Custody & Parenting Time
Cases Assigned by First Letter
of Father's Last Name
The Friend of the Court (FOC) offers the following services related to custody and parenting time:
Initial Facilitative and Information Gathering Conference
All new divorce and custody cases are referred to the FOC for an initial facilitative and information gathering conference to address the issues of custody, parenting time, and child support. Support and custody cases initiated in the prosecutor's office are often referred to the FOC as well. Your caseworker will meet with you and the other parent to help you reach an agreement. If you are able to reach an agreement, your caseworker will help you put your agreement into the form of an order.
If you are unable to agree, your caseworker will prepare a recommendation that the caseworker believes will serve the best interests of your child(ren), based on the circumstances of your case. The recommendation will immediately become the Order of the Court (called an "Ex Parte Order"). Both parties will have 21 days to object to the order in writing. If a party objects, there will be a hearing before the Court.
If a parent files a motion to modify an existing judgment or order, the Court will likely refer the matter to the FOC for a post-judgment alternative dispute resolution joint meeting or a hearing before the Family Division Referee.
A post-judgment alternative dispute resolution joint meeting is very similar to a facilitative and information gathering conference. If the parents are able to reach an agreement, your caseworker will prepare a written agreement for you to sign, and the agreement will become the order in your case.
If the parties are unable to agree, the caseworker will submit a recommended order that will become the order of the Court after 21 days. If either parent submits a written objection to the County Clerk during the 21 days, there will be a hearing before the Court.
A hearing before the Referee is very similar to a hearing before the Court. After the hearing, the Referee will prepare a recommended order that will become the order of the Court after 21 days. If either party submits a written objection during the 21 days, there will be a hearing before the Court. Please note that the objecting party must request a transcript of the Referee hearing.
Caseworkers will assist parents with preparing written orders to reflect agreed-upon modifications to their current order. Caseworkers are available to answer basic procedural questions and questions about your current order; and help resolve disputes; but caseworkers cannot offer legal advice. If you are unsure of what action to take in your case, we urge you to contact an attorney.