The Michigan divorce and custody case load is so large that Judges need help managing the workload. The Friend of the Court was created to help Judges handle the thousands of custody, spousal support, child support and parenting time disputes. However, the power of the Friend of the Court is limited.
The Friend of the Court is required to open a case file for every Michigan case involving child custody, parenting time, child support or spousal support case. The role of the Friend of the court is to resolve pending issues and make recommendations to the trial court. In some circumstances, the recommendations may be granted temporary effect, however, the power of the Friend of the Court is limited because only a Judge can enter an Order.
If a party disagrees with a recommendation of the Friend of the Court, he/she can file an objection to the Recommendation within 21 days and request a new hearing (de novo) before the Judge, who must review the recommendation and make an independent finding. The Judge can adopt, modi
The Divorce and family court judges in the State of Michigan are either appointed by the Governor or elected by the people. On the other hand, the Friend of the Court consists of employees (e.g. referees and counselors), hired by the County to help Judges (See: MCL 552.403(4) and MCL 552.403(5)).
The Power of the Friend of the Court – laws.
The Friend of the Court is governed by the Friend of the Court Act (See: MCL 552.501 and MCL 552.601). Generally, one Friend of the Court office serves each county (some smaller counties share). The Friend of the Court is also governed by Court rule. Specifically, Michigan Court Rule 3.203 authorizes the Friend of the Court to serve notice of court documents in domestic relations cases. Michigan Court Rule 3.207, requires the Friend of the Court to attempt to resolve certain disputes in divorce and custody cases. Michigan Court Rule 3.208 authorizes the Friend of the Court to initiate enforcement proceedings for support, parenting time or custody.
Simply put, the power of the Friend of the Court is limited to making recommendations for the trial court to review. However, if no objections to a Friend of the Court recommendation are made, the Friend of the Court Recommendation will become an Order of the Court.
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I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles. We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances. That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.