The Family Division of the Circuit Court was created by Public Act 388 in 1996. On January 1, 1998 the Friend of the Court became a unit in the Family Division of the Circuit Court.
We provide services to parties with minor children involving divorce, family support, interstate and paternity cases.
It is responsible for investigating and making recommendations in regards to child custody, support and parenting time (when ordered by the judge) in contested cases. Once the Court enters an order pertaining to those issues, the Friend of the Court assists in enforcing the Court's written orders.
The Friend of the Court:
- Secures financial information for support recommendations
- Conducts investigations for custody and parenting time recommendations;
- Strives to settle disputes without Court intervention
- Schedules cases for Courts
- Holds referee hearings and mediation sessions
- Finds absent parents
- Arrests and arraigns persons when bench warrants are issued for failure to appear at enforcement hearings
The Friend of the Court also provides many outreach programs to assist persons in domestic relations cases. Goals:
- Comply with all applicable statutes, rules, regulations and court orders
- Provide quality custody, parenting time and support services to individuals in domestic relations litigation efficiently and effectively
- Continue to enhance methods of operation through the use of technology
- Develop and provide staff training
- Increase use of conciliation, mediation and education to reduce conflict
- Use of Electronic Funds Transfer/Electronic Data Interchange (EFT/EDT) for receipt and disbursement of support payments
- Installation of an automated attendant and voice response system (VRU)
- Incorporated state information into its system to locate absent individuals and identify any outstanding bench warrants for child support
- Schedule and operate nationally recognized SMILE Program for divorcing parents.