About the Office of the Friend of the Court

The Office of the Friend of the Court (“FOC”) was created by the Michigan Legislature in 1919. There is at least one FOC office for each Circuit Court, which usually means one FOC office in each county.

Each FOC office runs a little differently so be sure to contact the FOC office where you have your case. Do not rely on information from other parents about their FOC experiences. Each case has unique circumstances that determine what action is appropriate and each county’s FOC can be very different, so what happens in one case in one county may not be a good indicator of what will happen in another case in a different county. Also, laws change over time, and what happens at one time in one case may not happen in another case at a later date.

If you have questions about FOC operations, you can send an email to FOC@cassco.org. Questions are always welcomed.

FOC Staff

The Director of the FOC and the FOC Management Team are responsible for the general administration, budgeting, staffing, policies, and procedures of the office. We have three office teams: the Enforcement Team; the Financial Case Management Team (“FCM”); and the Legal Team.

The Support Enforcement Team is responsible for the collection and enforcement of all child support orders, including reimbursements of uninsured medical expenses for the minor child; interstate collection and enforcement; show cause proceedings and bench warrants; and review/modification of existing orders to ensure that orders are “right-sized” and based upon parties’ actual circumstances and ability to pay.

The FCM Team is responsible for order entry and other data entry in the Michigan Child Support Enforcement (“MICSES“) system–this is the computer case management system used by all FOC offices in the state. FCM Team duties can include changes of address, employer communications, correcting charging amounts of court-ordered support, account adjustments (including parenting time abatements when children are living with the support payer), income tax refund intercepts, and management of child support collection and distribution records.

The Legal Team is made up of the Director, the Attorney Referee and the Deputy FOC. This team oversees referee hearings, pro per resources such as SCAO forms, and the FOC’s compliance with all legal requirements. 

Legal Advice

While the FOC does have a Legal Team, staff in the FOC office cannot give legal advice and cannot act as anyone’s attorney in any legal proceedings. Most of the FOC staff are NOT attorneys.

Staff will work hard to provide you with as much information as possible to inform you of options available to you so that you can make the best possible choices for yourself and your family. Staff will let you know when your questions require legal advice and will encourage you to consult with an attorney on those issues so that you have the information necessary for making informed decisions.

In some circumstances, the Director of the FOC (who is an attorney) can meet with you to help you understand your legal options, although she may not represent you and she must remain neutral.

Please read Friend of the Court Staff and Legal Advice to better understand what legal information Cass County FOC staff can and cannot provide.