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Friday, January 06, 2006

Complaints About the Michigan Domestic Relations Legal System


The Michigan Domestic Relations Legal system is atrocious because it thrives on the destruction and break-ups of the core family structure.

The Friend of the Court, the Judges, and attorneys that are involved all benefit from your current disastrous situation. Some of these officials receive an incentive payment to collect money from you, others have high fees they charge you, while others have their retirement funds paid by the very system that you are now involved in. Its a big industry for alot of people, which means there is alot of room for abuse. How do you defend yourself and make others aware of the abuses that will likely occur? You read this document and know your rights. You have the right to file grievances, appeals, and complaints regarding certain officials' behaviors and by not following through, you are acknowledging the corrupt system is indeed ok. Stand up today folks.

How Do I File a Complaint Against the FOC?

If you have a complaint about the FOC operations or employees, you can bring it to the Friend of the Court by letter or phone call. Michigan law also provides a grievance procedure a party can use when they have a complaint about FOC operations or employees. A grievance may not be used to disagree with a decision of a Judge or a FOC recommendation. Be sure to only use the telephone to complain if you want them to not count it or acknowledge. Always conduct your grievances in writing.

It is very helpful to know the actual statutory job duties of the Friend of the Court so you can match up their misconduct directly to a failure to perform a specific duty. You can view the duties by clicking here. (excerpt from the Friend of the Court Act of 1982)

Another section of the Friend of the Court Act that you will want to print and be familiar with is the MCLA 552.505.

You can file a grievance in two ways:
By filing a grievance form, which you can obtain at the FOC office or
By stating your concerns in writing to the FOC in which you clearly identify your letter as a grievance. You can download the State Court Administrator's Office form which is referred to as FOC 1a. It is available free online, since many of the Friend of the Court offices hide these forms and make you ask for them. If this happens to you, look at the duties listed at the above statute and file a grievance against them for making you ask for the form.

The Friend of the Court must investigate and answer your grievance within 30 days or notify you why a response is not possible within that time. It is very important that if you do not receive a response within 30 days, file another grievance naming the Friend of the Court (the actual person) on the next grievance for not doing his/her job again.

If you are not satisfied with the Friend of the Court's response to your grievance, you can file a further grievance, in writing, with the Chief Circuit Court Judge within 30 days of the response.

Be sure to visit FOCINFO.COM & FIXTHEFOC.COM. You should also email your grievances and statements to the two sites just mentioned. They are keeping track of various Friend of the Court issues that are raised by the people and do not work for the State of Michigan.

It is very important to follow up with this next step, especially if it pertains to an employee within the court. The more grievances filed against persons that are not doing their jobs, the more likely they are either going to be replaced or removed entirely.

The Chief Circuit Court Judge must investigate and answer your grievance within 30 days or notify you of the reason for the delay.
The FOC grievance procedure ends with the response of either the Friend of the Court or if a further grievance is filed, the Chief Circuit Court Judge.

If you also have a Grievance with the general operations of the Friend of the Court office make sure you file an additional grievance with the local Citizen's Advisory Committee if one is available. The "CAC" is not available in all Counties, but even if there is not one, file a second grievance always regarding office operations if you have a problem with an employee, afterall the employee is part of the office operations... RIGHT?

How Do I File A Complaint About My Court Orders ?

Court orders are not covered under the FOC grievance procedure. Contact your attorney to discuss your legal options, such as a motion for re-hearing or an appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

You can view the current Michigan Courts Rules at the Michigan Courts website. Go there and check it out. You can also find your way to the Court of Appeals to obtain forms if you need them.

How Do I File a Complaint About The Conduct Of The Judge or the Referee?

The Judicial Tenure Commission was created to review grievances about alleged misconduct of a Judge. Anyone who has serious concerns about the conduct of a Judge or a Referee can contact:

Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission
3034 West Grand Blvd.
Suite 8-450
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 875-5110 or Fax: (313) 875-5154

This email address should be used to make general contact with the Commission office, and is not directed to any individual. The confidentiality of Internet transmissions via e-mail cannot be assured. Therefore, please do not use e-mail to forward information concerning complaints or grievances to the Commission, to assist in preserving the confidential nature of our investigations.

Complaints concerning your court orders should not be sent to the Judicial Tenure Commission. The Judicial Tenure Commission is not an appellate court and cannot change the content of a court order.

The Judicial Tenure Commission is going to look for certain key phrases, which involve not your existing matter but the Judge's behavior. Compare the Judge's behavior with their Code of Ethics.

To view the "Complaint Process" click here.

WHAT ARE POSSIBLE GROUNDS FOR ACTION AGAINST A JUDGE?A judge is subject to censure, suspension with or without pay, retirement, or removal for conduct including, but not limited to:

a) Conviction of a felony;

b) Physical or mental disability that prevents the performance of judicial duties;

c) Misconduct in office;

d) Persistent failure to perform judicial duties;

e) Habitual intemperance (i.e., abuse of alcohol);

f) Conduct that is clearly prejudicial to the administration of justice; or

g) Conduct in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct or the Rules of Professional Conduct, whether it occurred before or after the individual became a judge or was related to judicial office.

WHAT IS JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT IN OFFICE?Misconduct in office includes, but is not limited to:

a) Persistent incompetence in the performance of judicial duties;

b) Persistent neglect in the timely performance of judicial duties;

c) Persistent failure to treat persons fairly and courteously;

d) Treatment of a person unfairly or discourteously because of the person's race, gender, or other protected personal characteristic;

e) Misuse of judicial office for personal advantage or gain, or for the advantage or gain of another; or

f) Failure to cooperate with a reasonable request made by the Commission in its investigation of a judge.

How Do I File A Complaint About My Attorney?

The Attorney Grievance Commission was created to investigate alleged misconduct of Michigan attorneys. Anyone who has serious concerns about the behavior of an attorney can contact:

Attorney Grievance Commission
243 West Congress, Suite 256
Marquette Building
Detroit, Michigan 48226
(313) 961-6585 or


Teri said...

You are one hell of a guy Lary. Thank you on behalf of all the parents and children in Michigan who can now benefit from this information.

Anonymous said...

Please, see web site
The goal of michiganjustice is to reform the Michigan legal system concerning divorce and the process to discipline errant attorneys.

Theodore A. Golden, M.D.

nicholebruff said...

Have a question. My ex-husband has consistently been in arrears in the amounts of 3200 or 4200. He has never been show caused. I have a case where I pay. I have been taken to jail twice. Once for 647 that had been paid a year prior in full. The next time was for 153 dollars, that again had been paid in full via income withholding.

I was behind 200 last summer and the referee for my case stated that I was going up for a show cause for non payment. I asked how that is possible when my ex-husband was behind 3600 at that moment. He informed me it was alphabetical. Since I still had his last name and his 1st name started with a "C" and mine with a "N" How could I be up for one and not him?

His step mom has been an employee with the district court for 30 years. We are a small county.

Sept. I filed a complaint for non-payment. 2 months later he is show caused. Enforcement Officer orders him to pay 500 in 30 days. He doesn't comply. I had to go file another complaint. 30 days later he goes before the judge. Judge orders him to pay 800 with no deadline and discharges the show cause.

I am furious. He doesn't have a job. Why haven't they issued a bench warrant? Why would the show cause be discharged?

I spoke with the enforcement officer yesterday. He said he didn't have the file in front of him. He recalled that my ex was facing 2 felonies and that the court couldn't bleed a turnip. If they took him to jail that he would cost the county money.

Is this grounds for a grievance? Why would a judge dismiss without even ordering jail time if =the support wasn't paid?

Anonymous said...

Where as I am not in this situation and I thank God that I am not. My heart goes out to those who are suffering when our State has an unemployment rate of 10.6 percent right now and rising.
As my grandmother use to say you can not get blood from a turnip, and that is how I feel about individuals who are facing arreages and child support when clearly there are no jobs to be found here in Kalamazoo. As Govenor you have the ability to offer relief for these people who have lost there jobs and also who are unable to find jobs. When they fall behind the first thing the state wants to do is put them in jail how does this help? thus creating a criminal record which will cause them not to obtain employment if they are blessed to do so. How can the state ask someone to give them what they don't have? I just don't understand this kind of thinking.
Please consider eliminating all arreages for these people and also put in place that if the child is living with a parent who is working and making 4xs the amount of the person that has to pay support be equally responsible for the child. A lot of the people who recieve support buy new cars and use the money to pay their car notes, while the other parent is struggling trying to pay rent and other neccessary bills for themselves.
Relief is neccessary for individauls who are in this position.
Strict Laws need to be in place for the mothers of these children as well who have high paying jobs, to make sure that they are using the money for the child and not buying new cars, you would be supprised at the abuse of this law by the women.
My husband and I have been married for 15 years with one child who we adopted with no other children outside of our marriage. But we have seen abuse of the Friend of the Court and our State be very unfair.
(Example) If the female works for let's say Veterans Hospital has bought a new car, not a used car and the father has lost his job only making $9.00 an hour, what happened too the shared economics formula in that? yes I did my research.
The mother in a case like this should be soley responsible for the child until the other parent finds work with no interest or arreages which should be zeroed out, this would offer relief and peace of mind in this economy to the parent who is looking for employment. But the Friend of the Court abuses their power in this type of situation and has in the past ignored request thus creating a terrible situation.
New laws are in dire need for the outside parent.
What are you willing to do? to help these people they are suffering this is not fair. If they can not pay enforce that they substitute payment for babysitting thus eliminating any arreages and any child support, by babysitting their child while the mother of the child works. She then would not have to pay for a babysitter or Daycare thus saving her money as well which it's not her money that would be used. Some of these mothers lie and say that people are babysitting and that they pay them when in reality it is a family member and they don't charge them one dime to do so, generally it is the grandmother of the child in question. Clearly the parent that the child lives with makes much, much more. when a mother can afford to loan out money to family members in the amount of any amount or afford Nextel phones and name brand clothes, who has great insurance through their jobs, who needs the relief? Too me this is clearly abuse at it's highest. I am tired of hearing individuals complain about these things to friend of the court and nothing is being done to investigate the books. Fathers need to be backed by your office to hold these types of people accountable. My husband and I are moving from Michigan to North Carolina, because Michigan is an unfair State, also in order for our daughter to be in a State that has more to offer children who graduate. Our state tends to lean toward those who don't need it. As a tax payer I do not appreciate the unfairness of any person and neither should you or your office.
The economy is not going to get any better anytime soon and this is just a reality. And it is worse for the people who are trapped in this system of child support and arreages when they have no hope,money and no jobs to be found in Kalamazoo. Something needs to be done for relief for these individuals who are paying child support and have arreages ASAP. I pray that you will not ignore this and take a good look at how this law is so onesided and highly unfair. Our state has given these mothers the green light to get pregnant and then ride the backs of tax payers for a while while clogging up our judicial system to help them when they clearly have made a terrible choice, life is about choices and then, the horrible part is that the majority of these women will get pregnant by a man whom they know does not have a job. Time to hold the women accountable Govenor, not just the Man. I believe that you will find that when you get serious about how you all handle the females of these children they will think twice about their choices, which will hopefully eliminate them having to go to our courts to help them punish the father of the child because he has moved on or whatever the case may be. Both people are responsible for preventing pregnacy when one person is not working. We have held the hands of women for far too long and have assisted them in their abuse of the system, it is time we stopped doing so.

A concerned citizen

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am responding to the comment about only fathers having to pay childsupport and all that. I am the custodial parent of one child and the other one lives with their father. Not only men have to pay support, and not only men are being targeted for arrearages. I stood in a court room and watched guys who owed tens of thousands of dollars behind and nothing being done while I, on little income I recieved from other son's dad, I had the book thrown at me for being about 1900 behind. I was told to pay 450 or go to jail for 45 days. I also informed the referee in that county I just found two parttime jobs, so now they want to put me in jail and then I will lose the two jobs. This is not equal justice under the law at all. I am mad so I am going to go to law school and maybe become a judge, I will be fair to people. There is no excuse for this referees/ friend of the court workers anymore. We are not going to take it anymore. AJ

Anonymous said...

I have been in divorce court for six years - every month to month and 1/2 for six years! The Judge has not enforced one Order and my ex is $107,000 in support arrears. We haven't even gotten to property settlement issues which are almost $100,000.00. It is unbeliveable that the Kalamazoo County has enough money to continue to waste Court time - 4 hours every month for six years, but doesn't have enough money to put ex in jail for arrears. This is a person that is writing off $341,000.00 a year in tax write-offs but claiming to make $15,000.00 a year - GET SERIOUS - THIS FRIEND OF THE COURT IS A JOKE - SOMETHING IS SMELLING REALLY ROTTEN IN DENMARK VIA KALAMAZOO COUNTY.

Anonymous said...

I went to school college to be a paramedic and got my EMT license and I had to take care of my mother who has MS and grandfather who has emphysema and ended up getting addicted to my mom's pain medication and got a felony, now all my friends and family I was close to are dead from overdosing, I have been clean for a year and half now but don't know where to turn, I still take care of my mother and grandfather and they help me pay rent on a little apartment. I have a 12 year old son who I owe 18,500 in past support plus 160 a month and 200 for braces and I can't even get a job, That's more than I have made in my life I am only 30. The judge would not even look over the fact that the first four years of his life she was on the lease at a mobile home and lived with me. She will not even give me her insurance card that will take 400 of his braces for cleaning and will be 3200 instead of 3600, she says it's like her paying for it so she would rather me find someway to pay it then use his free benefits. It's not like I am hiding any money, she new I was not rich from the beginning when we were 15 unlike her family who owns golf courses and other stuff. At 20,000 they will put me in prison. I just wish I would die and if it would not hurt him I would end my life, What else can I do? I am not a money kind of guy and just want to take care of my family. She actually said if I was a real man I would work at McDonalds, live outside and give her all my checks. He could live with me and go to better schools like he wants but she said when he's 18. I am going to be put in jail and have my checks garnished to where I cannot afford to live indoors even if I work 60 hours a week. I will owe her until he is 60 or older with the interest they add and I thought it was in the best interest of the kid, not the never worked a day in her life, had 3 more kids and got married rich girl. Beside eat a gun do you have any suggestions I give up and pretty soon will just not care and end it, I have been doing the best I can.

Anonymous said...

I intend on filing a complaint against the friend of the court. I'm a mom of one. Her dad moved out of state to get a job to provide for our 2.5 year old daughter. We are not married/together and never will be. An "agent" of the FOC offered to allow us to opt out of FOC for child support. He failed to send the agreement to her father, and therefor did not file it with the judge. I signed the paperwork in January. It's July 27th. I carry insurance for our daughter. The govt is trying to force her dads employer to enroll her in their insurance plan against both of our wishes. The assistant prosecuting attorney will not answer his phone calls. That attorney was given the updated address info for her dad and for me. He failed to follow through on any and all paperwork. Luckily I have the draft with his handwrititng indicating the action that was supposed to take place. For whatever reason I am still receiving mail at an outdated residence regarding insurane when I have had continuous coverage for my daughter all along. Her dad pays child support dirctly to me as the assistant prosecuting attorney agreed to allow us to do. He pays me for an entire month in advance!!! I consider the communication from FOC irellevant and frivolous. Updates are not taking place in a timely manner, if at all. We settled out of court almost 2 years ago when we realized we can do a much better job enforcing our own parental responsibilities than the court system can yet they refuse to stay out of our lives. I don't know how far I can go with this but I'll file a complaint with every office related to the Michigan FOC. There are parents who really need support out there and are not getting it b/c the court is too busy harrassing competent parents like my daughters father and I. This is ridiculous, to say the least.

RUSH said...

I just love the internet! I had a hearing in front of the referee in Monroe County three days ago and I just wish I had read before what I have in the last few days. Don't be pushed around in there. They completley railroaded me with bias decision making proscesses that I now have clear cut grounds for malfeasance against the referee. I had to hire an out of county attorney after I called 7 of them and was refused representation from them, even some from out of county. The other party was a court clerk for years in the curt house and her husband is an attorney from Monroe County so the secret hand shake went further than I thought. I have sense educated my self thanks to pages like this so now I KNOW the referee can NOT use two diffrent jobs on two back to back cases(previos employer for one then 10 min later use current employers wages in second case) He can not also not ask for income from one plantiff and not the other. Nor can he use Gross YTD as (NET INCOME) which is the term used when calculating both parents income to determine support as defined in the 2008 Michigan Child Support Guide. So I now have many counts of malfeason against the Monroe County Referee. Now I need to get back on Google to find out if I can get some type on misconduct on her husband as an attorney for trying to bias everyone in the case and for trying to get all of his buddies to refuse me council. Heck I was even denied by an office in Southfield! Props on the page Lary!

Anonymous said...

My husband has 2 children from a previous relationship. He has religiously been paying anywhere from $1000 to $1200 per month for these children. Recently he lost his job due to downsizing in the company. We live in Michigan-unemployment is 17%-this is not unusual these days. After several months of searching unsuccessfully for another job in his trade, we decided to start a business on our own. We thought we were doing a good thing by not filing for unemployment and living off an already struggling state. However, when starting a new business, it takes time to begin turning a profit. My husband and I filed a review for child support in October to lower his payments. In the meantime, our lawyer advised us to pay what we could toward child support. We struggled to pay as much as possible, but ended up in the the arrearances anyway. We didn't hear anything until he recieved a letter at the end of March saying he had to go to a show cause hearing. Three days before the show cause hearing we recieved a letter from the district court saying that the case had been dismissed. Period. No explaination of why or how they came to this conclusion. It was dismissed and we had 21 days to contest it. How do you contest something that gives you no guideline as to how the conclusion was reached? My husband went to the show cause hearing at which his ex also showed up. A caseworker asked him questions regarding how much he paid out in bills per month including our mortgage and truck payment. Then she suggested that he continue to pay $1000 per month plus $50 toward arrearances. Seeing that he was going to get nowehere until he could file an appeal he agreed to try to find the money to pay this amount until we filed an appeal. His ex denied this offer. He then went in front of a judge who was an hour late in showing up. The judge asked if we were making our mortgage and truck payments. When my husband answered that we were not behind on either and that he needs his truck for his job, which requires him to drive thousands of miles a year, she stated that in order for child support to be reduced, he couldn't be paying his (our) mortgage or truck payment either. A small side note here - the truck is in my name, and I make enough money from my other job to pay the mortgage. Technically they are not able to take my income into account, yet they told my husband that he, myself, and newborn baby need to be homeless in order for him to pay less than $1000 a month. My husband again offered to agree to somehow find the money to pay $1000 a month until we could get the appeal going. The judge asked his ex if this was acceptable. She said no. The judge held my husband in contempt and sentenced him to jail for 30 days or until he could pay $1000. He asked if he could put the $1000 on a credit card and not go to jail. The judge said "No, I want you to go to jail." He has never been behind in child support payments before, but he LOST his JOB! He was able to call me and I was forced to borrow the money to pay to get him out of jail. Without him, we lose our business as well. Since he is now self-employed, he can not claim unemployment even if he wanted to.
All that being said, I agree with the CONCEPT of child support. However, I find it hard to believe that any two children need $2000 per month to survive. I say $2000 because his ex should be providing 1/2 their care. FOC states that child support is there so that the children are supported as if the family was still together. In real life, when a parent loses his job, the family has to live on less because less is coming in. FOC needs to stop, regroup and try again. I am sure a lot of people deserve the treatment that my husband got, but these cases need to be looked at in an unbiased, individual basis. My husband was the victim of a greedy woman, a misleading caseworker with a chip on her shoulder, and a power tripping judge. Please look at what people are saying and see that something needs to change.

Anonymous said...

My daughters civil rights have been completely violated and Friends of the court never did an investigation. They took what her abuser said at face value. Pretty assisted him in committing perjury. She lost custody and never had a day in court. Never was represented by an attorney also never was served to appear. In fact because freinds of the court never made a phone call to verify her address. Their statement was she was trying to avoid being served. Not that her ex-boyfriend had posted where she was at on face book and went to a domestic violence shelter in another state. There is much much more. email me at if you have any suggestions on how to begin to get help.

Rasorman5454 said...

To all: My email address is I believe that the guidelines in the State of Michigan need to be changed and that we the people need to be heard. While non of us are perfect, responsible parents, male or female need to be heard. While the formal complaint process may work at times I believe that we need to take this to our politicians. While nothing may happen in the near future, nor before our kids are grown and gone, this is our opportunity as responsible parents to stand up for ourselves and take action - To the people that are supposed to represent the majority and that have oversight of the system. Anyone interested in this battle, please send me an email so that we can correspond.

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