Child custody and support are situations the state takes very seriously. Ensuring that parents properly care for their children is a top priority. Courts also want to encourage meaningful relationships between children and both parents. However, courts also understand that divorce situations are difficult and the process of determining custody is often emotional, and even after the final decision, there can be turmoil.
For this reason, the state created the Friend of the Court, which according to the Michigan Legislature, is a part of the family courts that focuses on assisting families with parenting time and child support issues. This office has been around since 1919. It is available to everyone who goes through the family court for child support and custody.
The Friend of the Court has a range of duties that allow it to assist the court and help families. It collects and distributes child support payments, helps to enforce visitation and support orders and assists families with filing motions and responses to requests for changes in custody, parenting time and child support. It also gives recommendations to the court based on investigations and provides alternative dispute resolution options to families.
The Friend of the Court does not have the ability to provide legal advice or make changes to an order. It is merely a support service for the court and for families that can provide information and make suggestions. You do not have to use the services of the office in your case. You can opt-out of the services if you and the other parent agree. You must file a joint motion with the court and get court approval to end the Friend of Court involvement in your case.