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Michigan Court Records

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What are Michigan Civil Court Records

Michigan civil court records are documents generated from the civil cases involving private controversies or disagreement between two or more parties. Additionally, civil cases are non-criminal cases that are filed at the civil court voluntarily in Michigan. Civil litigation in Michigan is presided upon by the Michigan Court of Claims, and the Clerk of Court records reports of such proceedings. Requests for Michigan civil court records can be made to the Clerk of Court office where the case was heard. These documents can be obtained for a fee, and requestors may need to fulfill specific requirements. As another option, interested persons may use CourtRecords.us, a third-party site to access Michigan civil court records.

Are Civil Court Records Public Records In Michigan?

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act assures that members of the public may access certain types of civil court records generated in the State of Michigan. Records that cannot be inspected by the general public are those containing sensitive information that cannot be disclosed to citizens. Persons who will like to have access to confidential civil court records may have to visit the courthouse where the case was heard and tender a written request to the Office of the Court Clerk. However, eligible requestors are law enforcement agencies and individuals who have been able to secure permission from the court to obtain sealed records.

According to MCR 8.119(D), non-public civil court records in Michigan include documents of cases pertaining to adoption, accommodation requests, mental health treatment, governor's pardon, personal protection order, juvenile code, and forensic reports.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Types of Cases in Michigan Civil Court

Michigan Court of Claims is in charge of attending to civil cases in Michigan. Most times, these cases are begun when a wronged party believes that a matter cannot be resolved sufficiently without the intervention of the court. Eventually, the court will decide on the fine to be paid to the plaintiff or other form of settlement as the case may be. Below are some of the civil cases in Michigan:

  • Landlord-tenant disagreement
  • Land contract forfeiture
  • Contract and property disputes
  • Civil infraction (both traffic and nontraffic)
  • Intellectual property contention
  • Defamation of character, slander, and libel
  • Product liability
  • Divorce cases
  • Bankruptcy
  • Tort
  • Child support and child custody cases

What is the Difference Between Criminal Cases and Civil Cases?

Criminal cases are a type of court proceedings where a person is tried for illegal conduct against the law. Civil cases are filed as a result of a disagreement between two individuals, which could also be a business or an organization. Most times, the disagreement is based on the violation of rights or destruction of a person's property by another individual. Civil cases are not considered criminal cases. Further disparities between criminal cases and civil cases include:

  • For criminal cases, the burden of proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" is upon the state government while the "preponderance of evidence" is on the plaintiff (the person suing) in a civil case, and the evidence must be beyond the balance of probabilities.
  • When an alleged person is found guilty in a criminal case, the punishment may include serving a jail term or paying a fine, and in appropriate cases, a death penalty. In civil litigation, a form of compensation for the injury or damage caused is involved if the defendant is found liable for the damages.
  • The government files cases of criminal activities, civil cases, on the other hand, are filed by individuals.
  • Criminal cases are heard by the Michigan Trial Court, while civil cases are handled by the Small Claims division of the District Court in Michigan.

How Do I Find Civil Court Records In Michigan?

In Michigan, civil court records are preserved by the Clerk of Courts and are available for public access through electronic means. However, some civil court records are restrained from online access and may be acquired by visiting the courthouse where the proceedings took place in person. Interested individuals can also send a request by mail and will have to give a detailed description of the type of records they seek. The State Court Administrative Office, following MCL 600.25461, permits the Clerk of Court to charge $10 to certify a civil case record and $1 per page for copying the record. These payments can be made in the form of a check or money order.

Additionally, the requestor is required to complete the Request for Court Records form. Civil records requests in Michigan are usually processed within two days. The filled form will then be mailed along with the proof of payment to the Michigan Court of Claims located at:

2nd Floor, Hall of Justice
925 West Ottawa St.
PO Box 30022
Lansing, MI 48909-7522
Telephone number: (517) 373-0786

How Do I Find Civil Court Records Online?

Michigan Courts maintain a Case Search feature to help the general public get access to court records online. This electronic medium is a repository of court documents generated across the different types of courthouses in the State of Michigan. Search can be conducted by party name, docket number, or by using the Case List by Attorney.

Search by Party Name

Interested members of the public may conduct a court record search by stating the name of the individual or organization in the search bar as it appears on the court docket sheet. When including an individual's name, do not put a comma and separate the first name from the last with just one space. However, if a middle initial was used when a case was filed, it must be stated in the search field to correspond with the court's database. Name search cannot be conducted for some case types, including adoption and termination of parental rights subjected to protect the interests of minors. Furthermore, when the full name is not known, interested persons may search using an asterisk (wildcard). For instance, if the name to be searched is Tracy, it can also be written as Tra*, and matching results will be displayed. Using this method may not help to get an accurate record and might take longer to showcase results.

Search by Docket Number

For every case filed in the court, a case number is usually generated so that the case file can be located easily. This case number is also known as the docket number. Persons who want to obtain Michigan civil court records and know the exact case number may use this mode of search. Docket numbers inputted must be accurate; hence an error alert will be displayed.

Case List By Attorney

To access a civil court record handled by a specific attorney, use the Case List by Attorney search by stating the attorney's name or bar number in the search field. When entering the Attorney Bar Number, only the numerical part should be entered. Upon the search, alphabetical order of the attorney case list will be presented. The use of a wildcard is also possible, but results may take longer to display.

How to Get Civil Court Records Removed

To expunge a court record means that the documents relating to the court case will be erased and treated like it never happened. Civil court records in Michigan can only be expunged within the jurisdiction it was created upon approval by the court. In Michigan, there is no complete expungement as duplicates of expunged records are created and preserved by law enforcement agencies. However, copies of destroyed records will be kept confidential and may only be accessed by court-authorized persons. The Michigan court system maintains a retention and disposal schedule in which a civil court record must be kept for a minimum amount of time before it can be disposed of.

In civil cases, the defendant or the plaintiff can request for expungement after the dispute has been settled. However, requests for the disposal of civil court records in Michigan attract a certain fee determined by the court.

How to Seal Civil Court Records in Michigan?

Interested persons who want to seal civil court records in Michigan must file a written motion stating the specific record or records they will like to seal. The motion will be addressed to the judge in charge of the case or the courthouse where the case was heard. Under the statute of the state under MCR 8.119(I), a motion may be honored on the basis that the requestor provides a good cause, and if not, the motion may be denied. The court may also grant the applicant the opportunity to be heard in relation to the request. However, in the State of Michigan, court orders or opinions are not subject to sealing. Finally, when a civil case record is sealed, a copy of the order will be sent to the Clerk of the Supreme Court. Sealed records are excluded from public access and may be obtained by law enforcement agencies, the registrant, or the legal representative of the registrant.

  • Criminal Records
  • Arrests Records
  • Warrants
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Federal Dockets
  • Probate Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • And More!