Friend of the Court

Court Closure effective March 17, 2020

3/27/2020 Order Regarding Court Procedures Concerning COVID-19 virus

Administrative Order- Court Closure For Public Health Emergency

Reduced Courthouse Hours

The business offices of the Eaton County Trial Courts, including: the 56th Circuit, 56A District, Probate, Juvenile and Friend of the Court; will be closed to the public from March 23, 2020 until April 13, 2020. The court offices will be open for essential services by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00am until 2:00pm. Essential services will be handled as outlined by the Supreme Court Order 2020-2.

Entrance into the courthouse will be by appointment only.
Please reference the attached order for more information on procedure changes.

Please direct questions to the appropriate courts below:

56th Circuit Court

Community Corrections

56A District Court
Criminal Division: 517-543-3359

Civil Division: 517-543-4064

Traffic Division: 517-543-3359

Friend of the Court 

Juvenile Court 
517-543-6003 ext. 1246

Probate Court
517-543-7500 ext. 1276

New Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Policy:

Effective January 1, 2020 a new Friend of the Court Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) policy will go into effect. This new policy is set forth in a Local Administrative Order approved by the State Court Administrative Office, and was developed to be in compliance with a new Michigan Court Rule, MCR 3.224. 

The intent of the new court rule was to improve the FOC ADR procedures, create uniformity of the ADR processes provided by the various Friend of the Court offices throughout the state, and to expedite the Friend of the Court ADR process.

Highlights of the new ADR procedures include the following:  

  • The prior Conciliation Conference will be replaced by a Facilitation Information Gathering Conference (or FIG Conference for short). Additional FOC ADR processes will include Joint Meetings and Domestic Relations Mediation.
  • Time lines for FOC Investigators issuing proposed interim orders following the FIG Conference have been expedited.
  • Time lines for FOC Investigators issuing recommendations and recommended orders following referrals for investigations and joint meetings have been expedited.
  • Specific guidelines and tools for screening and addressing domestic violence, protective orders, and CPS involvement to protect parties.
  • Facilitation and Encouragement for attorneys to participate in all FOC ADR processes.
  • Policies and provisions to object to ADR participation and ADR interim and proposed orders.

Role & Functions

The Friend of the Court is an entity created by statute to assist the Family Court in establishing, enforcing, and modifying orders regarding:

  • Child custodypexels-photo-2224949 (2)
  • Child care expenses
  • Child support
  • Domicile
  • Parenting time
  • Uninsured medical costs

The Friend of the Court investigates and issues reports and recommendations regarding these issues. The Friend of the Court additionally provides mediation for domestic relations cases which attempts to amicably resolve disputes between parties in a nonadversarial fashion.

Hearings Held

The Friend of the Court holds Referee Hearings involving all of these issues and also holds show cause hearings to enforce child support, parenting time, and spousal support orders.

The Friend of the Court provides Conciliation Hearings at the beginning of new domestic relations cases to address the issues of child custody, support, and parenting time.

Supporting Statutes

See the Friend of the Court Act, Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 552.501; the Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act, MCL 552.601.


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