Hi there, thanks for joining us again for this discussion on Friend of the Court in Michigan, and what to do if you don’t want them involved in your divorce. As we pointed out in the previous article, Friend of the Court is the “eyes and ears” of the family court in Michigan but not every couple with kids welcomes the ‘interference’ that this can mean for their family. So what can you do?
You can “opt out” of family court involvement in your divorce.
Opting out of FOC services means that any parenting time or child support disagreements you and your spouse have before your divorce is finalized, will be heard by a judge in a longer and more formal process. Also, if your spouse elects not to pay court-ordered child support after the divorce, the FOC won’t be able to help you collect what you’re owed.
If I don’t want them involved, does an ‘opt out’ mean I’m free?
Nope, opting out doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed that the family court will step aside, it simply means you’re requesting that the FOC not be involved – but it’s not a guarantee. You must qualify to opt out before the court to let you. The requirements for opting out depend on whether or not the FOC has already opened a case on your family.
If the FOC hasn’t opened a case yet, you can opt out unless:
- You or your spouse qualifies for public assistance;
- You or your spouse applied for Title IV-D child support services;
- You or your spouse requested that the FOC open a case;
- There’s evidence of domestic violence, or evidence that one of you failed to apply for child support services when it’s against the best interest of the child.
If the FOC has opened a case, you can opt out unless:
- Either you or your spouse objects;
- Either you or your spouse receives public assistance;
- Either you or your spouse used to get public assistance, and you now owe past-due support obligations to whatever government agency provided the assistance;
- Child support was owed, or a custody or parenting time order was violation in the last 12 months
- Either you or your spouse reopened a closed FOC case within the past 12 months;
- There’s evidence of domestic violence, or evidence to suggest that your decision to opt out is against the best interest of your child.
What should I do if I want to opt out of FOC services?
Technically, you need to file a motion asking that the FOC not be involved in your family’s divorce process. But because there’s no standardised form accepted statewide that’s used for this process, you’re better off getting a highly skilled family law attorney to help you with this process. So call 866 766 5245 today and discuss your unique situation with us here at The Kronzek Firm. We’re available 24/7 to help you decide what’s best for yourself and your children during this difficult process.