Friend of the Court FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do I get an order for custody?
A motion must be filed with the Court requesting custody. If parents agree, they may sign an agreement (stipulation and consent agreement) and obtain the Judge’s approval. The Friend of the Court can assist you in preparing the paperwork to present to the Judge. Once the order has been signed by the Judge, it is an enforceable Court order.
Child support payments are not being made. Do I have to allow parenting time?
Yes. Parenting Time and support are separate parts of a court order. Each has enforcement procedures to be used when that part of the order is disobeyed.
My child does not want to engage in parenting time with the other parent. What can I do?
Parents are to obey the court order, regardless of the child’s age. It is the parent’s responsibility to promote a positive relationship with the child and the other parent. You may want to try the following options:
- Work out a different schedule or arrangement with the other parent.
- Seek counseling for your child, and/or family counseling including yourself and the other parent.
- Contact the Friend of the court and request mediation.
- File a motion with the court asking for a change in your parenting time order.
At what age can a child choose where they will live?
Eighteen. Contrary to popular myth, there is no set age when a child can choose which parent they will reside with. Preferably, the parents will make this decision together, taking into account what arrangement will provide the child with the most stability and continuity. If unable to agree, then either parent may bring a motion before the court and the court will make a decision based on the factors of the Child Custody Act.
How do I get an order for support?
A motion asking the court to order child support must be filed with the court clerk. The Friend of the Court can do a support recommendation for the parties based on the Michigan Child Support Guidelines. The Court must follow these guidelines unless reasons are presented on the record at a hearing as to why the guidelines are unjust and in appropriate. Once the court has entered an order, it is given to the Friend of the Court for follow up and enforcement.
I have been paying child support and the custodial parent is not allowing parenting time. Do I have to continue to pay support?
Yes. Parenting time and Support are separate parts of a court order. Each has enforcement procedures to be used when part of the order is disobeyed.
Is the Friend of the Court responsible for making sure that child support is being spent on the children?
No. The law does not give anyone the authority to verify how child support payments are being spent.
Can I access school, medical and other records if my child lives with the other parent?
Michigan law provides that a parent has the right to access certain records or information about his or her child regardless of the custody arrangement. Records or information that may be accessed include medical, dental, and school records, day care provider records, and notification of meetings regarding the child’s education. The Friend of the court has no authority to enforce this law against schools, health care providers, or others who refuse to provide the records. You may want to consult with an attorney if you are denied this right.
Note: For additional FAQs and answers provided by the state of Michigan Friend of the Court Bureau, click here.