Wayne County Friend of the Court FOC

General Information Regarding Wayne County Friend of the Court - FOC

A government agency called the "Friend of the Court" (FOC) represents the interests of the minor children in family law matters, especially child support. That is necessary because the attorneys only represent the parties (the husband and wife). For most support matters, a Wayne County FOC Referee makes recommendations to the judge.

The noncustodial parent usually pays child support to the custodial parent until the child reaches 18 years of age (or a maximum of 19 years old). The amount of child support that must be paid is based on the child support formula unless there are special circumstances.  A departure from the child support formula is rare and must be approved by the Wayne County Circuit Court judge. Gifts, clothes, transportation, vacation expenses and rent are not considered child support.

The Court can also order the parent without child custody to pay a portion of the child's health insurance, health care expenses, and sometimes special education expenses.

If you refuse to pay child support, the Wayne County FOC will keep track of how much you owe in back support (that's called an "arrearage"). The Wayne County FOC and/or the Court will enforce the support order by garnishing your wages, taking your income tax returns, suspending your driver's license, and putting liens on your property. The Wayne County Circuit Court can hold you in contempt of court, which means you could be arrested and thrown in jail, and you could face a charge of felony nonsupport if you get too far behind in your payments. You cannot reduce your arrearage by filing bankruptcy.

The court can modify custody, visitation and child support if you can prove a change in circumstances in either parents’ life. Remarriage does not automatically result in a change of circumstances, but this is a factor. Significant changes in income can also be considered a change of circumstances.  Likewise, if the custodial parent decides to start taking drugs, neglecting the child and gambles away all the child support at the casino, these are commonsense change of circumstances but require evidence as opposed to mere allegations.  In sum, positive changes to your life as a noncustodial parent are good, while negative changes in the custodial parent weigh against continued custody, but because the Wayne County Friend of the Court wants what is best for the child, both parents should always strive to be better people and better parents.