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Ninth Judicial Circuit Court

FRIEND OF THE COURT HANDBOOK - QUESTIONS REGARDING OTHER ISSUES

The Court Speaks Through its Written Orders

WHY WON'T THE FOC ENFORCE WHAT THE JUDGE SAID IN COURT, EVEN IF IT IS NOT IN THE WRITTEN ORDER?

It is not an order until it is put in writing and signed by the Judge. The FOC can enforce only the written orders of the court, not the verbal ones. If you feel the written order does not agree with what the Judge or Referee said at the hearing, bring your concerns to the attention of the person who prepared the written order and request a change. You can also file a motion with the court asking the court to correct the written order.

Adoptions, Marriage and Military Service

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY CHILD SUPPORT ORDER AND ANY SUPPORT THAT MAY BE OWED IF MY MINOR CHILD IS ADOPTED, MARRIES OR ENTERS THE MILITARY SERVICE?

A child support order will be stopped if the minor child is adopted, marries or enters the military service. The FOC must be provided with a copy of adoption orders, marriage records or military service records before support will be stopped. Any amounts owed must still be paid.

Access to School and Other Records

DO I HAVE ACCESS TO SCHOOL, MEDICAL AND OTHER RECORDS IF MY CHILD LIVES WITH THE OTHER PARENT?

Michigan law provides that each parent has a right to access certain records and information about his or her child whether or not they have custody of the child. Records and information that may be accessed include medical records, dental records, school records, day care provider records, and notification of meetings about the child's education. These records should be obtained from their original source, not from FOC files.

Change of Domicile

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?

If the parties agree to a change of domicile, they can sign a written agreement (stipulation and consent order). With the agreement, they will then file a petition with the court. An order will be entered if the court approves the agreement.

If the parties cannot agree on a change of domicile, they have the following options:

  • Contact the other party to see if he or she will agree to mediation;
  • File a petition on your own behalf; or
  • Have an attorney help you file the petition.

Notification to the FOC or the filing of a petition does not allow you to move from the state. You do not have permission to move until the Judge signs the court order and it is entered with the county clerk.

Moving More Than 100 miles

IS IT TRUE THAT I CANNOT MOVE MORE THAN 100 MILES AWAY FROM MY CURRENT HOME?

With some exceptions, a parent of a child whose custody is governed by a court order is not allowed to change his or her legal residence more than 100 miles from his or her legal residence at the time the action was started. Exceptions exist if:

  • The other parent agrees to the move;
  • The court approves the move;
  • One parent has sole legal custody;
  • At the time the action was started the parents lived more than 100 miles apart; or
  • The move would reduce the distance between the residences of the parents.

If you have questions about a possible move, contact the FOC or a private attorney for more information.

Parent Locator

WHAT CAN THE FOC DO TO FIND A MISSING PARENT?

The state and federal government have set up a parent locating service for IV-D cases that can be used to:

a) Locate a parent to collect child support.

b) Locate a parent for deciding or enforcing a child custody matter.

c) Locate a parent in cases of parental kidnapping.

The FOC, Prosecuting attorney and DHS support specialists can ask to use this service. The full name, date of birth, social security number, and last known address of the parent to be located are required.

Property Settlement

CAN THE FOC ENFORCE THE PROPERTY SETTLEMENT PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN MY JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE?

No. The FOC enforces custody, parenting time and support orders. The FOC does not have the legal authority to enforce property settlement orders.

Referees

WHAT IS A DOMESTIC RELATIONS REFEREE AND WHAT DOES HE OR SHE DO?

A Referee is an attorney who holds hearings, takes testimony and provides a written report to the court. The Chief Judge of a circuit court may appoint a Referee to hear any domestic relations matter (except an increase or decrease of spousal support/alimony).

A hearing before a Referee is not the same as a hearing before a Judge. The findings of a Referee are only recommendations to the court, and are not final. These recommendations will become an order of the court, subject to being set aside upon motion and hearing. Until the Referee recommendation is approved and signed by the Judge, the FOC cannot enforce it.

If you disagree with a Referee's recommendation, you have the right to a hearing before a circuit court Judge. You must request this hearing in writing within 21 days after receiving the Referee recommendation (requests for a hearing on an income withholding order must be made within 14 days). Written objections are filed at the counter at the Gull Road Courthouse, at 1400 Gull Road.

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