Custody & Parenting Time

Caseworkers

Cases Assigned by First Letter of Father's Last Name
Caseworker Phone Number
Letters L and P - Z
Marjorie Tait
989-224-5137
Letters A - K and M - O
Georgann Lenhart
989-224-5278
The Friend of the Court (FOC) offers the following services related to custody and parenting time:

Initial Conciliation Conference

All new divorce and custody cases are referred to the FOC for an initial conciliation conference to address the issues of custody, parenting time, and child support. Support and custody cases initiated in the prosecutor's office are often referred to the FOC as well. Your caseworker will meet with you and the other parent to help you reach an agreement. If you are able to reach an agreement, your caseworker will help you put your agreement into the form of an order.

If you are unable to agree, your caseworker will prepare a recommendation that the caseworker believes will serve the best interests of your child(ren), based on the circumstances of your case. The recommendation will immediately become the Order of the Court (called an "Ex Parte Order"). Both parties will have 21 days to object to the order in writing. If a party objects, there will be a hearing before the Court.

Post-Judgment Referrals

If a parent files a motion to modify an existing judgment or order, the Court will likely refer the matter to the FOC for a post-judgment conciliation conference, an investigation, or a hearing before the Family Division Referee.

A post-judgment conciliation conference is very similar to an initial conciliation conference, while an investigation is a longer, more in-depth process. If the parents are able to reach an agreement, your caseworker will prepare a written agreement for you to sign, and the agreement will become the order in your case.

If the parties are unable to agree, the caseworker will submit a recommended order that will become the order of the Court after 21 days. If either parent submits a written objection to the County Clerk during the 21 days, there will be a hearing before the Court.

A hearing before the Referee is very similar to a hearing before the Court. After the hearing, the Referee will prepare a recommended order that will become the order of the Court after 21 days. If either party submits a written objection during the 21 days, there will be a hearing before the Court. Please note that the objecting party must request a transcript of the Referee hearing.

Enforcement

Parents are expected to abide by the terms of their judgments or orders. Parents may submit a written complaint to the FOC if they feel that the other parent in their case has violated the custody or parenting time provisions of their order. There is a custody/parenting time violation statement form available on our website; or you may simply submit a written statement that includes the following: Your contact information, date of your complaint, the provision of your order that you believe was violated, details and date(s) of the violation, and your signature. Your caseworker will review your complaint and determine the appropriate enforcement action. Note that complaints submitted more than 56 days after an alleged violation will not be addressed.

Other services

Upon request, FOC caseworkers will schedule informal mediation to address disputes between the parents. Caseworkers will also assist parents with preparing written orders to reflect agreed-upon modifications to their current order. Caseworkers are available to make referrals to community services; answer basic procedural questions and questions about your current order; and help resolve disputes; but caseworkers cannot offer legal advice. If you are unsure of what action to take in your case, we urge you to contact an attorney.