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Ninth Judicial Circuit Court

FRIEND OF THE COURT HANDBOOK - OFFICE OF THE FRIEND OF THE COURT

Michigan law created FOC offices in 1919. There is at least one office for each judicial circuit. FOC offices have the following duties:

  1. When parents cannot agree, or when directed by the Judge, to conduct investigations and make reports and recommendations to the court regarding:
    • Custody
    • Parenting time (which may include transportation)
    • Amount of child support (including medical support, and in limited situations, spousal support).
  2. To offer mediation, when both parents agree to participate, as an optional way of settling disagreements over custody or parenting time.
  3. To collect, record, and send out support payments as ordered by the court (done through MiSDU).
  4. To provide enforcement services on custody, parenting time, and support orders.

The Kalamazoo County FOC handles specific areas of domestic relations cases heard by the Ninth Circuit Court, which serves Kalamazoo County. FOC employees are not allowed to give legal advice, or to recommend specific attorneys. For assistance in getting a lawyer, contact: KALAMAZOO ATTORNEY REFERRAL SERVICE 800-968-0738




HOURS OF OPERATION/HOLIDAYS

The FOC offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. It is closed on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve. If a holiday falls on Saturday or Sunday, the office may also be closed on the Friday before the holiday or the Monday after the holiday. If there is a question about whether or not the FOC will be open, please call 269-384-8200.

PARKING

The Friend of the Court office is located on the fourth floor of the Kalamazoo County Administration Building at 201 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, MI. A large multi-story parking lot is available immediately east of the County Administration Building. Entrances to the parking facility are on the south side, off of Eleanor Street, and the north side off of West Kalamazoo Avenue. Metered parking is available around the Administration Building.

COMMUNICATION WITH THE FOC OFFICE

Please contact the FOC office in writing so that complete and accurate information is recorded in the case file. Written communications between the FOC and you ensure a complete record is maintained. Requests for enforcement of child, spousal or medical support or enforcement of parenting time must be in writing. Whenever communicating with the FOC, always include the case/docket number assigned to your case and keep a copy for your records. Mail correspondence to:

Kalamazoo County Friend of the Court
201 W. Kalamazoo Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007-3777

To get the information to the person who can help you, or if a specific person or department asked for information from you, include the name of the staff member or department on your letter (i.e. Accounting, Customer Service, Legal, Enforcement, Medical Support, Modification).

A drop box is available outside the north entrance (facing McDonalds) of the County Administration Building. You may use the drop box to leave correspondence or make child support payments. DO NOT PLACE CASH IN THE DROP BOX. The drop box is checked each workday.

Please keep the FOC informed of changes in vital information concerning your case. Provide the FOC with written notice of any changes of: addresses, names, sources of income, medical insurance, telephone numbers, marital status of parties and minors, legal guardianships/adoptions, financial status including bankruptcy, and changes in the physical custody of the child. Also notify the FOC of the death of a party or child, the termination of parental rights, the reconciliation of parties, a child's high school graduation date and any other activity in any other court affecting your child.

E-MAIL TO THE FOC

You can send e-mail to the FOC, including all the same information you would if sending correspondence by mail, except for documents requiring a signature. The address is FOC@kalcounty.com. This is checked several times per day, with inquiries forwarded to the appropriate staff for response. It is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

PHONING THE FRIEND OF THE COURT

The interactive voice response (IVR) system allows callers to obtain general information and specific case information over the telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The number is (269) 384-8200, or (877) 971-8200 for long distance calls.

General information is available about office hours and directions to the office, programs, family counseling, and court motions and procedures. Specific information is also available about individual cases. Case information is updated daily by the state. It includes the amount and distribution of the last support payment or the last three payments, the amount owed on the account, the amount and date of the last income withholding order, and the date, time and location of scheduled show-cause hearings started by the Friend of the Court (but not those set by others). There is also an option for callers with other questions to be connected to an operator (8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri., excluding holidays). You can obtain specific instructions for reaching operators at MiSDU by asking for a handout "Using the IVR - How to Reach an Operator".

When you call, have a pen, paper and your social security number ready. Follow the instructions. To protect your privacy, when you ask for Case Specific information, you will have to enter your Social Security number when asked, and then your Personal Identification Number ("PIN"). You must choose your PIN the first time you call. The Friend of the Court does not choose your PIN or know what PIN you choose.

If the automated system does not have your correct Social Security number, you can correct this by sending a copy of your Social Security card to us at: Kalamazoo County Friend of the Court, (Attention Records), 201 W Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo MI 49007. For faster response, you can fax your request and the copies of the documents to (269) 383-8629.

If you do not remember your PIN, you must contact MiSDU in Lansing by calling 269-384-8200 or toll free 877-971-8200 and following the prompts.

ACCESS TO FRIEND OF THE COURT RECORDS

The records maintained by the FOC are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and are not open to the general public. They are confidential records used to monitor domestic relations cases for the court. Michigan Court Rules (MCR) grants certain individuals, including the parties and attorney of record, access to non-confidential records of your case for review and copying. Your correspondence to the FOC can be shared with the other party. Copies of accessible records cost $1.00 per page. You may file a motion with the court for an order to access the FOC records and confidential information. A form is available from the FOC to help you ask for copies of accessible records.

Certified copies of Court orders can be obtained from the Court Clerk's office at 1400 Gull Road for a cost of $15. The time required to obtain a certified copy differs depending on how old the order is, and where the hard copy is stored.

APPOINTMENTS

To request an appointment, you can write, email or call the FOC. Individuals with appointments should go to Room 407 on the 4th Floor, of the County Administration Building and check in with the receptionist. Appointments are routinely scheduled for parties seeking assistance in child, spousal and medical support enforcement and related issues, support modification, and custody and parenting time matters.

WALK-IN VISITS

The FOC information counter is found in Room 407 of the Kalamazoo County Administration Building, 201 W. Kalamazoo Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI. It is open from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri., excluding holidays. To preserve confidentiality, only one client is allowed at the information counter; take a number and have a seat and you will be called to the window in a first come, first serve sequence. Although every effort will be made to answer your questions on a walk-in basis, it may not be possible. You may be asked to document your problem in writing or to make an appointment if your questions are complicated, require in-depth analysis or detailed explanation.

Orientation

Going to the Friend of the Court for services may be confusing. Most people are not familiar with how the court system works. To help you better understand the Friend of the Court and its services, an informational meeting is offered every other month. We provide an overview of the Friend of the Court office, how it may be able to help you, and what role the Friend of the Court has in child support, medical support, custody and parenting time matters.

Place: Kalamazoo County Administration Building
2nd Floor- County Board Chambers
201 West Kalamazoo Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

When: Second Monday of Jan, Apr, Jul.
Time: 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Your attendance at orientation will help you to better understand situations you are likely to encounter as you work with the Friend of the Court office now and in the future.

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