How do I get an order for custody?
A motion requesting the court to grant you custody of your children must be filed with the 30th Circuit Court Clerk's office. This is usually included in the initial complaint in a divorce case, or in the answer. If both parents agree and sign an agreement (stipulation and order), that agreement, if approved by the court, may be entered as a custody order.
How do I change an existing order for custody?
A motion to modify a custody order must be filed with the 30th Circuit Court Clerk's office, or the parents can sign a written agreement changing custody (stipulation and order), which if approved by the court will change custody. The Friend of the Court cannot file a motion for you.
Do I need to have an attorney to get custody?
It is not required that you have an attorney to file a motion for custody. However, there are many complicated issues involved in a custody case. Therefore you may want to have an attorney represent you. The Friend of the Court cannot file a custody motion for you or provide legal advice.
Is there any way the court can assist us in reaching an agreement on custody?
The Friend of the Court may schedule a domestic relations conference with an FOC investigator for both new and existing cases. These conferences may assist parties in settling a custody dispute (see page 11 of the FOC handbook).
After a motion for custody has been filed, and we cannot reach our own agreement, what does the Friend of the Court have to do?
The Friend of the Court, at the direction of the court, is required to do any of the following:
- Offer a conference with an FOC investigator to facilitate the resolution of the issues presented.
- Conduct an investigation and file a written report and recommendation to the court based on the factors listed in the Michigan Child Custody Act.
- Conduct a full evidentiary hearing before an FOC referee.
Do I have the right to receive a copy of the Friend of the Court report and recommendation on custody?
The Friend of the Court will provide a copy of the Friend of the Court report and recommendation to each party or to his/her attorney.
What will happen if I have an order for custody and the other parent does not return the child to me as stated in the court order?
You have several choices:
- You may contact your attorney to file a “show cause” or contempt proceeding against the other party; or
- You can file a written complaint with the Friend of the Court and request that they enforce your order; or
- You can contact the Prosecuting Attorney and request that a kidnapping charge be initiated if you have reason to believe that the other parent intends to keep the child.
Does the Friend of the Court have a responsibility to investigate alleged abuse and/or neglect of a child?
Allegations of abuse or neglect should be reported to the MDHHS Children's Protective Services office, phone number 1-855-444-3911.