When and How Do I Get FOC Approval?
Friend of the Court must review and approve any of the following before they may be finalized and entered by the Court:
- Final Judgment of Divorce with Children.
- Final Judgment of Divorce with Spousal Support.
- Final Child Custody Order.
- Final Uniform Child Support Order.
- Final Uniform Spousal Support Order.
- Any order modifying custody, parenting time, or child support from a prior order.
- Stipulated Motion & Order to Credit/Discharge Arrears
The Judge will not sign your order unless and until the FOC approval is on file because the FOC makes sure your orders contain all details required by Michigan law. FOC will check that you have not left out any required information. We review whether your parenting time provision is enforceable and we verify that your child support order follows the mandatory statutory formula.
You must send copies of your proposed Judgment/Order and all required forms to the FOC either by mail, email, or delivery to our office. FOC approval must occur before the final hearing in any divorce case or before the judge signs the final order in any custody case.
To submit your request for approval via email, please use the following email address: FOCApprovals@calhouncountymi.gov
If you mail your request, do not send your original, signed documents to the FOC. We only need a copy. Originals will not be returned to you if you accidentally file them with the FOC.
Please see “Forms Checklist” below for links to required forms that must be submitted to the FOC along with your proposed orders.
What Happens If FOC Objects to My Order?
If there is a problem with your proposed order you will receive (either by mail or by email depending on how you sent in your documents) a copy of the FOC’s written objection with explanation of how to correct it. Please allow at least a week for the FOC to review your paperwork. Your case will be dismissed by the court if you do not correct and resubmit within a reasonable time.
Where can I get free help preparing my Judgment or Order?
If you would like help completing forms, try www.michiganlegalhelp.org. There's an online "interview" that helps you fill out the forms without having to make sense of the form yourself. Once you answer the questions, it will help you print all required forms and/or save your data to print later.
Guide to Finishing your Divorce with Minor Children at Michigan Legal Help: https://michiganlegalhelp.org/self-help-tools/family/finishing-your-michigan-divorce-minor-children
Guide to Representing yourself in a Custody Case (Unmarried Parents) at Michigan Legal Help: https://michiganlegalhelp.org/self-help-tools/family/i-need-custody-order
How do I calculate child support?
Please use the free online calculator at: MiCase Calculator https://micase.state.mi.us/calculatorapp/public/welcome/load.html
The calculator will give you all the information that you need to fill out the Uniform Child Support Order based on the parties’ incomes, parenting time, number of children, and how much either parent pays for child care and/or health insurance for the child.
You must copy the information from the calculator to the Uniform Child Support Order form (Form FOC 10 or FOC 10a). Orders with handwriting will be accepted if they are legible. Please copy to the table at the bottom of page one of the order, the amount of base support, ordinary medical support, and each parent’s share of child care and health insurance premiums (if any) for each child.
Please avoid these common mistakes when filing out the Uniform Child Support Order:
- Line up the numbers for each part of the child support calculation on the correct row for what it is (e.g. base support, health insurance, child care, ordinary medical amount) and under the correct column for the number of children.
- The table amounts must be filed out for each child if there is more than one child. There are multiple columns because when the oldest minor child ages out of child support, the next column to the left shows what support will be for the remaining number of children.
- Include the name of the payer & payee and number of overnights with the payer. The number of overnights is for the entire year. Don't write in days of the week. Instead use the calculator to identify what the schedule you will follow translates into for the year. For example, if each parent has equal time with the child, the number of overnights per year is 182.5. If one parent just has weekends and some time in the summer, the number of overnights may be only 90 or so. If the parent has no overnights with the child, please write in a zero.
- Include the ordinary medical amount for each child. (Currently $454 per year)
- Write in the % each parent will pay for the ordinary medical amount to the box on page 2. (Neither parent can pay less than 10%, cannot be 100%/0%)
- If your child will graduate high school after age 18, check the box for “Post-majority Support” and provide that child’s date of expected graduation (i.e. May 31, 20??).
- Check box to indicate the parent who will pay the child’s health insurance costs. Please note, that if you check the box next to both parties, it means “both” not “either or.” FOC will send notice to the employer of both parents that the child must be enrolled in coverage if you select both.
- If you are deviating from the Michigan Child Support Formula, you must check the box on the Uniform Support Order and include the deviation addendum.
- Not all parenting time provisions are enforceable by the FOC. If your order states that parenting time is "as the parties agree", the FOC cannot enforce it. The FOC will not object based on that, but there is a box on the approval that is checked to make you aware that FOC cannot enforce.
Opting Out of FOC Services:
Opting out of FOC services is an option in only some cases. Opting out means more than just handling the payment of child support directly between the parties. It also means waiving your right to help from the FOC for any order enforcement issue, including parenting time and custody disputes.
Before you will be permitted to opt out of FOC services, both parties to the case must sign an Advice of Rights form and submit a proposed order that exempts your case from FOC services.
If you, your child(ren), or the other party receive Cash Assistance, Medicaid, Food Assistance, or child care assistance you cannot opt out of FOC services. If you owe arrears you cannot opt out. If there is domestic violence in your relationship you cannot opt out.
If the Court grants your motion to opt out of FOC services, you must still file a Uniform Child Support Order. You must prepare your order on Form FOC 10a, which is a version of the form that indicates you will not receive FOC services.
You cannot submit a zero dollar support order simply because you were allowed to opt out of FOC services. You must still calculate what the payer would pay for child support under the mandatory formula and fill out all required parts of the form FOC 10a, including medical support & health insurance. Either party may opt back in to FOC services at any time without needing the consent of the other party. DHHS will also require FOC to reopen any exempt case and begin charging child support if and when a party applies for any form of public benefits.
Stipulated Motion & Order to Credit/Discharge Arrears
If you are filing a Stipulated Motion to Credit Arrears, both Plaintiff and Defendant must sign it. If a third party is involved, that party must also sign. If both parties have not signed the motion, the FOC will object.
FOC 10 Uniform Child Support Order
FOC 100 Domestic Relations Judgment Information Form
DHS 1201 Application for IV-D Child Support Services
IF OPTING OUT:
Uniform Child Support Order(No FOC Services Version)
FOC 10a - No FOC Services version of the Uniform Child Support Order
Advice of Rights & Order (Signed by both parties)
*FOC 101 Advice of Rights Regarding Friend of the Court Services
*FOC 102 Order Exempting Case from Friend of the Court Services
FOC 10d Deviation Addendum
IF SPOUSAL SUPPORT:
Uniform Spousal Support Order (with FOC enforcement)
Uniform Spousal Support Order (without FOC enforcement/direct pay)
IF CHANGING AN EXISTING ORDER FOR CUSTODY OR PARENTING TIME:
Order Regarding Custody and Parenting Time
(note that a new child support order must be submitted with any order changing custody and parenting time so that the new calculation of support mirrors the new schedule of parenting time)