FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
My order states that I cannot move my children from the state of Michigan without approval of the Court. How do I get the court's approval?
If the parties mutually agree to a change of domicile and they sign a written agreement (stipulation and consent agreement), it will be entered as an order, if approved by the court. If the parties cannot mutually agree on a change of domicile, they have the following options:
- Contact the other party to see if he or she will agree to mediation.
- File a petition on your own behalf or contact an attorney to help you file the petition. Notification to the Friend of the Court or filing a petition does not allow you to move from the state, prior to a court order being entered.
Why won't the Friend of the Court enforce what the Judge said in court, even if it is not in the written order?
The court speaks through it's written orders, therefore, the Friend of the Court enforces only the written orders. If you feel that the written order is incorrect, you may want to order a transcript of the hearing from which the order was established. If you find that the order does not agree with the transcript bring your concerns to the attention of the person who prepared the written order and request a change. You can also file a motion with the court asking the court to correct the written order.
Can the Friend of the Court enforce the property settlement provisions contained in my Judgment of Divorce?
The Friend of the Court enforces custody, visitation and support orders. The Friend of the Court does not have the power to enforce property settlement orders.
What is a Friend of the Court referee and what can they do (not every FOC has a referee)?
A referee is a person who takes testimony and reports to the court. A referee can be either a Friend of the Court or an attorney employed by the Friend of the Court. The Chief Judge of a circuit court may appoint a referee to hear any domestic relations matter (except an increase or decrease of spousal support).
A hearing before a referee is not the same as a hearing before a Judge. The findings of a referee are only recommendations to the court, and are no final. These recommendations will become an order of the court if neither party files an objection. State law requires that any written report and recommended order make by a referee must be given to the parties and their attorneys before the judge takes any action on the recommendation. If a party disagrees with a referee's recommendation, he or she has the right to a hearing before the court. This hearing must be requested in writing within 21 days after receiving the referee recommendation (request for a hearing on an income withholding order must be made within 14 days). Contact the Friend of the Court office for the address to which the written request for a hearing should be sent.
What can the Friend of the Court do to find a missing parent?
The state and federal government have set up a parent locating service which can be used to: A. Locate a parent to collect child support; B. Locate a parent for deciding or enforcing a child custody matter; C. Locate a parent in cases of parental kidnapping.
The Friend of the Court, Prosecuting Attorney and Department of Human Services support specialist can ask to use this service. The full name, date of birth, social security number, and last known address of the parent to be located are required.
What happens to my child support order and any support that may be owed when children are adopted?
Adoptions take place in Probate Court. The Friend of the Court must be provided copies of all Probate Court adoption orders. The child support order stops when children are adopted. The Friend of the court is required to collect all support owed at the time of the adoption. Contact the Friend of the Court to make arrangements to pay all money owed.