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The Friend of the Court enforces custody, visitation, and support orders. The Friend of the Court does not have the power to enforce property settlement orders.
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If the parties mutually agree to a change of domicile and they sign a written agreement (stipulation and consent agreement), it will be entered as an order, if approved by the Court. If the parties cannot mutually agree on a change of domicile, they have the following options:
Please note: notification to the Friend of the Court or filing a petition does not allow a party to move from the state, prior to a Court order being entered.
The Court speaks through it's written orders, therefore, the Friend of the Court enforces only the written orders.
If a party feels that the written order is incorrect, they may want to order a transcript of the hearing from which the order was established. If they find that the order does not agree with the transcript, bring the concerns to the attention of the person who prepared the written order and request a change. A party can also file a motion with the Court asking the Court to correct the written order.
A Referee is a person who holds hearings and takes testimony and reports to the Court. A Referee can be either a Friend of the Court or an attorney employed by the Friend of the Court.
The Chief Judge of a Circuit Court may appoint a Referee to hear any domestic relations matter. A hearing before a Referee is not the same as a hearing before a Judge. The findings of a Referee are only recommendations to the Court, and are not final. These recommendations will become an Order of the Court if neither party files an objection.
State law requires that any written report and recommended order made by a Referee must be given to the parties and their attorneys before the judge takes any action on the recommendation. If a party disagrees with a Referee's recommendation, he or she has the right to a hearing before the Court. This hearing must be requested in writing within 21 days after receiving the Referee recommendation (request for a hearing on an income withholding order must be made within 14 days).
Contact the Friend of the Court Office for the address to which the written request for a hearing should be sent.
The state and federal governments have set up a parent locating service that can be used to:
The Friend of the Court, Prosecuting Attorney, and Department of Human Services support specialist can ask to use this service. The full name, date of birth, social security number, and last known address of the parent to be located is required.
Adoptions take place in Probate Court. The Friend of the Court must be provided copies of all Probate Court adoption orders. The child support order stops when children are adopted. The Friend of the Court is required to collect all support owed at the time of the adoption. Contact the Friend of the Court to arrange to pay all money owed.