What is the difference between circuit court, district court, and probate court in Michigan?

There are 3 trial courts in Michigan: circuit court, district court, and probate court. The differences have to do with jurisdiction, which is the ability of a court to hear certain types of legal matters and the authority to issue binding decisions/orders in those types of matters. The jurisdiction of these courts is defined by statute.

Circuit Court

Circuit court in Michigan is a court of general jurisdiction, which means it has the broadest powers of the three trial courts in Michigan. The circuit court handles civil cases where the amount in controversary is over $25,000 and felony criminal cases. The circuit court also has a family division that hears cases regarding: divorce, adoptions, paternity, personal protection orders, emancipation of minors, name changes, juvenile offenses, delinquency, child abuse/neglect, child support, child custody, parenting time, treatment and testing of infectious diseases, and delivery of newborns. The friend of the court

The circuit court also has limited appellate powers. The court can hear appeals from lower courts, such as the district court or an administrative agency like the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The judges in circuit courts are elected to six-year terms.

Here is a list containing some of the Southwest Michigan circuit courts:

District Court

District court in Michigan is a court of limited jurisdiction, which means its jurisdiction isn’t as broad as that of the circuit court. The district court hears all misdemeanor criminal offenses, landlord tenant matters, civil cases where the amount in controversy is above $5,000 and up to $25,000, some ordinance violations, small claims cases where the amount in controversy is less than $5,000, arraignments and preliminary examinations or probable cause hearings for felonies before  they are bound over (sent to) circuit court, and the bulk of traffic offenses.

Some counties, including Kent County, have multiple district courts.

District court judges are also elected to six-year terms.

Here is a list containing some of the Southwest Michigan district courts:

Probate Court

The probate courts in Michigan handle the administration of estates, wills, trusts, the appointment of a guardian or conservator, some adoption related matters, treatment for the mentally ill, and registration of foreign births.

Probate judges are also elected to six-year terms.