capitol dome
Michigan Legislative Website


Michigan Compiled Laws Complete Through PA 72 and includes 95 & 97 of 2014
House: Adjourned until Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:00:00 PM
Senate: Adjourned until Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Michigan Legislative Website

Main Content

Section 552.505a

FRIEND OF THE COURT ACT (EXCERPT)
Act 294 of 1982


552.505a Open friend of the court case; closure.

Sec. 5a.

(1) Except as required by this section, an office of the friend of the court shall open and maintain a friend of the court case for a domestic relations matter. If there is an open friend of the court case for a domestic relations matter, the office of the friend of the court shall administer and enforce the obligations of the parties to the friend of the court case as provided in this act. If there is not an open friend of the court case for a domestic relations matter, the office of the friend of the court shall not administer or enforce an obligation of a party to the domestic relations matter.

(2) The parties to a domestic relations matter are not required to have a friend of the court case opened or maintained for their domestic relations matter. With their initial pleadings, the parties to a domestic relations matter may file a motion for the court to order the office of the friend of the court not to open a friend of the court case for the domestic relations matter. If the parties to a domestic relations matter file a motion under this subsection, the court shall issue that order unless the court determines 1 or more of the following:

(a) A party to the domestic relations matter is eligible for title IV-D services because of the party's current or past receipt of public assistance.

(b) A party to the domestic relations matter applies for title IV-D services.

(c) A party to the domestic relations matter requests that the office of the friend of the court open and maintain a friend of the court case for the domestic relations matter, even though the party may not be eligible for title IV-D services because the domestic relations matter involves, by way of example and not limitation, only spousal support, child custody, parenting time, or child custody and parenting time.

(d) There exists in the domestic relations matter evidence of domestic violence or uneven bargaining positions and evidence that a party to the domestic relations matter has chosen not to apply for title IV-D services against the best interest of either the party or the party's child.

(e) The parties have not filed with the court a document, signed by each party, that includes a list of the friend of the court services and an acknowledgment that the parties are choosing to do without those services.

(3) If a friend of the court case is not opened for a domestic relations matter, the parties to the domestic relations matter have full responsibility for administration and enforcement of the obligations imposed in the domestic relations matter.

(4) The parties to a friend of the court case may file a motion for the court to order the office of the friend of the court to close their friend of the court case. The court shall issue an order that the office of the friend of the court shall close the friend of the court case unless the court determines 1 or more of the following:

(a) A party to the friend of the court case objects.

(b) A party to the friend of the court case is eligible for title IV-D services because the party is receiving public assistance.

(c) A party to the friend of the court case is eligible for title IV-D services because the party received public assistance and an arrearage is owed to the governmental entity that provided the public assistance.

(d) The friend of the court case record shows that, within the previous 12 months, a child support arrearage or custody or parenting time order violation has occurred in the case.

(e) Within the previous 12 months, a party to the friend of the court case has reopened a friend of the court case.

(f) There exists in the friend of the court case evidence of domestic violence or uneven bargaining positions and evidence that a party to the friend of the court case has chosen to close the case against the best interest of either the party or the party's child.

(g) The parties have not filed with the court a document, signed by each party, that includes a list of the friend of the court services and an acknowledgment that the parties are choosing to do without those services.

(5) The closure of a friend of the court case does not release a party from the party's obligations imposed in the underlying domestic relations matter. The parties to a closed friend of the court case assume full responsibility for administration and enforcement of obligations imposed in the underlying domestic relations matter.

(6) If a party to the underlying domestic relations matter wants to ensure that child support payments made after a friend of the court case is closed will be taken into account in any possible future office of the friend of the court enforcement action, the child support payments must be made through the SDU. If the parties choose to continue to have child support payments made through the SDU, the office of the friend of the court shall not close its friend of the court case until each party provides the SDU with the information necessary to process the child support payments required in the underlying domestic relations matter.

(7) If a party to a domestic relations matter for which there is not an open friend of the court case applies for services from the office of the friend of the court or applies for public assistance, the office of the friend of the court shall open or reopen a friend of the court case. If the office of the friend of the court opens or reopens a friend of the court case as required by this subsection, the court shall issue an order in that domestic relations matter that contains the provisions required by this act and by the support and parenting time enforcement act for a friend of the court case. The court may direct the party making the application or the friend of the court to prepare a written order and submit it for approval.

(8) If the parties to a domestic relations matter file a motion under subsection (2) or (4), the friend of the court shall advise the parties in writing as to the services that the office of the friend of the court is not required to provide. The state court administrative office shall develop and make available a form for use by an office of the friend of the court under this subsection and a document for use by parties to a domestic relations matter under subsection (2) or (4).

(9) For purposes of this section, a party receives public assistance if the party receives cash assistance provided under the social welfare act, 1939 PA 280, MCL 400.1 to 400.119b, medical assistance, or food assistance or if foster care is being or was provided to a child who is the subject of the case.


History: Add. 2002, Act 571, Eff. Dec. 1, 2002 ;-- Am. 2009, Act 233, Imd. Eff. Jan. 8, 2010
Popular Name: Friend of the Court


© 2009 Legislative Council, State of Michigan