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What is the role of the Friend of the Court?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Blog, Divorce

In Michigan, the Friend of the Court plays a significant role in helping parents resolve disputes related to custody, parenting time and child support.

The FOC office is part of the family division of the circuit court and operates under an appointment from a judge to assist in cases. It carries out various duties as a neutral party, working to ensure the best interests of the children involved.

Investigating arrangements

The FOC investigates and makes recommendations to the court regarding custody and parenting time arrangements. It may conduct interviews with the parents, children and other relevant individuals. It may also review relevant documents and evidence. Based on the information collected, the FOC will make recommendations to the court that will produce results that are best for the children.

Enforcing orders

The FOC also plays a role in enforcing court orders. It may monitor compliance and investigate allegations of non-compliance. If there are issues, the FOC may take appropriate action, such as initiating enforcement actions, including wage garnishment or contempt proceedings, or alerting the family law court.

Facilitating communication

Helping parents communicate and work with each other is another role of the FOC.  It may provide education and information to parents about effective co-parenting strategies and resources available to them. The goal is to reduce conflict and create a more stable and supportive environment for the children.

Parents may have the option to opt out of receiving services from the FOC. Both of them must agree and file a motion with the court. It also requires a judge’s approval to end involvement. However, the services can be quite beneficial if parents have difficulty working together to resolve issues.