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Friend of the Court

Parenting Time Enforcement

The Macomb County Friend of the Court provides enforcement services for custody and parenting time orders issued by the 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Michigan, Family Division. The primary function of the Friend of the Court Parenting Time Enforcement Division is to enforce and provide a remedy for denials of parenting time as outlined in the Court’s Order. The Friend of the Court initiates enforcement ONLY when it receives a written complaint stating specific facts which, if true, show(s) a violation of the custody or parenting time Order.

Additionally, this department cannot take enforcement action on provisions outside of the Court Ordered parenting time, which includes deviations of the Court Order, abuse or neglect (you may contact CPS at 855-444-3911 or your local PD regarding safety or wellbeing concerns of the child), extra-curricular activities, communication, taxes, property, etc. For a quick overview on what Friend of the Court’s parenting time enforcement division can and cannot enforce, please see our FOC Parenting Time Enforcement Overview for the enforcement basics.

If a parent is seeking Friend of the Court’s assistance to enforce a denial of parenting time that was awarded in the Court Order, that parent must submit the complaint in writing and/or fill out the Parenting Time Denial Complaint Form, and submit it to the Friend of the Court for review. Please be advised the other party may be provided with a copy of the complaint form. Once the complaint form is completed, it can be submitted to the Friend of the Court by mail, fax, in person, or email at friendofthecourt@macombgov.org.

For enforcement consideration, the complaint form MUST include the following:

  1. Case number;
  2. Specific dates (and times) the parenting time violation occurred;
  3. What time and where the denied parent arrived to attempt pick-up of the minor child(ren);
  4. If the denied parent was offered make-up parenting time and/or already exercised make-up parenting time; and
  5. The “Review and take action to resolve my complaint” box must be checked.

The Friend of the Court office may decline to respond and/or dismiss a complaint if:

  • The alleged violation occurred more than 56 days before the complaint is made; or,
  • The court order does not include an “enforceable” parenting time provision or,
  • The complaining party has made two or more similar complaints found by the court to be unwarranted and has failed to pay costs assessed in those actions.

If the Friend of the Court determines from the complaint that a violation may have occurred, one of the following may occur:

(1) Schedule a joint meeting with the parties; or

(2) Send out a makeup parenting time letter to the violating party, in which the violating party has 21 days to respond (see the Response to Parenting Time Complaint Form – do note the other party may be provided a copy of this Response Form); or

(3) Schedule a Civil Contempt Show Cause hearing so the parent who has allegedly violated the parenting time order has the opportunity to show the Court why the Court should not find that party in contempt of its order(s). If it is found that a party violated the Court’s Order(s) without good cause, the Court/Friend of the Court can do any of the following;

  • grant make-up time,
  • place additional terms in the order,
  • modify the parenting time order,
  • order a fine of $100 or less, and/or
  • commit a party to jail.

Joint Meetings

Friend of the Court’s Parenting Time Department may schedule a joint meeting with the parties in an attempt to reach an accommodation or agreement on:

  1. A complaint for a denial of parenting time,
  2. A complaint for specific joint legal custody issues,
  3. A summer parenting time dispute after requests are submitted, or
  4. A Consent Order regarding parenting time if the parties are requesting a mutual modification to the current parenting time schedule as ordered, as long as the modification does not change the established custodial environment or cause a shift in physical custody as provided for in a current Order.

Pursuant to MCR 3.224, a joint meeting may not begin until the Friend of the Court case has been screened for domestic violence using a screening protocol provided by the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) as directed by the Supreme Court. Therefore, the parties will receive a Domestic Violence Screening Form to complete and return to Friend of the Court no less than 5 days prior to the meeting. If domestic violence is indicated and it seems that there is a presence of coercion or violence that would be physically or emotionally unsafe for a participant, Friend of the Court will not conduct the joint meeting.

If a joint meeting is held and is not successful in terms of resolving a complaint for a denial of parenting time, further enforcement proceedings may occur, such as scheduling a Civil Contempt Show Cause hearing against the parent who allegedly violated the parenting time order.

If a joint meeting is held and is not successful for all other matters not relating to a denial of parenting time, a party may wish to file a motion to request relief on the matter he/she is requesting.