Session I, Circuit Court 101: County offers free workshop to attorneys, legal secretaries, paralegals

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– LEGAL NEWS PHOTOS BY DIANA L. COLEMAN
 

By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

Circuit Court Records 101 was held in the county commission room on the fourth floor of the Michael E. Kobza building Jan. 29 from noon to 1:00 p.m. The first session covered filing in circuit court records, fees, original documents, and the Personal Protection Order (PPO).  Approximately 25 were in attendance from varying practice fields.

County Clerk Nancy A. Waters introduced Circuit Court Records Supervisor Marcia Wilkes to the group and emphasized her experience as Judge Michael Kobza’s secretary for thirteen years, as well as working in private practice with local attorneys before coming the circuit court records office.  After an in-depth presentation by Wilkes, many questions were received and answered as thoroughly as possible.

Wilkes took questions from the participants that she will research and present the responses at the Feb. 5 session. Nancy Waters assisted in the question and answer period, as well as Keesha Taylor-Lord, a former advocate from Every Woman’s Place who worked in an office outside Judge Hoogstra’s office assisting women with divorce and PPO forms. Taylor-Lord has now joined the staff in the Circuit Court Records office on the sixth floor.

Discussions were held about pleadings (how many copies, the fees), incomplete filings and how the office handles them, date stamping, and the need to omit private information on pleadings such as social security numbers as all pleadings are public record. Wilkes did answer a question concerning verified statements explaining that the verified statements were handled differently and were shredded.

There was a large amount of interest generated concerning the PPOs, and Wilkes explained in detail about the filing and what determines a domestic or non-domestic PPO, and filing for a PPO as a next  friend for a minor.

Case suffixes were discussed and she explained that the suffix must be on the complaint when it is filed. The clerks will not assign a suffix as it could be in error. 

Wilkes also explained the suffixes used in the business court established in January 2013. Judge Mullally is the business court judge; the suffixes for that court are CB, CD, CK, CL, CP, and CR.

Wiles also explained thoroughly the assignment of judges to cases filed. She also covered the assignment of the same judge in family law matters for multiple cases involving the same mother. The judge assignment follows the mother.

Circuit court fees, services, and handling of jury selection were also covered. Attendees received a notebook with fee charts, appellate fees, and other information provided during the workshop.

The second workshop, scheduled for Feb. 5 at noon in the county commissioners’ board room on the fourth floor, will cover filing divorces, set aside forms, the legal self- help center, seven-day orders, and much more.

The session is open to attorneys, paralegals, and legal secretaries. Registration is necessary and you can register by emailing wilkesma@co.muskegon.mi.us.