The Complaint filed by the Prosecuting Attorney's office to establish paternity or an initial child support order will also attempt to specify legal and physical custody of the child. If the parents agree to specific custody terms (example: parents share legal custody, and mother has full physical custody) the Prosecutor's Office will advocate for that in court. If the parents disagree, the Prosecutor's proposed Order to the judge may refer issues of custody, parenting and child support calculations to the Friend of the Court (FOC). At this point, the Prosecutor's Office is no longer involved in the case because the parents either represent themselves or hire attorneys to help them through the FOC investigation process. After an investigation and possibly fact-finding hearings, the FOC will make a recommendation to the Judge that could settle the debated issues.
Either party can file a timely objection, which then place the issues in front of the assigned Judge for a final decision. The Prosecuting Attorney does not appear in court on custody or parenting time ("visitation") issues or disputes in the Friend of the Court process. If you need help because you are being denied parenting time, you may contact the Friend of the Court for assistance once a judgment has been issued by a Circuit Court Judge, or you may seek the assistance of a private attorney who specializes in family law. If you believe that the other parent has "kidnapped" your child, contact the police. They will conduct an investigation and possibly refer the case to the Prosecuting Attorney to decide whether a crime has occurred requiring prosecution.