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CIRCUIT COURT for BENZIE COUNTY
19th JUDICIAL COURT

Contact Information

Court Administrator
FAX:
Email Us
231-723-6664
231-723-1645

Friend of the Court:
FAX:
231-882-0023
231-882-0040

Dir. of Youth Services:  
FAX:
231-882-0007
231-882-5987

Personnel

Chief Judge - Hon. James M. Batzer
Court Administrator - Kris A. Randall
Friend of the Court - David Thompson
Director of Youth Services - Jim Smogoleski
Location / Address

Upper Level
Government Center
448 Court Place
Beulah, MI 49617

Office Hours
 
Monday Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Jurisdiction Over

  • lawsuits involving state law, and as well as certain lawsuits involving federal law
  • civil cases involving more than $25,000
  • all felony and certain serious misdemeanors criminal cases
  • all domestic relations cases
  • family division matters
  • juvenile delinquency matters
  • adoptions
  • emancipation of minors
  • name changes
  • personal protection orders
  • equity cases
  • cases for extraordinary writs
  • cases appealed from lower courts (District and Probate) and
  • cases from administrative agencies of state government

    See the Description section below for more details.

Description

The 19th Judicial Circuit is comprised of two counties, Manistee and Benzie.

The Circuit Court is created by the Michigan Constitution as the state trial court of general jurisdiction. The Circuit Court exercises the judicial Power of the State of Michigan. The Circuit Court is funded by the counties within the circuit with substantial partial reimbursement from the state. It has original jurisdiction over all actions except those given by state law to another court. Such actions include not only lawsuits arising under or presenting issues of state law, but can and do involve issues of federal law as well, except in cases where the Congress has given exclusive jurisdiction to the federal courts.

Generally speaking, the Circuit Court has original jurisdiction in all civil cases involving more than $25,000; in all criminal cases where the offense involves a felony or certain serious misdemeanors sometimes called high court or circuit court misdemeanors; and in all domestic relations cases, including divorce (with and without children), paternity, URESA and support actions.

Additionally, the Circuit Court has jurisdiction over family division matters which include but are not limited to neglect/abuse matters, juvenile delinquency matters and adoptions, emancipation of minors, and name changes and all cases where a personal protection order is sought or a violation of a personal protection order is alleged. The Probate Judge is also assigned to hear many family division matters as also are circuit court referees.

The Circuit Court also has exclusive jurisdiction in equity cases, where injunctions or other equitable remedies are sought such as specific performance of contracts or judgments quieting title and establishing real estate boundaries. The Circuit Court further hears cases for extraordinary writs such as habeas corpus, mandamus and quo warranto.

The Circuit Court also hears cases appealed from lower courts (District and Probate) and from administrative agencies of state government, except in those instances where the legislature has directed that the appeal go directly to the Court of Appeals.

The Circuit Court has superintending control over the other courts within the circuit, subject to final superintending powers of the Supreme Court.

Fees:

Circuit Court fees are paid at the County Clerk / Clerk of the Court. Please see the County Clerk page for a fee schedule.

Documents

Pertinent documents are available at the Michigan Supreme Court Web site.

Forms

Pertinent forms are available at the Michigan Supreme Court Web site.

Related Web Links

Michigan Courts -- One Court of Justice

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Last Revised:
8-29-2014

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