soon as we can.
Small Claims Court

Small Claims

A small claims case is a lawsuit filed in District Court to solve a dispute worth $5,500 or less. In a small claims case you can only ask the court for money. A small claims case does not allow parties to be represented by attorneys and is designed to allow people who have no legal training to argue their case to a judge or magistrate.

Filing a Small Claim

You start a small claims case by filing an Affidavit and Claim. To start a small claims case you must know the correct name and address of the person or company you are suing.The filing fee for a small claims case depends on the amount requested. Right now the filing fees are $25 for claims up to $600, $45 for claims over $600 up to $1,750, and $65 for claims over $1,750 up to $5,500. In addition to the filing fee there is a fee for the court to serve the other party.

Before you file a small claims case you may want to try to settle the matter outside of court through direct negation or mediation.

Responding to a Small Claims

Case If you are sued in small claims court, it is important that you respond in writing by filing an Answer with the court and that you appear for the scheduled court date. If you do not file an Answer and appear, then you may lose the case and have an order to pay money (Money Judgment) entered against you.

You can hire an attorney who can remove the case from small claims court so the attorney can represent you. You can also try to reach a settlement with the person who sued you by talking with them or using mediation. If you reach an agreement you will want to put your agreement in writing (Order) and file it with the court. Remember to Answer and appear even if you also want to reach a settlement.

For Informational Purposes Only:  This summary is provided for basic informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. For legal advice about your situation, you must talk to a lawyer.

Forms & Case Packets
  • The Legal Assistance Center offers forms to file and answer a small claims case at no cost.
Additional Resources