A helping hand is always a welcome support for anyone enduring challenging times. Michigan courts recognize that making a well-informed decision about significant issues related to divorce requires extensive consideration, resulting in the creation of the “Friend of the Court” (FOC).
Under the chief judge’s supervision, an FOC assists, investigates for and recommends to the court regarding matters on parenting time, and child custody and support. They also have court-ordered enforcement powers.
But you and your spouse could exercise your right to opt out of utilizing FOC services and enforce the court’s directives on your own, unless the court deems that you have specific circumstances not qualifying you to do so. You must also know that going before a judge may consume more time and resources.
Ultimately, there is no harm in learning about all possible options for your family’s protection.
An FOC has multiple responsibilities, with its primary being that they ensure both parents follow court orders and adhere to the terms of the divorce agreement. They do this by:
- Aiding in dispute settlements
- Facilitating child support payments
- Providing paperwork assistance
An FOC bases their recommendations on the child’s best interest standard. These factors include the quality of the existing parent-child relationships, both parents’ current capacity and disposition in caring for their child, both parents’ health and moral fitness, the duration of when the child stayed in a safe and stable environment and other relevant factors the court deems applicable.
However, an FOC has no authority to change a court or provide legal counsel. Further, although they can report criminal activity, they cannot launch an official investigation.
Tailored to meet your needs
While an FOC aims to advance the divorce process, they may still have a recommendation you disagree with. If you pursue an objection, your legal representative can provide an individualized approach, guiding you to meet requirements and deadlines.