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What is The Friend of the Court in Michigan

A lot of people don’t realize when they have a Divorce case in Michigan involving Minor Children that they are really dealing with two separate parts of the Family Court- the actual Judges in the Circuit Court for the County you live in, and also- the Friend of the Court.  The Friend of the Court is a division of the Family Court which is meant to assist the Judges with various aspects of a case.  Whether it is holding preliminary hearings, calculating child support, or other similar things.

The Friend of the Court is established by MCL 552.501 et seq, called the Friend of the Court Act.  There are several government agencies which develop guidelines and rules and work in conjunction with the Friend of the Court to enforce child support.

The role of the friend of the Court is to assist the court with all actions related to minor children involved in a Divorce Case in Michigan.  Each counties Friend of the Court operates slightly differently, however with the same objectives. 

In a lot of counties the first child custody, parenting time, or support hearing will be in front of the Friend of the Court Referee assigned to the case.  The Referee will conduct the hearing and make a recommendation to the Court as to what custody, parenting time or child support should be.  This recommendation should be in writing.  One important thing to note is that the referees, while they act similarly to Judge’s are not Judge’s, and you may object to their recommendations and have a full hearing in front of your Judge!  It is important to not overlook this right.  The new hearing is called a “De Novo” hearing. 

Another role the Friend of the Court can play is to investigate custody or parenting time issues, through the use of mediators or family counselors.  They can also investigate child support and make recommendation as to child support too.

I often get client’s who say that the Friend of the Court is a mess, or a waste of time, or other disparaging remarks.  While it may seem like a maze to someone who isn’t experienced, the processes of dealing with them can be much less stressful with the help of an experience attorney.   Give our office a call today if you are having trouble dealing with the Friend of the Court!

What is the Friend of the Court?

A lot of people don’t realize when they have a Divorce case in Michigan involving Minor Children that they are really dealing with two separate parts of the Family Court- the actual Judges in the Circuit Court for the County you live in, and also- the Friend of the Court.  The Friend of the Court is a division of the Family Court which is meant to assist the Judges with various aspects of a case.  Whether it is holding preliminary hearings, calculating child support, or other similar things.

The Friend of the Court is established by MCL 552.501 et seq, called the Friend of the Court Act.  There are several government agencies which develop guidelines and rules and work in conjunction with the Friend of the Court to enforce child support.

The role of the friend of the Court is to assist the court with all actions related to minor children involved in a Divorce Case in Michigan.  Each counties Friend of the Court operates slightly differently, however with the same objectives. 

In a lot of counties the first child custody, parenting time, or support hearing will be in front of the Friend of the Court Referee assigned to the case.  The Referee will conduct the hearing and make a recommendation to the Court as to what custody, parenting time or child support should be.  This recommendation should be in writing.  One important thing to note is that the referees, while they act similarly to Judge’s are not Judge’s, and you may object to their recommendations and have a full hearing in front of your Judge!  It is important to not overlook this right.  The new hearing is called a “De Novo” hearing. 

Another role the Friend of the Court can play is to investigate custody or parenting time issues, through the use of mediators or family counselors.  They can also investigate child support and make recommendation as to child support too.

I often get client’s who say that the Friend of the Court is a mess, or a waste of time, or other disparaging remarks.  While it may seem like a maze to someone who isn’t experienced, the processes of dealing with them can be much less stressful with the help of an experience attorney.   Give our office a call today if you are having trouble dealing with the Friend of the Court!

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