Friend of the Court
New Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Policy:
Effective January 1, 2020 a new Friend of the Court Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) policy will go into effect. This new policy is set forth in a Local Administrative Order approved by the State Court Administrative Office, and was developed to be in compliance with a new Michigan Court Rule, MCR 3.224.
The intent of the new court rule was to improve the FOC ADR procedures, create uniformity of the ADR processes provided by the various Friend of the Court offices throughout the state, and to expedite the Friend of the Court ADR process.
Highlights of the new ADR procedures include the following:
- The prior Conciliation Conference will be replaced by a Facilitation Information Gathering Conference (or FIG Conference for short). Additional FOC ADR processes will include Joint Meetings and Domestic Relations Mediation.
- Time lines for FOC Investigators issuing proposed interim orders following the FIG Conference have been expedited.
- Time lines for FOC Investigators issuing recommendations and recommended orders following referrals for investigations and joint meetings have been expedited.
- Specific guidelines and tools for screening and addressing domestic violence, protective orders, and CPS involvement to protect parties.
- Facilitation and Encouragement for attorneys to participate in all FOC ADR processes.
- Policies and provisions to object to ADR participation and ADR interim and proposed orders.
- To read or print a copy of the new EATON COUNTY FRIEND OF THE COURT MCR 3.224 ADR LOCAL ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER, CLICK HERE
Role & Functions
The Friend of the Court is an entity created by statute to assist the Family Court in establishing, enforcing, and modifying orders regarding:
- Child custody
- Child care expenses
- Child support
- Parenting time
- Uninsured medical costs
The Friend of the Court investigates and issues reports and recommendations regarding these issues. The Friend of the Court additionally provides mediation for domestic relations cases which attempts to amicably resolve disputes between parties in a nonadversarial fashion.
The Friend of the Court holds Referee Hearings involving all of these issues and also holds show cause hearings to enforce child support, parenting time, and spousal support orders.
The Friend of the Court provides Facilitative Investigation Gathering (FIG) Conferences at the beginning of new domestic relations cases to address the issues of child custody, support, and parenting time.
- 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?
- Why won't the Friend of the Court enforce what the Judge said in Court, even if it is not in the written order?
- Can the Friend of the Court enforce the property settlement provisions contained in my Judgment of Divorce?
- What is a Friend of the Court Referee and what can they do?
- What can the Friend of the Court do to find a missing parent?