The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Court can hear a wide range of civil matters, including divorces, child custody disputes, and various small claim issues. The Court can issue a personal protection order to help someone in an abusive relationship.
Tribal Court exists for the benefit of the members. Pro se litigants (people representing themselves) will be treated with respect. Our court can provide efficient, inexpensive solutions to the problems of Tribal members. We have a pamphlet available with the meanings of the most commonly used legal terms used in our court. This may help alleviate some of the fears that people have when dealing with the judicial system.
The Clerk's office is usually the first stop in any civil proceeding. The clerk has various forms available that may be required to file before beginning a civil suit. The court staff is prohibited from providing legal advice but can help guide you on how to complete the forms. The fee to begin a civil case is $50.00. An affidavit is available for anyone who would have a hardship in paying this fee. The fee may be reduced or waived by the Judge depending on the information submitted on the affidavit form.
Peacemaking is also a part of Tribal Court. They deal mainly with juveniles, but are available to help solve problems or differences between people, using traditional dispute resolution methods. They have been used in employee issues and have also done child custody mediations with great success.
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Court exercises jurisdiction over Indian Child Welfare matters, and juvenile justice matters within its nine county service area. The Court adjudicates civil matters that are brought to the Court by Tribal Members of involving Tribal Members, and criminal cases brought to the court by the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.