Honorable David J. Reader, Chief Judge of Livingston County Courts
Honorable Michael P. Hatty, 44th Circuit Court Judge
John Evans, Circuit and Juvenile Court Administrator
The 44th Circuit Court of Livingston County handles felony criminal cases, civil liability cases where damages are alleged to be above $25,000, all Family Court cases including divorce, custody, support, and related cases, and all Juvenile Court cases.
Juvenile Court cases include Child Protection, Juvenile Justice, Adoption, and Personal Protection where protection is sought from a minor (rather than for a minor). For Child Protection cases, the Court’s responsibility is to protect the safety and well-being of children. For Juvenile Justice cases, the Court’s responsibility is to support the current and future safety of the community by providing services to support the success of youth and their families in avoiding future system involvement. Livingston County Juvenile Court works closely with other organizations serving youth and families in the community, and is affiliated with a national organization, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges as one of only 34 Model Courts in the country and the only Model Court in Michigan.
Family Court cases are conducted with the support of the Friend of the Court. Livingston County Courts recognize that often, there is stress and significant emotional challenge to the all members of the family during these cases. The Court encourages parents to be attentive to the needs of children, and to consider seeking services and support as needed. Although the Court does not endorse any specific providers of services, there are groups that encourage parties to consider peaceful conflict resolution, and provide access to resources to support that. More information can be found at Livingston Inter-Disciplinary Professional Association (LIPA) or Family Mediation Council – Michigan websites. Families are also encouraged to seek help from mental health professionals who work with families as appropriate.
Family Court is an area where many parties elect to represent themselves rather than hire an attorney. Parties who are representing themselves will be required to follow all of the rules of the Court. Court staff cannot provide legal advice. Michigan Legal Help is a resource for individuals who represent themselves in Court. Click here for more information. Individuals interested in hiring a Family Law attorney who works in Family Law in Livingston County can visit the Livingston County Bar Association website or check other resources.