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    Friend of the Court

    Friend of the Court in Michigan Divorce Cases

    Child custody, parenting time, and child support are major areas of concern for the court in Michigan divorce cases. The Friend of the Court (FOC) is dedicated to assisting parties with these three important matters at any point during the divorce proceedings, including after the judgment of divorce has been entered.

    Understanding the Friend of the Court

    The Friend of the Court is a division of the circuit court and a free service that handles all matters involving minor children. The FOC enforces child support payments.

    The parties in a divorce are required to go to the FOC for an investigation and recommendation regarding custody, parenting time, and child support to ensure that the best interests of the children are always put first.

    The FOC Investigation in Michigan

    When a divorcing couple cannot agree on the custody of minor children, the FOC must conduct a complete investigation to determine parenting time and child support. This investigation includes:

    • Interviews with both parties
    • A review of relevant documentation
    • Interviews with the children
    • Consideration of other relevant details

    After these efforts have been completed, the FOC prepares a report and makes custody recommendations, honoring what is in the best interests of the child. The recommendations take into consideration the FOC’s assessment of elements such as the ability for the parties involved to:

    • Care for the child properly – including education, religious matters, medical care, food, clothing, and all other material needs
    • Maintain a stable environment
    • Prove moral fitness
    • Establish mental and physical health
    • Willingly facilitate a continuing parent-child relationship with child and the other parent

    And, of course, the FOC must see proof of love, affection, and emotional ties between the party and the child. The FOC may also consider the reasonable preference of the child depending on his or her age.

    How Friend of the Court Determines Child Support and Parenting Time

    In Michigan, the FOC uses a child support guideline manual to make child support recommendations in divorce cases. The net income of the non-custodial parent is a key factor, as well as the health of the children, medical expenses, and childcare expenses.

    Child support is computed based on an established formula, and support is calculated on a monthly basis. The amount of overnight parenting time the payor has plays a significant role in determining how much support is owed.

    When there are no extenuating circumstances, parenting time between the minor children and non-custodial parent typically falls within the lines of having the children every other weekend, one night a week, alternate holidays, and for an extended period of weeks in the summer.

    Opting Out of Friend of the Court

    Some divorcing couples in Michigan choose to opt out of the Friend of the Court where child support and income withholding are concerned. They may believe that their divorce has proceeded amicably thus far and will continue to do so and, even if things do get heated, the two of them will get along for the sake of the children and always put them first.

    Though a couple may have good intentions and vow to be kind, so their divorce can proceed smoothly and they can avoid unnecessary distress, when it comes to money matters and children, complications can and do arise. Financial situations change. Tempers flare. And that makes the FOC a vital tool for diffusing problems and establishing rules.

    Friend of the Court Simplifies Michigan Divorce Matters

    The Friend of the Court is intended to make divorce easier on couples and their children, but their recommendations are not always honored or accepted by divorcing parties. If you have questions about the FOC, how they can help you, and what role they will play in your divorce, schedule your free initial consultation with one of the experienced Michigan divorce lawyers at Michigan Divorce Help, PLLC in Macomb County.

    Femminineo Law
    110 S Main St # 200
    Mt Clemens, MI 48043

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    Michigan Divorce Help Law