MSC approves electronic signatures and notarization

The Michigan Supreme Court has amended MCR 1.109 to provide for electronic signatures and electronic notarization of signatures when necessary.

The Court added new subsection C, which provides:

(C) Signatures.

(1) A signature, as required by these court rules and law, means a written signature as defined by MCL 8.3q or an electronic signature as defined by this subrule.

(2) An electronic signature means an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.

(3) If a law or court rule requires a signature to be notarized or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law or court rule, is attached to or logically associated with the signature.

(4) Retention of a signature electronically affixed to a document that will be retained by the court in electronic format must not be dependent upon the mechanism that was used to affix that signature.

Amended MCR 1.109 takes effect immediately.

The Court also amended MCR 3.204 – Proceedings Affecting Children. Under the amended rule, which takes effect Sept. 1, disputes concerning child support, custody or parenting time will be handled by motion practice whenever possible instead of filing a supplemental complaint.

The goal is to consolidate cases in a way that is more compatible with trial court case management systems.

Under an amendment to MCR 3.616, ex parte voluntary foster care petitions from the Department of Human Services must now indicate the youth’s race. The amendment, which takes effect Sept. 1, makes the rule consistent with MCL 400.655(a).

The Court declined to adopt proposed MCR 3.220, which would have required trial courts to set deadlines in domestic arbitration cases and would have allowed arbitrators to issue interim awards during the arbitration proceedings.

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