When the Friend of the Court Doesn't Respond To Parenting Time Violations

Doug Dante DougDante1@yahoo.com Last Updated: Mon July 29, 2008 I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Speak with a good lawyer. Many parents, especially fathers, complain that when they called or complain to a FOC (Friend of the Court) worker that the other parent was violating court ordered parenting time, they are ignored, even after many complaints. One parent even said that the worker said "WELL I CAN'T CHANGE HER CHARACTER !!". There is some evidence of Racketeering in some Michigan courts. I would be concerned that if I exercised my rights, I might both loose in court and face punitive punishment in the form of less access to my children, higher child support burdens, higher alimony burdens, more lawyer fees, etc. Racketeering in Michigan's Friend of the Court? http://www.scribd.com/doc/454566/Racketeering-in-Michigans-Friend-of-the-Court When Might a Federal Racketeering Lawsuit Be Allowable? http://www.scribd.com/doc/959159/When-Might-a-Federal-Racketeering-LawsuitBe-Allowable Fiction: John Q Public and The Friend of the Court: Before It Begins (Civil Rights) http://www.scribd.com/doc/404652/Fiction-John-Q-Public-and-the-Friend-of-theCourt-Before-It-Begins If I were that parent, and I wanted to handle a parenting time complaint on my own, I would file two separate grievances. The first grievance would be against the person to whom I spoke. The second would be against the office of the Friend of the Court. I would point out that The US Supreme Court wrote in Troxel V Granville that: "The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” We have long recognized that the Amendment’s Due Process Clause, like its Fifth Amendment counterpart, “guarantees more than fair process.” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 719 (1997). The Clause also includes a substantive component that “provides heightened protection against government interference with certain

fundamental rights and liberty interests.” Id., at 720; see also Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 301—302 (1993). The liberty interest at issue in this case–the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court." http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-138.ZO.html In my grievance, I would quote Troxel and state that I am the parent of my child, and have a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody and control of my children. This fundamental liberty interest is protected by the fourteenth amendment, and I may not be legally deprived of my care, custody, and control of my children without due process of law. I would point to the Friend of the Court Act, MCL 552.501 Section 1, Paragraph 2, and say something like it is the duty of the Friend of the Court "to compel the enforcement of parenting time and custody orders" http://www.legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-act294-of-1982 In my grievance, I would point out further that the Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act specifies that it is the duty of the Friend of the Court to do the following in response to an alleged parenting time order violation: . (1) For a friend of the court case, a friend of the court shall do 1 or more of the following in response to an alleged custody or parenting time order violation stated in a complaint submitted under section 11b of the friend of the court act, MCL 552.511b: (a) Apply a makeup parenting time policy established under section 42. (b) Commence civil contempt proceedings under section 44. (c) File a motion with the court under section 17d of the friend of the court act, MCL 552.517d, for a modification of existing parenting time provisions to ensure parenting time, unless contrary to the best interests of the child. (d) Schedule mediation subject to section 13 of the friend of the court act, MCL 552.513. (e) Schedule a joint meeting subject to section 42a. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectNam e=mcl-552-641

I have made an allegation that my parenting time order has been violated by the other party, and the Friend of the Court needs to conduct its duties as required by law in order to ensure that my parenting time order is enforced. Otherwise, through its failure to conduct its lawful duties, the Friend of the Court is allowing Michigan law to be used to violate my fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody and control of my children, without any process of law, much less due process, and is violating my fourteenth amendment due process rights. In his/her capacity as an employee of the Friend of the Court and agent for judge SuchAndSuch, SoAndSo is disobeying the laws of the state of Michigan. SoAndSo's flippant statement that "WELL I CAN'T CHANGE HER CHARACTER" is an indication that he/she is aware that the other parent is willfully and cruelly preventing me from seeing my children, but he/she just doesn't care to conduct his/her duties according to the law so that I may see them. By his/her actions, other parent is engaged in Felony Domestic Violence. The Michigan Penal Code MCL 750.350a states in part: "(1) An adoptive or natural parent of a child shall not take that child, or retain that child for more than 24 hours, with the intent to detain or conceal the child from any other parent or legal guardian of the child who has custody or parenting time rights pursuant to a lawful court order at the time of the taking or retention, or from the person or persons who have adopted the child, or from any other person having lawful charge of the child at the time of the taking or retention. "(2) A parent who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year and 1 day, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both." http://legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=m cl-750-350a SoAndSo is aware of mom's felony acts, but doesn't fulfill her duties under the law to prevent the felony from continuing. SoAndSo's motivation may be to focus the efforts of the Friend of the Court on collection activities, which bring in more money for the Friend of the Court, and which may allow SoAndSo to make a larger salary. If this is true, then SoAndSo is profiting from NameOfMom's felony, which itself may be a felony in the State of Michigan. SoanSo's motivations may be to misappropriate state of Michigan funds for the Friend of the Court, which are intended for all of the duties of the Friend of the Court as outlined in the Friend of the Court Act, including the enforcement of parenting time, and instead misappropriate those funds for exclusive the purpose

of child support enforcement, anticipating that SoAndSo and her employer the Friend of the Court will financially benefit by collecting more child support dollars and gaining both more interest-like fines on arrears that are treated as child support, as well as more federal incentive funds under Title 42, Chapter 7, Subchapter IV-D, Part D, Section 658A. SoandSo's motivations may be to misappropriate US Federal funds for parenting time enforcement at the Friend of the Court, specifically Title 42, Chapter 7, Subchapter IV-D, Part D, Section 669D funds received by the State of Michigan and this local Friend of the Court "to establish and administer programs to support and facilitate noncustodial parents’ access to and visitation of their children", and instead misappropriate those funds for exclusive the purpose of child support enforcement, anticipating that SoAndSo and her employer the Friend of the Court will financially benefit by collecting more child support dollars and gaining both more interest-like fines on arrears that are treated as child support, as well as more federal incentive funds under Title 42, Chapter 7, Subchapter IV-D, Part D, Section 658A. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00000669---b000-. html http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00000655----000-. html http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00000658---a000-. html See Also: http://www.scribd.com/doc/630611/A-Quick-Summary-of-Title-IVD-Funding-andIncentives SoandSo's motivations may be to misappropriate US Federal funds for parenting time enforcement at SoAndSo's motivation may be further to misappropriate funds from service fees from parents. Parents who pay child support pay a monthly fee of $1.50 per month for services not reimbursable under Title IV-D: From MCL 600.2538: "(1) For services provided that are not reimbursable under the provisions of part D of title IV of the social security act, chapter 531, 49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. 651 to 655, 656 to 660, and 663 to 669b, every person required to make payments of support or maintenance to be collected by the friend of the court or the state disbursement unit shall pay a fee of $1.50 per month for every month or portion of a month that support or maintenance is required to be paid. ... "

http://legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=m cl-600-2538 If state and federal dollars under US Code title 42, Chapter 7, Subchapter IV-D, Part-D Section 669D, which are made for enforcing parenting time, are not sufficient to cover the expenses of this action, then fees collected from parents under MCL 600.2538 should be used so that the Friend of the Court can meet its statutorily mandated duties. SoAndSo may be motivated by a desire to misappropriate these user fees, and to pretend that the Friend of the Court isn't paid to do its statutorily mandated duties, in an attempt to defraud parents who pay these fees of the services for which they are statutorily required to pay under MCL 600.2538. In this manner, so and so may be motivated to increase his/her own pocketbook with less work, and is violating various Michigan laws. The second grievance would be against the office itself. It would say something like, See Grievance 1 (attached). Based on his/her responses, I simply do not believe that this is the first time that SoAndSo has conducted himself/herself in this manner. The Friend of the Court is negligent in either training or retaining SoAndSo. If the Friend of the Court has properly explained SoAndSo's duties to her, and has proper procedures to fulfill its duties under the law, then it is negligent in retaining SoAndSo when he/she is behaving in a way to violate my rights and profiting from domestic violence. Alternatively, if the Friend of the Court has not explained SoAndSo's duties to her, and/or does not have proper procedures to handle parenting time complaints, then it is negligent in failing to properly train its staff and have procedures necessary to fulfill its duties under the law. The Friend of the Court should either train SoAndSo to conduct her duties under the law or fire her if she is unwilling to do so, and ensure that its procedures are sufficient to meet its statutorily mandated duties. I would consider filing both grievances in writing, typed, make two copies of the first, and go to the FOC office. I would fill out a grievance form for each and attach the typed pages that I had made earlier to each. I would go to the FOC and get them stamped, along with the grievance forms. If I didn't get a response within 30 days (MCL 522.526, Section 26, Paragraph 1) after the grievances were filed, or if I felt that such a response wasn't was consistent with the law or satisfactory to me as a parent, I would continue to follow the grievance procedure in Michigan's Friend of the Court Act (MCL 522.526, Section 26), I would file a further grievance with the chief judge (Paragraph 1,b). http://www.legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-552-

526 Many times, a parent is awarded "liberal and reasonable parenting time" or a similar idea. Sometimes, the court will say that it can't enforce the parenting time that it awarded, because it's not specific. If so, I would include in my original complaints or any subsequent complaints a request to modify parenting time so that it's specific and enforceable, citing the Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act (MCL 722.27a), which says in part: (7) Parenting time shall be granted in specific terms if requested by either party at any time. http://legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=m cl-722-27a I might also point to Pickering V Pickering. http://courts.co.calhoun.mi.us/05dom033.htm I might also cite the Michigan Parenting Time Guidelines, which say in part: "When the child(ren) is in the care of the non-custodial or custodial parent for an extended period of time (e.g., one week), the child(ren) shall have the right to contact with the other parent by telephone or Internet." http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/resources/publications/manuals/focb/p t_gdlns.pdf I would feel that simply making a phone call and being denied telephone access to my children is a violation of an enforceable provision of my potentially otherwise unenforceable liberal and reasonable parenting time order. I'm not a lawyer and this isn't legal advice. The best course of action would be to speak with a good lawyer.

Some General Concerns for any Local Michigan Friend of the Court
The court has a financial conflict of interest that may discourage joint physical custody or the higher earning parent to obtain custody of children: http://www.scribd.com/doc/630611/A-Quick-Summary-of-Title-IVD-Funding-andIncentives

Some local FOCs may delay or deny legitimate child support modification requests: http://www.scribd.com/doc/458394/Michigan-Friend-of-the-Court-Child-SupportModification-Request Or refuse to respond to legitimate parenting time violations: http://www.scribd.com/doc/550881/When-the-Friend-of-the-Court-Doesnt-RespondTo-Parenting-Time-Violations Or engage in troubling retaliatory practices: http://www.scribd.com/doc/454566/Racketeering-in-Michigans-Friend-of-the-Court http://www.scribd.com/doc/959159/When-Might-a-Federal-Racketeering-LawsuitBe-Allowable Or may operate without knowledge of problems that fatherlessnes cause for children: http://www.scribd.com/doc/425877/The-Effects-of-Divorce-and-Sole-Custody-onChildrenAny local FOC is under the direction of the SCAO (State Court Administrative Office) which created the troubling CSPR (or CSPER) report, and the federal dollars also extend the financial conflict of interest from the courts to the local Prosecuting Attorneys: http://www.scribd.com/doc/477791/A-Review-of-the-CSPER-Report http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/services/focb/CSPR1206ReportAndRecommendations.pdf Some local FOCs may improperly use internal mediators. This is one of the issues with the Oakland County FOC job posting below. http://www.scribd.com/doc/405400/Michigan-Friend-of-the-Court-MediatorQuestions Some local FOCs may unnecessarily delay child custody rulings, damaging the parent-child bond of the parent on the wrong side of a temporary order, and risking making any temporary order a permanent order through simple longevity: http://www.scribd.com/doc/509712/What-if-The-Court-Fails-to-Rule-Promptly-onCustody Some local FOCs may fail to allow contemptors to speak at contempt hearings: http://www.scribd.com/doc/406110/Some-Thoughts-For-Parents-Facing-AContempt-of-Court-Hearing Some local FOCs may fail to properly ensure that the civil rights of parents are

respected: http://www.scribd.com/doc/404652/Fiction-John-Q-Public-and-the-Friend-of-theCourt-Before-It-Begins Some local FOCs may fail to enforce parent's rights to their children's school or medical records: http://www.scribd.com/doc/458635/Considerations-for-Getting-Your-Childs-SchoolRecords-using-FERPA Some local FOCs may incorrectly substitute a software application for the correct child support formula manual, creating an improper support obligation that may actually cause severe poverty of the paying parent, which is not consistent with Michigan law nor in the children's best interests: http://www.scribd.com/doc/962203/Should-Software-for-Child-SupportCalculations-be-Treated-As-Unreliable Or they may fail to act in the children's interest when there is clear and convincing evidence that their custodial parent isn't using the paying parent's payments to provide for the children: http://www.scribd.com/doc/1018457/Considerations-for-when-a-Parent-SpendsChild-Support-on-HimselfHerself-and-the-Court-Doesnt-Care Or they may back date forms, etc, making it difficult for parents to obtain justice: http://www.scribd.com/doc/948712/Detecting-Fraud-in-Court-Filings-Postal-MetersColor-PrintersCopiers-and-Cartridges Or they may fail to follow court rules and allow for contemporaneous recordings, or alter recordings, or unnecessarily delay transcripts, to make it more difficult for parents to obtain justice: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2257035/Contemporaneous-Recordings-for-RefereeHearings-in-Michigan Or they may use biased custody evaluators: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2561734/Some-Thoughts-on-Child-Custody-Hearings Or lawyers and judges may forget their duties as mandated reporters: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2618443/YOU-are-a-mandated-reporter Or child custody mediation may be broken, with referees and judges just rubber stamping reports made by evaluators: http://www.scribd.com/doc/3123830/Michigan-Child-Custody-Survey-Report And please be aware of how to get public information from the judiciary: http://www.scribd.com/doc/3123830/Michigan-Child-Custody-Survey-Report

Information on the Ingham County Friend of the Court: http://www.scribd.com/doc/362198/Ingham-County-Friend-of-the-Court-Is-IgnoringThe-Law-and-Hurting-Kids Information on the Macomb County Friend of the Court: http://www.scribd.com/doc/3987229/Macomb-County-Friend-of-the-Court-Ignoresthe-Law-and-Hurts-Kids Information on the Oakland County Friend of the Court: http://www.scribd.com/doc/362206/Oakland-County-Friend-of-the-Court-Ignoresthe-Law-and-Hurts-Kids