Friend of the Court

Security check upon entering: no phones or weapons allowed in the building
300 N. Main St.
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
Phone:(989) 772-0911
Fax:(989) 779-8022
Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Except holidays

Friend of the Court

The Friend of the Court Office was created in 1919 by Michigan law. There is one office serving each circuit/trial court in the state. The Family Division of the Circuit Court was created by Public Act 388 in 1996. On January 1, 1998 the Friend of the Court became a unit in the Family Division of the Circuit Court. The Friend of the Court Office provides services to parties with minor children involving divorce, family support, interstate and paternity cases.

filing for divorce

How Friend of the Court Office becomes involved

The Friend of the Court Office is the collection, enforcement and investigative arm of the Trial Court in the area of domestic relations. The actions by the office are dictated by court order. The court issues orders after the Judge and/or Referee have made a determination and the written document is signed, then filed with the county clerk. To obtain a domestic relation order from the Court, the issue has to be brought before the Court through formal legal action. Every domestic relation matter begins with the plaintiff filing a complaint or petition, which asks the court to grant an order. For example, a complaint may ask the court to grant a divorce, provide for child or spousal support, start an out-of-state support collection effort, or grant an order for custody of a child. The defendant is the person whom the complaint is filed against. The complaint is filed either by a private attorney, the prosecuting attorney or by one of the parties. The Friend of the Court Office does not become involved until an action has been filed with the Court.

The jurisdiction of the Court over the parties and the children involved in divorce, custody, support and parenting time actions starts as soon as a case is filed. It may continue long after a judgment is granted. Each party has many responsibilities and duties in a domestic relations case. The first duty and responsibility is to obey the Orders issued by the Court.

Duties of Friend of the Court

The Friend of the Court Office’s (FOC) main duties are to assist the Trial Court in divorce and related cases.

  • Collecting, recording and disbursing child support payments as ordered by the court.
  • Investigating and making recommendations to the court on child custody, parenting time and child support matters.
  • Providing mediation for parenting time and custody disputes.
  • Enforcing court orders regarding custody, parenting time, medical and child support.
  • Providing forms to parties so that they can petition the Court when they desire.

The Friend of the Court Office can initiate enforcement proceedings when the support payor falls behind, parenting time is denied or the custody order is violated. The FOC also investigates and makes recommendations regarding support, alimony, custody, and parenting time. Mediation services are also offered by the FOC to aid in resolving conflicts in custody and parenting time.

More information is available through Michigan’s Friend of the Court Handbook. The handbook addresses the basic duties of parties when the court has issued an order for custody, parenting time or support. Further, the handbook describes general duties of the Friend of the Court. Specific procedures are established by local offices and may vary from office to office. Any questions regarding local procedures or requirements outlined in this handbook may be discussed with your local Friend of the Court Office, or with an attorney of your choice.

 

law books gavel
meeting with attorney

Each Party’s Responsibility

Inform the Friend of the Court, in writing, of the following information:

  • Current residential and mailing address.
  • Current telephone number.
  • Current employer or source of income’s name, address, and telephone number.
  • Current residence of children.
  • Current information regarding health care coverage available as a benefit of employment or maintained by either party.
  • Any occupational or driver’s license held, and the driver’s license number.
  • Social security number, unless exempt by law from disclosing that number.
  • Provide information to the Friend of the Court to assist the office in carrying out it’s duties as required by law.
  • Obey all orders of the court.
  • Keep appointments made with the office, or take the time to cancel or reschedule the appointment.
  • Treat Friend of the Court employees with fairness, respect, and courtesy.

Use of Information

This web site is provided as an information source for public use. Isabella County Friend of the Court strives to maintain the integrity of this site and to present information which is accurate and timely. The information is subject to periodic updates, revisions, deletions and additions without prior notice. Material provided at this site is gathered from many sources. Isabella County Friend of the Court is not responsible for errors or omissions contained in the information, and makes no representations as to the accuracy of the information.

The material at this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on in lieu of professional advice. The material on this site should not be construed as providing a legal opinion or advice regarding any specific issue. Consult a lawyer concerning any legal questions that you have.

Where an official printed document differs from text which may be provided at this site, the official printed document takes precedence.

Commercial use of material contained at this site is prohibited without the express written permission of Isabella County Friend of the Court.

Disclaimer of Liability

With respect to all information available at this site, Isabella County Friend of the Court, its officers, employees, agents and assigns make no warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, and assume no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process disclosed, nor does Isabella County Friend of the Court make any representation that the use of said information will not infringe privately owned rights

Isabella County Friend of the Court, its officers, employees, agents and assigns will not be liable for any damage or injury caused by the use of this site, including but not limited to failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, defect, delay in operation or transmission, computer virus, or on-line failure.

The user assumes all risks associated with the use of this site, including those involving computer, software or data damage caused by any virus, software or other file which might be transmitted or activated via the Isabella County Friend of the Court web site or your access to it.

Disclaimer of Endorsement

Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply Isabella County Friend of the Court’s endorsement or recommendation thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Isabella County Friend of the Court, and shall not be used for advertising or endorsement purposes.

Isabella County Friend of the Court does not review, sponsor or endorse any other web sites linked to this web site.

Communications on Site Are Not Legal Notice

Communications made through this site shall in no way be deemed to constitute legal notice to Isabella County Friend of the Court or any of its agencies, officers, employees, agents or representatives, with respect to any existing or potential claim or cause of action against the County or any of its agencies, officers, employees, agents or representatives, where notice to the County is required by any federal, state or local law, rule or regulation.

sisters hugging and smiling

Friend of the Court Programs

S.M.I.L.E. – Start making it livable for everyone

We are well aware that during the process of separation/divorce you and your children will have difficulty in adjusting. A large part of the adjustment to divorce is emotional. Your children may have difficulty adjusting to the breakup of the family.

Why S.M.I.L.E. is important

  • It provides information to help parents better understand the effects of separation on the family.
  • It assists parents to understand the needs of children.
  • It helps parents learn what they can do to create a nurturing and safe environment so that their children can recover from the separation and feel good about themselves.
  • It provides information to prevent destructive game-playing that is so common among separated couples and their children.
  • It helps parents gain problem solving skills.
  • It lets parents know that they are not alone.
  • It helps parents know how to be in touch with their children’s pain and anguish.
  • It shows parents how to stop making children victims of the separation or divorce.

Talk to your children:

Children need to know what is happening to them. Divorce and separation of the family are a very scary time for children. They need to know what will change and what will be the same. Do not use this time as an opportunity to list the faults of the other parent. A simple explanation that lets them know what is happening without putting them in the middle of the conflict is sufficient.

Reassure them of your love:

Children may think that if Mom and Dad can stop loving each other, that they could stop loving them too. They need to be reassured over and over again that your love for them will continue even if Mom and Dad no longer love each other.

Encourage frequent contact with both parents:

Besides telling your children that you still love them, they must continue to have regular and frequent contact with both parents. Separation is frightening for children and they will benefit from being able to spend time with both parents. Even a telephone call to your child can make them feel very special.

  • To provide information to help parents better understand the effects of divorce and separation on their children.
  • To help parents understand the needs of their children.
  • To promote children’s healthy adjustment to divorce and separation.

The information that will be provided to you at the S.M.I.L.E. program presentation has been drawn from the experience of the developers of the S.M.I.L.E. program, and other professionals in the field of divorce and separation of families. Because each divorce and family situation is unique, readers are encouraged to consult other services available to separated parents and their children. These include psychological services, legal services, support groups, emergency services, court mediation services, conflict resolution and mediation agencies, and books or articles relating to making divorce and separation livable.

Each year over one million marriages end in divorce in the United States. When families separate, people feel alone and wonder how anyone else lived through it. S.M.I.L.E. will provide information about the effects of separation and what parents can do to make the separation livable.

The video is shown on the first Wednesday and second Friday of each month at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. If a holiday falls on the date in question, the presentation will be available on the immediately preceding day, at the regularly scheduled time.

You may attend a presentation in another county. Please provide verification of attendance.

 

When children are asked what they want to see happen after divorce, they tend to answer that they would like their parents back together again. When parents are asked the same question, most respond that they want nothing to do with their former spouse.

The adjustments required in post divorce relationships are never easy, for divorce is one of life’s most stressful events for everyone involved. Children are devastated by divorce and feel powerless. Typically, they experience tremendous loss and pain. They have been dependent on both parents, and the props have been knocked out from under them. They feel disbelief that the family will no longer exist as they have known it. Many are anxious, angry, sad, depressed, and confused about what is happening. They feel abandoned, and they suffer a drop in self esteem.

Just when children need them most, many newly divorced parents need time for themselves to regain a sense of balance and personal well being. If grieving parents lose their ability to consider their children’s needs, everyone suffers. It is hard enough to raise children when parents are together and getting along well; it is much more difficult when divorced parents are having problems talking with each other.

Children need relationships with both parents after divorce, and parents must do what they can to promote those relationships. Children desperately need parental cooperation. Parents can learn to get along after divorce and share responsibilities for their children even if they did not get along as husband and wife. Parents or children who have great difficulty coping with divorce should seek professional help. Hopefully, the information provided by the S.M.I.L.E. program will serve as a guide to raising secure and healthy children after divorce.

Talk to your children:

Children need to know what is happening to them. Divorce and separation of the family are a very scary time for children. They need to know what will change and what will be the same. Do not use this time as an opportunity to list the faults of the other parent. A simple explanation that lets them know what is happening without putting them in the middle of the conflict is sufficient.

Reassure them of your love:

Children may think that if Mom and Dad can stop loving each other, that they could stop loving them too. They need to be reassured over and over again that your love for them will continue even if Mom and Dad no longer love each other.

Encourage frequent contact with both parents:

Besides telling your children that you still love them, they must continue to have regular and frequent contact with both parents. Separation is frightening for children and they will benefit from being able to spend time with both parents. Even a telephone call to your child can make them feel very special.

  • To provide information to help parents better understand the effects of divorce and separation on their children.
  • To help parents understand the needs of their children.
  • To promote children’s healthy adjustment to divorce and separation.

The information that will be provided to you at the S.M.I.L.E. program presentation has been drawn from the experience of the developers of the S.M.I.L.E. program, and other professionals in the field of divorce and separation of families. Because each divorce and family situation is unique, readers are encouraged to consult other services available to separated parents and their children. These include psychological services, legal services, support groups, emergency services, court mediation services, conflict resolution and mediation agencies, and books or articles relating to making divorce and separation livable.

Each year over one million marriages end in divorce in the United States. When families separate, people feel alone and wonder how anyone else lived through it. S.M.I.L.E. will provide information about the effects of separation and what parents can do to make the separation livable.

The video is shown on the first Wednesday and second Friday of each month at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. If a holiday falls on the date in question, the presentation will be available on the immediately preceding day, at the regularly scheduled time.

You may attend a presentation in another county. Please provide verification of attendance.

 

Resources

SCAO forms: https://courts.michigan.gov/Administration/SCAO/Forms/Pages/Friend-of-the-Court-Index.aspx
SCAO Friend of the Court Bureau (FOC Handbook): https://courts.michigan.gov/administration/scao/officesprograms/foc/pages/resources.aspx
MiCase Child Support: https://micase.state.mi.us/portalapp/public/login.html?execution=e1s1
Interactive Voice Response Information: You may also hear information about your child support case by calling the Michigan Child Support County Interactive Voice Response (IVR) at 877-543-2660.
REASONABLE PARENTING TIME POLICY