Friend of the Court
In Kent County, after a complaint for divorce with minor children is filed, either party or attorney(s) may request a conciliation by filling out a conciliation request form and submitting it to FOC office. The goal of conciliation is to quickly obtain a temporary order for custody, parenting time and support for the minor children. If there has been a motion filed for temporary custody, parenting time and support, then conciliation is not appropriate for your case.
Conciliation is a service that is offered by the Kent County Friend of the Court for those individuals who wish to get custody, parenting time and support ordered immediately. The parties will be scheduled to attend the conciliation conference together. Each person is asked to complete the forms that were sent to them with the notice of conciliation, and to return the forms prior to the conference. The information on the forms assists the conciliator in conducting the meeting. This information is essential in the decision-making process, and must be as accurate and complete as possible.
This meeting may provide the first opportunity that parties have had to discuss the issues surrounding their children since the filing for divorce. The parties are encouraged to discuss the issues, make proposals and review the alternatives. In the event that the parties reach an agreement, a written document regarding custody, parenting time and support called a stipulation will be prepared. The parties have the opportunity to review the document before signing. Once signed, the document is entered by the court as a stipulated order creating a temporary order that remains in effect until the Judgment of Divorce is entered, or until further order of the court.
If no agreement is reached, the conciliator will prepare a recommendation addressing custody, parenting time and support in the form of a recommended order. This document will be prepared based on the information provided so it is very important that you attend as scheduled to convey your information accurately. This will provide the conciliator with all the information on which to base a decision. The parties can file a motion to rescind or vacate the recommended order with the court within 21 days.
When would conciliation be scheduled on my case?
After the original complaint has been filed, conciliation will be scheduled only upon request of either party or their attorneys.
May I schedule conciliation on my case?
Yes, but only if your case does not have a current order, or there is no pending action before the court.
What is the difference between conciliation and mediation?
Mediation is both voluntary and confidential with no proposed order report to the court unless there is agreement, and it is used for all types of pre and post divorce issues. Conciliation is not confidential since a proposed order will be made to the court, and it is for pre-judgment cases regarding custody, parenting time and support only.
May I bring my attorney?
Yes, but they usually serve as observers only.
Do I need to bring anything?
Yes, if the forms have not already been submitted, please complete and bring the forms you were sent. This will assist with the process.
What happens if only one party attends the conciliation?
A recommended order would be submitted to the court based on the available information.
If the parties do not reach an agreement and an exparte order is sent to the court that I do not agree with, what can I do?
You will need to file a motion to modify or rescind the order. This action is taken at the Circuit Court in the Courthouse, not at the Friend of the Court Office.