Friend of the Court
Custody & Parenting Time Evaluations
The Kent County Friend of the Court completes court-ordered custody and parenting time investigations. Please see important information below about these investigations.
How do I get FOC to complete a custody or parenting time investigation on my case?
Investigations are ordered by the court.
Parents seeking to change custody or parenting time can file a motion with the Circuit Court. At a court hearing on the motion, the court will decide whether to order a FOC investigation.
How much do investigations cost?
Investigations cost up to $300 each. At the motion hearing, the court will order a fee and will decide whether one parent will pay the fee or if the parents will split the fee. The court may decide to waive the fee and not require either parent to pay.
How do I pay my evaluation fee?
- Pay at the FOC Office on the second floor of 82 Ionia Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 with cash, check or money order.
- Drop box on the first floor of 82 Ionia Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, with a certified check or money order. No personal checks in the drop box, please.
- Mail your payment to: Friend of the Court, PO Box 351, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-0351, with a check or money order.
No credit card payments are accepted online or in person. Please do not pay online. Online payments are applied to child support, not to your evaluation fee.
Your check or money order must include the following:
- Payable to Kent County Friend of the Court
- Case/Court Order Number
- State "EVALUATION FEE" in the memo so it will not be applied to child support
Payment must be made BEFORE the appointment will be scheduled.
What is an investigation?
The FOC will gather information from both parents, and other sources, to make a custody or parenting time recommendation to the court. The investigation includes:
- A FOC Case Packet parents complete to provide information to the FOC.
- A ZOOM appointment to interview the parents. The interview could be a joint interview, or separate interviews, see below.
- A review of documents or information acquired by the FOC like police reports, Children's Protective Services reports, criminal records, health records, etc.
When will my investigation appointment be?
If an investigation fee was ordered, you will get an email with instructions and a due date to pay the fee. You will receive an email with your appointment date and time 3-4 weeks after the date of your order.
The email will also provide information about your appointment and copies of paperwork to complete before your appointment.
Please only turn in your paperwork once. If you need confirmation that your paperwork was received, you can email it to FOC.ADR@kentcountymi.gov.
What should I expect during the investigation appointment?
If you have safety concerns about the appointment, or there is a PPO between you and the other parent, please email us at FOC.ADR@kentcountymi.gov so we can address your concerns.
The FOC is currently holding investigation appointments via ZOOM with both parents present unless we need to accommodate unique circumstances. In these cases, the FOC evaluator will have the discretion to hold separate interviews or allow parents the ability to participate by alternative means. Please submit your completed FOC Case Packet as well as supplemental information prior to the appointment. Appointments usually take 1-3 hours. This will be the only appointment with the evaluator unless additional appointments are deemed necessary. Attorneys are welcome to observe the appointments with advanced notice.
What happens after the investigation appointment?
The FOC will review all information and will request additional information, if needed. FOC will draft a report and recommendation that will be emailed to parents (and their attorneys). The report and recommendation will also be sent to the court. You will also receive a proposed order summarizing the FOC recommendations. You have 21 days to object to this proposed order being signed by the judge and entered with the court. If you do not file an objection, the proposed order will be signed by the judge and will become your new court order. See below for more information on objections.
Please note that you may receive your report and recommendation a few days after it is completed due to internal processing and emailing procedures.
How do I object to the FOC recommendation?
You have 21 days to object to the FOC recommendation, from the date the report and recommendation was sent to you.
You will receive a form you can use to file an objection. You are not required to use this form, but you (or your attorney) are welcome to do so. Objections must be filed with the court, not with the FOC.
What if I have other questions or concerns?
You can schedule a phone meeting to have your questions and concerns addressed.