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What is a ‘friend of the court?’

In most child custody cases, the first public agency that parents will speak with is in the friend of the court office. There are several responsibilities that the friend of the court has, and one of those is a custody evaluation.

According to the law in Michigan, a friend of the court must make a written report after investigating all of the facts of the child custody case. The friend of the court’s recommendation will go to the parents and the court when there is a parenting time or child custody dispute.

The evaluator may meet with each parent separately or together. This interview is often a very anxious and stressful time for parents. They are usually not comfortable with an evaluation of their parenting skills. The goal of the interview is to determine what the best interests of the child are. In addition, parents should remember that the judge actually determines parenting time, custody and child support and that the friend of the court just makes recommendations to the judge.

The evaluator may ask for several records about your child, such as his or her school or home record. The child may be interviewed if he or she is mature enough. Children are not asked which parent they want to live with during the interviews. A home inspection may also be requested.

Child custody matters are often contentious. At the Schwartz Law Firm, we understand the difficulties that may arise in such cases. We are ready to fight for your children and to come to an agreement with the other parent that will work for years to come. To learn more, visit our webpages on the topic.