Probate Court

Probate Judge:
Kirk Kashian

Attorney / Referee:
Zachary A. Rusk

Juvenile Register:
Dalyn Cummings

Probate Register:
Marcia Curtis

CASA of Branch County Coordinator:
Wendi Paradine


8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday - Friday


(517) 279-4318


Probate Court
(517) 279-6444

Juvenile Unit
(517) 279-6410


Probate Court
31 Division St.
Coldwater, MI 49036

Mailing Address:

Probate Court
31 Division St.
Coldwater, MI 49036

Michigan Probate Courts

There is a probate court in each Michigan county with the exception of ten counties which have consolidated to form five probate court districts. Each district has one judge and each of the remaining counties has one or more judges depending in large part on the population and caseload within the county.

The probate court traditionally has had exclusive jurisdiction in such matters as juvenile delinquency, abuse and neglect, adoptions, administration of estates and trusts, guardianships and conservatorships and mental commitments.

In 1998, the Legislature created the family division in the circuit court and moved juvenile delinquency, abuse and neglect, adoptions, name changes, emancipation of minors, waivers of parental consent and other ancillary family matters from the probate court to the circuit court. The probate court now hears cases pertaining to guardianships, conservatorships, the commitment for hospital care of the mentally ill and administration of estates and trusts.

Probate judges are elected on a nonpartisan ballot for six year terms, subject to the same requirements as other judges. The Legislature sets the salary for probate judges.


The mission of the Probate Court for the County of Branch is to serve the public by exercising its legal jurisdiction and responsibility as set forth in the State Constitution, the Michigan Probate and Mental Health Codes and Court Rules.

As contrasted with federal and circuit courts, which derive much of their power from the U.S. Constitution, Michigan probate courts obtain their authority from statutes authored by the Michigan State Legislature.

The probate court is a civil court; that is, it is service-oriented, it relates to the private rights of citizens and provides protection for people who are for specific reasons vulnerable. The remedies sought through action in probate court are considered distinct from criminal proceedings.

Since the responsibility of the probate court is to properly dispose of matters legally before the court and to serve the public, the court must advocate and work openly and collaboratively with all legal, political, public and private agencies to provide services to those unable to protect themselves, and on behalf of communities which have a right to be safe.

Branch County Probate Court

’s jurisdiction is primarily:

1) Estate Proceedings

2) Guardianships and Conservatorships

3) Mental Health Proceedings

4) Adoptions

Probate Research

Early probate estate records are recorded on microfilm which must be viewed at the County Clerk's office during the hours of 9am - 11am and 1pm - 3pm, Monday through Friday. Probate staff must accompany researchers to that office, therefore we request that you call ahead to schedule a time when staff will be available. Walk-ins can only be accommodated on a very limited basis. Please call 517-279-4318 for further information.

The cost for photocopies is $1.00 per page. We cannot guarantee the quality of the copies due to the age of the microfilm. 



In most courts probate judges are assigned to the family division of the circuit court in order to provide judicial coverage of the caseload. In Branch County , Judge Kirk Kashian is the presiding judge over matters concerning the Juvenile Unit, of the 15th Circuit Court, Family Division.

The Juvenile Units jurisdiction includes delinquency, status offenses, abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights. Action by the Court is governed by the Michigan Juvenile Code and Michigan Court Rules.


 Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program?  CASA of Branch County was established in 2008 with the purpose of helping abused or neglected children navigate the often confusing and frightening courtroom experience.  CASA volunteers are ordinary citizens who are willing to go behind the doors of juvenile and family courts, to ease the pain and trauma of children in crisis, to investigate and offer the judge invaluable case information, ensuring that the system is accountable and upholding the best interests of the child.

What is a CASA volunteer and what is the volunteer's role?  A CASA is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interest of an abused and neglected child in court.  A CASA provides the judge with carefully researched reports about the child and his or her circumstances to help the court make a sound decision about that child's future.  The CASA follows through with the child's case until a safe, permanent home is obtained.

What are the requirements to becoming a CASA volunteer?

  • Be 21 years of age
  • Complete Volunteer Application
  • Participate in screening interviews
  • Submit to criminal background investigation (Child Abuse/Sex Offender Registry/Department of Motor Vehicles)
  • Proof of own insured transportation
  • Participate in CASA training
  • Be approved by CASA Board
  • Commit to program for 12-18 months

Does a CASA volunteer need to have any special training or educational background?  No.  CASA of Branch County provides the necessary training to become an advocate volunteer.

What commitments would the CASA be making?  When appointed as a CASA,  the CASA agrees to: work with the child until the conclusion of his or her case (average 12-15 months); to meet with the child on a weekly basis; to maintain confidentiality; and to abide by the protocol that CASA of Branch County has established.

How many hours a month will the CASA  be required to volunteer?  After 35 hours of initial training, volunteers set their own hours based on their schedule, and the schedule of the child and their caregivers.  Expect to spend at least 2 hours a week visiting the child and making phone calls.  During times when there is a report due, or a change is occurring, more time may be required to gather information and produce the required reports for court. 

How does the CASA relate to the child they represent?  CASA volunteers offer children trust and advocacy during complex legal proceedings.  They explain to the child the events that are happening, the reasons they are in court (if child is asked to appear), and roles of the judges, lawyers, social workers, etc.  CASA volunteers also encourage the child to express their own opinion and hopes, while remaining objective observers.

How many cases will the CASA volunteer be asked to carry?  Volunteers will only be asked to carry one case at a time.

How does a CASA volunteer investigate a case?  To prepare a report to the court, the CASA talks with the child, parents, foster care parents, family members , social workers, school officials, child's attorney, Department of Human Services (DHS) case workers, health providers, and others who are knowledgeable about the child.  CASA volunteers are legally appointed to their child and have access to confidential information such as school, case worker reports and medical records.

What kind of support do the CASA volunteers have from the CASA staff?  CASA provides a program coordinator for direct support.  The coordinator attends court and assists in preparing reports, and is available to provide advice and guidance to the volunteer.

What if I can't be an Advocate but still want to help?  There are many other ways that you can help CASA, including simply spreading the word to others.  We often need help with mailings, special events, etc.  Contact the program coordinator for further information.

How do I get more information about becoming a CASA of Branch County volunteer?  Contact the program coordinator at: 

CASA of Branch County

Patsy Karbon, Program Coordinator

31 Division St.

Coldwater, MI  49036