Friend of the Court
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, lobby service with our office is unavailable until further notice. Our phones are available from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please note that due to high call volume, you may experience longer call wait times.
You may still communicate with us by:
- E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and case number. Your message will be given to a FOC employee, and you will receive a response as soon as possible.
- 2-Way Communication through the MiSupport website at www.michigan.gov/michildsupport.
To access your case online, you may sign up at www.michigan.gov/michildsupport.
If you are trying to make a payment, you have several options:
Support Payment Options:
FOC hearings are limited and will be held remotely via Zoom. If a hearing for your case is scheduled, the notice and petition will be sent to you through e-mail with instructions. It is very important that we have your updated email address. You can update it with us online by completing this form.
If you are not working because of COVID-19:
- Please provide proof in writing to FOC from your employer that this is a lay-off or the business closed
- If a lay-off, include the return-to-work date if it is known, and whether the employer will continue to pay you during the lay-off.
- If you are filing for unemployment benefits, let the FOC know this and make payments from these benefits the best you can until you see automatic deductions for support being made.
- If you are seeking employment, report your job search in writing to the FOC monthly until new employment is found, you return to work, or you start receiving benefits.
Will a support payer’s stimulus check be intercepted for child support?
We have been advised by the Federal Office of Child Support that stimulus payments provided under the CARE (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub. L. 116-136) Act will be intercepted for child support (not spousal support) if the payer owes $150 in past-due support in TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) cases, or $500 in non-TANF cases. This is not a local Friend of the Court decision, and we are unable to exempt any cases. Pursuant to federal rules, the intercepted funds might need to be held for up to six (6) months before distribution. The FOC is not allowed to disclose the reason for a payment being held.
My child is 18 and supposed to graduate in May. Now that the Governor has ordered that schools cannot be physically open, does my support obligation end now?
In support orders that don’t have a specific termination date, many continue support for a child age 18 or older (but not exceeding 19 ½) for so long as the child “is regularly attending high school on a full-time basis with a reasonable expectation of completing sufficient credits to graduate from high school while residing on a full-time basis with the recipient of support…” Although your child may not be physically in a classroom, it is up to the individual school districts to determine what still constitutes “attending.” Until further clarification from the appellate courts or the State Court Administrator’s Office, the Kent County Friend of the Court will continue to follow the same schedule as though school is still in normal session. This means that if the child is 18 and graduates in May, support will terminate on June 1.
Parenting Time Orders and COVID-19
Here are some guidelines:
- Parenting Time Under Shelter In-Place Executive Order: Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order requiring citizens to “shelter in place” beginning March 24, 2020, permits parents to travel as required to permit parenting time exchanges under a valid custody or parenting time order. Please continue to follow your parenting time orders.
- FOC will treat Spring Break as the same block of time it would have been had school shutdowns not occurred.
- FOC will treat Summer Break as the same block of time it would have been had school shutdowns not occurred.
- We encourage parents to work together and make reasonable efforts to ensure that parenting time occurs as ordered, even if exchange locations are impacted by COVID-19 closures/mandates.
- Please put any agreements to alter parenting time for COVID-19 in writing.
- Click here for more information on Parenting Time and COVID-19
FOC Hearings on Parenting Time Violations
Due to the COVID-19 virus, stay home orders and closures, the Court has not been able to conduct hearings as we have before the pandemic. This situation has caused a backlog of hearings that will need hearing dates.
In addition, because of the severity of the virus and lack of testing and resources, the issue of contempt findings will be very complicated.
We strongly recommend families be creative, understanding and flexible regarding parenting time and make use of the Friend of the Court, if assistance is required, with making suitable arrangements for any loss of parenting time due to the pandemic.
Please understand the Friend of the Court will continue to enforce orders as specified in court orders until a subsequent order has changed such specifics.
To serve the Court and the families of Kent County to ensure children are supported, both financially and emotionally.
- FOC Second Annual Report – Implementation of Community Engagement Task Force Recommendations – Amended
- Request for E-Mail Communication
- How to Contact FOC
We understand that issues associated with custody, parenting time and child support can often be stressful. The animations below make Friend of the Court processes a little less intimidating.
A big thank you to Grand Valley State University's Suzanne Zack and the students in GVSU's Animation Outreach, North Park Montessori students and staff, and the Grand Rapids Community Media Center for their creativity!
When changes are needed in your parenting time order.
How to make changes to your child support order.
Mediation is used to help resolve issues and make changes to your custody and/or parenting time order.
Various ways to make child support payments.
Visit the FOC website for information, forms, and office hours.
Submit updated changes in health insurance information to FOC within 21 days
The Friend of the Court is the collection, enforcement and investigative arm of the Circuit Court in the area of domestic relations. The action by the office is dictated by court order. Orders are issued by the court after the Judge has made a determination and the written document is signed, then filed with the county clerk. To obtain a domestic relations order from the Court, the issue has to be brought before the Court through formal legal action. This is accomplished through private attorneys, sometimes the prosecuting attorney or by action of one of the parties. The Friend of the Court does not become involved until action is filed with the court.
We are available through email 24-hours a day at email@example.com and by phone at 877-543-2660 or (616) 632-6888, Monday-Friday from 8:00am-4:30pm. Case Managers will be available for walk-in appointments on Tuesdays from 8:00am-11:30am and Thursday from 1:00pm-4:00pm.
From time to time, changes are made in our case manager assignments. Please know that, even though you might work with someone different, your case manager is fully able to assist you.