The goal of the Michigan family court judge is to discover the best interests of your child when determining custody. MichiganLegalHelp.org explains that if you and your spouse are not able to agree on a parenting plan or other issues based on court guidelines, a Friend of the Court may get involved and make a recommendation to the judge.
Before making this recommendation about parenting time or custody, the FOC typically investigates factors in your case that are relevant and then provides the evidence to the judge. This often involves interviewing your child, and your child’s friends and teachers. The FOC may also talk to relatives and other people who may provide information that reveals your child’s best interests.
The FOC does not represent you or your spouse but may be able to help the two of you to settle your disputes through conciliation. If not, the court may have the FOC referee hold a hearing to listen to the issues that you each have, and then write a recommendation to the judge based on that. Just like a court hearing, you can provide evidence and have an attorney present. Although a judge does not have to follow the recommendation, it is usually accepted, and then becomes the final order. However, you may file an objection, which the judge will then consider during a formal hearing.
Once your case is concluded, the Friend of the Court may get involved if you or your spouse files a claim stating that the other parent is not following the order. The FOC will investigate the claim and verify the violation, and then take appropriate action to enforce the order. This information about the role of the Friend of the Court is general in nature, and should not be considered legal advice.