How to Appeal an FOC Hearing in Michigan

By Liz Cobbs
Appealing a Friend of the Court hearing means having to go before a referee or a circuit court judge.

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Appealing a Friend of the Court (FOC) hearing in Michigan involves taking your case to the family division of the circuit court in your county. Among the duties of the FOC is to make recommendations to the judge about domestic relations issues such as child support. The FOC is required to periodically review child support orders and sometimes recommend increases or decreases in the amount of money a parent pays child support. A parent objecting to the change can appeal the FOC's recommendation.

File an objection to the FOC's recommendation. You can obtain the appropriate form from the FOC office in your county or download the form from the court's website. The form must be filed in the clerk's office of the circuit court in your county. The court follows the Michigan Child Support formula when determining the amount of money a parent has to pay. Your objections, then, should be based on mistakes that you believe FOC made when using the state Child Support formula to calculate your payments.

Request a hearing. After filing your objection, the court will set a hearing date on your request. Once you receive the hearing date, mail or hand-deliver a copy of your objection to the other parent. Fill out a certificate of mailing form to prove that you notified the other parent of your objection. You must also send a copy to the FOC.

Appeal the decision of the hearing. If an FOC hearing was held before a referee, you stated your objections and the referee made a recommendation that you did not agree with, you can ask to have a new hearing before a family court judge. You can obtain the appropriate form at the FOC office in your county or on the court's website. The form, including your written objections to the recommendation, must be filed in the clerk's office within 21 days of receiving the referee's recommendation.

Notify the other parent and FOC of your request for a new hearing. The form must be mailed or hand-delivered to the other parent once the clerk's office gives you a date for a hearing. The FOC must also receive a copy of the document.

Consider consulting with or hiring an attorney. Appealing a referee's decision means you will have to go before a circuit court judge. In addition, the other parent may be represented in court by her attorney, who will presumably speak against your appeal.

Appeal the circuit court judge's decision. If after hearing your objections to the FOC recommendation the judge makes a decision that you are not satisfied with, you should hire a lawyer, if you have not done so already, to discuss your legal options. At this point, you can ask the judge to consider hearing your case again or you can appeal the judge's order to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

About the Author

Liz Cobbs has been a professional writer since 1985. She has worked as a staff reporter at "The Ann Arbor News" and "The Ypsilanti Press" newspapers, and as an assistant manager of editorial services at Eastern Michigan University. Cobbs earned a B.A. in music theory from Wayne State University and an M.A. in communication from Regent University.

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