A conciliation conference is a meeting that takes place at the FOC office. Both parties are required to attend the meeting to present their positions to the FOC conciliator. In Ingham County attorneys are permitted to attend the conciliation conference as observers only. The conciliation conference is a non-adversarial process intended to allow the parties a chance to agree upon how to resolve custody, parenting time and child support matters. If there is a Personal Protection Order (PPO) in place, the parties may meet with the conciliator separately depending on the wording of the PPO.
Should both parties attend the conciliation and reach an agreement, the conciliator will draft a Stipulation/Order, which the parties would then sign. The Stipulation would then be forwarded for the Judge’s signature.
Whether or not the parties are in agreement, the Friend of the Court Conciliator will submit a timely recommendation to the Court on the issues of custody, support, and parenting time.
NO PRIOR EXISTING ORDER - If there is no prior existing order regarding custody, parenting time or child support, the conciliator’s recommendation will be submitted for immediate entry as the Order of the Court. However, either party may object to that order by filing objections within 14 days after the Order was mailed (the date on the proof of mailing). Even if an objection is filed, the Court’s order remains in effect until the Court modifies the order, so that support, custody and parenting time orders will be legally binding on all parties. If either party files a timely objection, a hearing will be scheduled before a Friend of the Court Referee, or in some cases directly before the assigned Judge.
WHEN THERE IS A PRIOR EXISTING ORDER - If there is an existing order, the conciliator’s recommendation will not take immediate effect until 21 days after the recommended order was mailed (the date on the proof of mailing). If either party files a timely objection within the 21 day time frame, a hearing will be scheduled before a Friend of the Court Referee, or in some cases directly before the assigned Judge. If no objections are filed within the 21 day time frame, the conciliator’s recommendation is signed by the Judge and becomes the Order of the Court.