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Obtaining Friend of the Court Records

How to Obtain Friend of the Court Records

A party, a third-party custodian, a guardian, a guardian ad litem, counsel for a minor, a lawyer–guardian ad litem, or an attorney of record must be given access to FOC records other than confidential information. MCR 3.218(B).

Confidential information includes staff notes from investigations, medical sessions, and settlement conferences; protective services reports; formal mediation records; communications from minors; FOC grievances filed by the opposing parties and responses; a party’s address or any other information if release is prohibited by court order; and all information classified as confidential under Title IV-D. MCR 3.218(A)(3).

Confidential information also includes privileged information or information provided to a governmental agency subject to the express written condition that it remain confidential. Id. However, pursuant to MCR 3.219, if there is a dispute involving custody, visitation, or change of domicile, and the court uses a community resource to assist its determination, the court must assure that copies of the written findings and recommendations of the resource are provided to the FOC and the parties or their counsel.

The information in the verified statement attached to the complaint (required by MCR 3.206(B)(1)) is considered confidential and may not be released beyond the court, the parties, or the parties’ attorneys without a court order. MCR 3.206(B)(2).

Access to certain FOC records must also be given to a citizen advisory committee established under the Friend of the Court Act, protective services personnel, the prosecuting attorney and personnel from the OCS and the DHS (formerly known as the Family Independence Agency), and state and federal auditors. MCR 3.218(C)–(F).

If denied access, a person may file a motion for an order of access with the judge assigned to the case or, if none, to the chief judge. MCR 3.218(G).

A court may make reasonable regulations to protect FOC records and to prevent excessive and unreasonable interference with the discharge of FOC functions by administrative order adopted pursuant to MCR 8.112(B). MCR 3.218(H).

To request documents from the Friend of the Court, you may complete and download the appropriate form by clicking here: [FORM FOC72]

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