FRIEND OF THE COURT ACT (EXCERPT)
Act 294 of 1982
552.507 Referee; designation by chief judge; powers; transcript of hearing; cost; de novo court hearing; request; interim order; review.
(1) The chief judge may designate a referee as provided by the Michigan court rules.
(2) A referee may do all of the following:
(a) Hear all motions in a domestic relations matter, except motions pertaining to an increase or decrease in spouse support, referred to the referee by the court.
(b) Administer oaths, compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents, and examine witnesses and parties.
(c) Make a written, signed report to the court containing a summary of testimony given, a statement of findings, and a recommended order; or make a statement of findings on the record and submit a recommended order.
(d) Hold hearings as provided in the support and parenting time enforcement act, 1982 PA 295, MCL 552.601 to 552.650. The referee shall make a record of each hearing held.
(e) Accept a voluntary acknowledgment of support liability, and review and make a recommendation to the court concerning a stipulated agreement to pay support.
(f) Recommend a default order establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support obligation in a domestic relations matter.
(3) If ordered by the court, or if stipulated by the parties, a referee shall make a transcript, verified by oath, of each hearing held. The cost of preparing a transcript shall be apportioned equally between the parties, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(4) The court shall hold a de novo hearing on any matter that has been the subject of a referee hearing, upon the written request of either party or upon motion of the court. The request of a party shall be made within 21 days after the recommendation of the referee is made available to that party.
(5) A hearing is de novo despite the court's imposition of reasonable restrictions and conditions to conserve the resources of the parties and the court if the following conditions are met:
(a) The parties have been given a full opportunity to present and preserve important evidence at the referee hearing.
(b) For findings of fact to which the parties have objected, the parties are afforded a new opportunity to offer the same evidence to the court as was presented to the referee and to supplement that evidence with evidence that could not have been presented to the referee.
(6) Subject to subsection (5), de novo hearings include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) A new decision based entirely on the record of a previous hearing, including any memoranda, recommendations, or proposed orders by the referee.
(b) A new decision based only on evidence presented at the time of the de novo hearing.
(c) A new decision based in part on the record of a referee hearing supplemented by evidence that was not introduced at a previous hearing.
(7) Pending a de novo hearing, the referee's recommended order may be presented to the court for entry as an interim order as provided by the Michigan court rules. The interim order shall be served on the parties within 3 days and shall be subject to review as provided under this subsection.
History: 1982, Act 294, Eff. July 1, 1983
Am. 1985, Act 208, Eff. Mar. 1, 1986
Am. 1996, Act 144, Imd. Eff. Mar. 25, 1996
Am. 2004, Act 210, Eff. Oct. 1, 2004
Popular Name: Friend of the Court
© 2009 Legislative Council, State of Michigan