Seeking a Modification of Your Child Support Order
If there is a child support order in effect, either parent (or a third party who has court ordered custody of a child) may make a written request to the Eaton County Friend of the Court for a support review. The Friend of the Court will only do a support review at the request of either parent once every 36 months, unless there is a very unusual circumstance. A support review may take up to 60 days to complete, as the FOC requests financial and other information from both parents and their employers. In the event that an Objection is filed, the child support process may take longer to resolve.
After the review is complete, the FOC will send each parent a copy of the recommendation and proposed order. If a parent objects to the recommendation, he or she must put the objection in writing to the Eaton County Circuit Clerk's Office within 21 days and also a copy should be sent to the Eaton County Friend of the Court and the other Party within 21 days. If the Clerk’s office notifies the FOC that an objection has been filed, the FOC will schedule a Referee Hearing before the Family Court Referee. Notice of the Referee Hearing date and time is sent to both parents and/or third party custodian(s).
If the parties are unable to agree at the Referee Hearing to a support amount, an Objection must be filed to the Referee's Proposed Order within twenty one (21) days, in which case the matter shall be heard by the judge assigned to the case.
The court usually will not approve an order for child support that is markedly different from the amount recommended by the Michigan Child Support Formula, unless there are circumstances identified by statute that would make the formula amount unjust. If the parties are ineligible for a support review but would still like to request a change in the court ordered child support amount, a motion to modify support may be filed with the court at any time. Parties, or their respective attorneys, may file a motion with the court. After filing the motion with the County Clerk, the same process will occur as outlined above.
A support review is a review of the monthly child support and child care obligation that charges on our case, via application of the Michigan Child Support Formula.
If both Parties agree to a modification of child support, you may downlaod, complete, and file the appropriate form by clicking here: [FOC Form 10/52]
If both Parties agree to a modification of child support, AND YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY OPTED OUT OF FRIEND OF COURT SERVICES, you may downlaod, complete, and file the appropriate form by clicking here: [FOC 10a/52a]
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Child Support Reviews
Q) When will the Friend of the Court (FOC) review child support?
A) The FOC will review the support obligation on cases in the following situations:
1. Upon written request of either party, not more than every 3 years.
2. Upon receiving a Court Order from the Judge.
3. Every 3 years when the recipient of the support receives public assistance (TANF or FIP).
4. Upon the FOC staff initiative where certain restrictive conditions are met.
Q) I am not eligible for a support review through FOC but my circumstances have changed and I believe support should be modified what should I do?
A) You may either (1) hire an attorney and file a petition with Circuit Court to request the Judge modify support, or order FOC review the case or (2) file an IN PRO PER petition (without an attorney). The FOC can provide the IN PRO PER forms, which the petitioner must then file with the appropriate court fee.
Q) Does the FOC review and investigate the IN PRO PER petitions?
Q) Will support be made retroactive to the date I ask the FOC for a support review?
A) Not unless a court order specifies it or a petition was filed with the Circuit Court.
Q) Does writing a letter to the FOC requesting a review qualify as the filing of a petition?
A) No, the filing of a petition is a formal court action.
Q) My case was referred by the Judge in a Court Order for a support review. When it is completed, will support automatically be modified by the FOC?
A) Support will not be modified until a new order is entered.
Q) I reached an agreement with the other party to modify support; will the FOC prepare an order based on our agreement?
A) If you choose to not apply the Formula recommendation, you will be provided a Uniform Support Order to comeple and have signed by both Parties.
Q) Does the FOC review and make recommendations regarding alimony?
Q) I pay child support and I voluntarily reduced my income. Will my support be reduced?
A) Case law states that child support will not be reduced based on a voluntary reduction in income.
Q) When making a recommendation for child support, does the FOC take into account my bills such as car payment, rent, utilities, or credit card debt?
A) The Michigan Child Support Formula already assumes all persons have certain living expenses. The FOC cannot deduct those bills before calculating support and making a recommendation.
(The content of this and some other pages reprinted with permission from and appreciation to Jackson and Kent County Friend of the Court)