Before submitting an incorrigibility petition, appropriate community resources must be explored and used, if available. Click here for a list of counseling and substance abuse treatment options.

What is Incorrigibility?

A. Minors must be found to be in violation of the Juvenile Code, Chapter 712A.2 Sec. 2(a) (3) which reads as follows:

  1. The child is repeatedly disobedient to the reasonable and lawful commands of his or her parents, guardian, or other custodian, and. . .
  2. The court finds on the record by clear and convincing evidence that court accessed services are necessary.

B. Local Standards:

  1. The misbehavior must be continuous or frequently repeated and the court is generally more willing to accept petitions which show a wide scope of misconduct rather than a repeated violation of one rule. Examples of actions which are usually not considered incorrigible enough to warrant court action are: failure to do household chores, incessant talking on the telephone; insolent back talk.
  2. Examples of things which are generally accepted for court action, if they are frequently repeated behavior are:
    • Serious and deliberate threats of physical harm to family members;
    • Acts of intimidation toward household members;
    • Serious and repeated violations of curfew;
    • Refusing to go to school (**Schools bring truancy complaints under the law. Parents may include in their incorrigibility petitions allegations that the child is refusing to attend school contrary to the parent’s repeated order to attend.
  3. Criminal violations by your child should be reported to the law enforcement agency which services your community.
  4. The Livingston County Circuit Court – Family Division – Juvenile Unit recognizes that children have many emotional, social, and interpersonal problems as they are maturing. Many children’s attitudes and actions that drive parents to distraction are only normal developmental steps that all children go through in their adolescence. Although the court will accept petitions charging children with incorrigibility, the court’s policy is not to bring children in to the court system because they are behaving “like teenagers.”
  5. In many cases, consumption of alcohol, drugs or other addictive chemical substances is the basis of a child’s disobedient or anti-social behavior. If you believe this applies to your child, you should have a professional substance abuse evaluation completed on your child and follow their recommendation.

In the area of substance abuse, it is extremely important that parents set a good example for their children and the court will inquire into family alcohol and drug use if an incorrigibility petition is filed.

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Who is Eligible?

  • The Livingston County Circuit Court – Family Division – Juvenile Unit has jurisdiction over cases of incorrigibility in Livingston County.
  • Your child must be a resident of Livingston County in order for you to file such a Petition in this court.
  • Your child must be under the age of 18 years for the court to have jurisdiction.
  • Only parents and/or legal guardians are able to file incorrigibility petitions. Law Enforcement involvement is not necessary in filing an incorrigibility petition.

Involving a child with the court is a serious matter, and the filing of an incorrigibility petition against a child should be done only as a last resort, and only when there are no other options available. Parents will be required to reimburse the court for attorney fees and services.

Filing a Petition

Required Documentation

  • A parent must submit a written statement supporting the claim of incorrigibility with specific instances (including date, time and place) of a child’s disobedient or truant behavior. Some parents document their child’s behavior in the form of a journal, diary, or calendar. This can be helpful when ready to file a petition.
  • Parents must document and submit evidence of the following efforts made to resolve the behavior problems through available private or public human services. The kinds of efforts which satisfy this court requirement are:
    • Family Counseling: Child has either refused or exhausted within the last three month period. (Petitioner must document who counseling service was with, when, and how long counseling was attended. If no longer in counseling, document reasons why.)
    • Substance Abuse Counseling/Treatment as Recommended by a Professional Evaluator: Child has refused or exhausted this service within the last three months.
    • If counseling could not be attempted for a legitimate reason (i.e. cannot afford services), petitioner must clearly document the events and reasons why or who turned them down for the services.
    • Click here for a referral list of counseling options
  • A parent must also agree to release relevant records of counseling and medical services that have been engaged to treat the behavior problems.

How to Submit a Petition

  • Parents must complete the Complaint Form. This form should be filled out as completely as possible and must contain the following information:
    • The name, birth date, and residence of the child.
    • The names, residence, and phone number (if there is one) of the parents, guardians or other custodian. (If whereabouts are unknown, state unknown and give the last known address.) Make sure to note if a child is a member of, or eligible for membership in an American Indian Tribe or band, and check the appropriate box on the petition form.
    • Itemized statement of the incidents of incorrigibility, and the community resources utilized.
  • It is only necessary for one of the parents to be the petitioner.
  • Once completed, the proper paperwork should be returned in person to the Juvenile Court:
    • 44th Circuit Court
      Family Division-Juvenile Unit
      204 S. Highlander Way, Suite 3
      Howell, MI 48843
  • If the petition is accepted, you will be sent a Notice of Preliminary Inquiry. This is the hearing date for your case, and your son or daughter will also be sent this notice of hearing. Complaints are accepted Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

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Information for Parents

  • It is important to remember, that before submitting an incorrigibility petition, appropriate community resources must be explored and used, if available.
  • Because the parent or guardian is the Petitioner against the child, the law requires the court to appoint an attorney to represent the child. Parents do not need and are not required to have an attorney representing them to file a petition. If Parents wish, they may hire an attorney at their own expense, to represent or assist them.
  • The child has the legal right to admit or deny the petition and have a trial if the petition is contested. The child also has the other constitutional rights that an adult would have if accused of a crime.
  • At least one parent will be expected to attend all court hearings with the child and follow the court’s orders. Parents will also be assessed by the court to determine their financial ability to pay for all or part of rehabilitation services.
  • Federal and State law prohibits the court from placing a child in locked detention for incorrigibility unless the child has violated a valid court order. The policy of the Livingston County Circuit Court Juvenile Unit is to work with children in their own homes. The court may order a child into foster care or other living situations if the court finds it necessary.
  • Parents will be responsible to pay for all of the services provided by the court (including child’s attorney fees.) A financial statement will be requested from the parents.

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Questions regarding incorrigibility petitions should be referred to the Juvenile Court at (517) 546-1500.

Juvenile Court
Livingston County Official Logo


(517) 546-1500


Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed County Holidays

Judicial Center

204 S. Highlander Way
Suite 3
Howell, MI 48843


(517) 546-3731