Friend of the Court FAQs
What is the Friend of the Court and what does it do?
The Friend of the Court is a part of the Family Division of the Circuit Court. It assists the court with custody, parenting time, and child support issues. Among other things, the FOC:
- Investigates and makes recommendations about custody, parenting time, child support, and medical support;
- Helps parents settle disputes during and after their case;
- Ensures parents obey court orders about custody, parenting time, and child support;
- Gives people court forms for some family law issues. You don't need a lawyer to use these forms.
Can the Friend of the Court make orders in my case?
No. Although a judge may consider an FOC recommendation, the judge does not have to follow it. You may be able to opt out of FOC services if both parents agree to opt out.
Where can I send my payment by check or money order?
You may send your payments to:
Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU)
P.O. Box 30351
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7851
How will I receive my child support?
Child support is required to be electronically disbursed. This means that support payments will no longer be sent to customers in the form of a check. Instead, customers must have support deposited directly into a bank account or put onto a US Bank ReliaCard Visa debit card. The customer may choose either option. The MiSDU handles all inquiries regarding direct deposit. US Bank (866-276-5114) handles all inquiries regarding the ReliaCard.
How does a child support case get started?
If you are on public assistance, your Department of Human Services (DHS) worker can assist you with filling out the proper forms to assist you with establishing paternity and/or starting a child support case. If you do not have a DHS caseworker, you can apply for child support services by completing and submitting the Child Support Services Application/Referral form - instructions are included on the form. These forms are also available at your local DHS office as well as the Friend of the Court office.
The other parent won't let me see our child. Do I have to pay child support?
Yes. Parenting time and child support are separate parts of a court order with separate enforcement actions. Child support doesn’t stop because you are not receiving parenting time.
Can a child refuse to visit or decide where he/she wants to live?
The child cannot make this decision on his or her own until they are 18 years old. It is the custodial parent’s responsibility to ensure the child is available for court ordered parenting time.