What is the Ionia County Friend of the Court?
The office of the Friend of the Court is an administrative & enforcement arm of the Family Division of Circuit Court. Its primary function is enforcing established Court Orders regarding child support, custody and parenting time. Often, the Court calls upon the office to conduct investigations and make recommendations in these areas as well. The primary statutory requirement is the collection and enforcement of child support matters, although the office also offers some informal mediation / dispute resolution of parenting time disputes or may refer cases to court approved mediators / dispute resolution specialists. Conciliation Conferences are conducted on all new divorce cases to determine interim child support, custody and parenting time orders.
The Friend of the Court offices do not start (establish) Court Orders, we only enforce existing Orders. If you do not have an existing FOC case and are not on any type of public assistance, such as Medicaid or cash assistance and want support to be established, you must contact an attorney to assist you in establishing a support case. You may contact the Office of Child Support at 1-866-540-0008. If parents are divorcing or want an order for custody and / or support, you will need to file a Complaint for Divorce/Complaint for Custody and/or Parenting Time through a private attorney or may research the matter at the local library about the steps that they must take to file on their own. If you decide to represent yourself, you must be prepared to file the appropriate paperwork and follow the court rules. In the case of filing a Motion to Modify/Change an existing provision of a current Order, you must be prepared to explain your case and the reasons you are asking the Court to rule in your favor, including providing proof to the Court. Neither the Referee nor the Judge can assist you in presenting your case. You may want to review online, the following information offered by the State Court Administrative Office.
Friend of the Court staff can not give legal advice nor assist in the filing of any legal documents such as Motions, Petitions, establishing child support, custody or parenting time Orders. NOTE: Fees are charged for the filing of many forms and motions. If, after reviewing this information, you have any questions or need assistance in completing the forms, consider contacting an attorney for assistance.
Any suspected abuse/neglect regarding the safety and well being of a child/ren must be immediately reported to the Department of Human Services-Child Protective Service Unit. The FOC does not have any authority to act on abuse/neglect allegations. Their phone number is (616) 527-5200.