Discovery Proceeding - Self Help
The following information will take you through the steps necessary in a proceeding to discover the assets of a person against whom you have a judgment.
Statutes and Court Rules
Statutes and court rules associated with discovery of assets are: MCL 600.6001 et seq., MCR 600.8410 in small claims cases only, and MCR 2.621.
Using Court Forms
Court forms are available for use in proceedings to discover assets. These forms follow the procedures stated in the Michigan Compiled Laws and Michigan Court Rules and can be used without the assistance of an attorney.
When completing a form online, you must print the number of copies you will need for filing with the court and serving on the parties. See the upper right-hand corner of each form for this information. If you do not provide the court with the correct number of copies, the court might reject the form for nonconformance under the authority of Michigan Court Rule 8.119(C). Unless specifically required by court rule or statute, the court is not responsible for making copies of forms for you.
Filing a Discovery Subpoena
You must wait 21 days after your judgment was signed before you can file a discovery subpoena. Form MC 11, Subpoena (Order to Appear) can be used.
Contact the court for an appearance date before putting the date and location on the form. Complete both the front of the Subpoena and the Affidavit for Judgment Debtor Examination on the back.
The fee for filing the subpoena with the court is $15.00. The cost of serving it varies.
Serving the Subpoena
The judge must sign the subpoena before it is effective. Once the subpoena is signed you must serve it on the judgment debtor. See General Information on serving court papers.
What if You Receive a Subpoena
If you are served with a subpoena to discover your assets, you must appear on the date, at the time and place stated in the subpoena. You should be prepared to bring information about your assets and identity such as:
- documents that show proof of your income, such as earning statements from your most recent paychecks, proof of unemployment compensation, and documents showing you collect public assistance
- business records for the present year that reflect assets, liabilities, gross receipts, and expenses for any business in which you own an interest, including current bank statements of those businesses from all banks or other financial institutions
- current bank statements from all banks or other institutions where you have an account of any kind
- trust agreements in which you are named trustee or beneficiary
- all deeds, leases, contracts, and other documents representing any ownership interest you have in real property, and all deeds of trust/mortgages or other documents showing encumbrances of any kind on your real property
- all stocks, bonds, or other securities of any class you may own, including options to purchase any securities
- titles to all motor vehicles you own
- all life insurance policies in which you are either the insured or the beneficiary
- all promissory notes held by you and all other documents showing any money owed to you either now or in the future
- all financial statements furnished by you within the past 5 years
- all deeds, bills of sale, or other documents prepared in connection with any transfer made by you, either by gift, sale, or otherwise, within the last 5 years
- a schedule of all regular expenses paid by you, such as installment debts, food, utilities, etc., including the amount paid, the payee, and the amount of debt owing
- all documents showing any interest you have in any pension plan, retirement fund, or profit sharing plan
- federal income tax returns for the last 5 years whether filed individually, jointly, or under a partnership or corporation; also include any W2 forms received for those years
- driver license and social security card
- all credit cards
Appearance at the Discovery Proceeding
When the judgment debtor and judgment creditor appear for the discovery proceeding, the judgment debtor will be placed under oath and will be required to provide the information requested by the judgment creditor as to the assets of the judgment debtor.