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Departments » Friend of the Court » Child Custody

1. How do I get an order for custody?

A petition must be filed requesting custody. If parents agree, they may sign an agreement (stipulation and consent agreement), and obtain the judge's approval. That agreement can then be entered as a custody order.

2. Can I file my own petition for custody?

You may file your own petition, known as an In Pro Per or Pro Se (which means, essentially, "on your own") petition. However, it is important to remember that the court will still hold you to the same rules to which an attorney would be held. There may be many complex issues involved in a custody case and you may wish to have an attorney represent you. The Friend of the Court cannot file a petition for you, nor can they provide you with an attorney.

3. Can my child enroll in the school district I live in, even though the child lives with the other parent most of the time?

Michigan law provides that a child may enroll in a school district where either parent resides, regardless of which parent has custody. Where a child regularly resides in two school districts as a result of joint custody order, the child may attend school in either or both districts.

4. Does the Friend of the Court have an obligation to investigate alleged abuse or neglect of a child?

No. Allegations of abuse of neglect should be reported to the Protective Services unit of your local Family Independence Agency (Department of Social Services) office.

The Friend of the Court has a duty, when ordered by the court, to conduct an investigation when a party files a custody, or parenting time, petition. Claims of abuse or neglect should be disclosed to the Friend of the Court during their investigation.

5. How do I change an existing order for custody?

A petition must be filed to change a custody order. If parents agree, they may sign an agreement (stipulation and consent agreement) and obtain the judge's approval. That agreement will then change the custody order.

6. Is there any way the Friend of the Court can assist parties in reaching an agreement regarding custody?

The Friend of the Court will provide domestic relations mediation whenever there is a custody dispute. Mediation allows an impartial third party to assist parents in settling their custody dispute. Both parties must agree to participate in mediation.

7. What happens if I have an order for custody and the other parent does not return the child to me as stated in the court order?

1) You may contact the Friend of the Court and request enforcement.
2) You may contact your attorney.
3) If you have reason to believe the other parent does not intend to return the child, you may contact the police or the prosecuting attorney and request that parental kidnapping charges be filed.

Child Custody
- General Information

- Application for Services
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Department of Human Services
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- Medical Reimbursement
- MiChildSupport ~ Payment and Enforcement Info.
- Online Resources and Handbooks
- Opt out of FOC Service
- Parenting Time
- Review of Support
- Staff
- To file a Grievance
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