Frequently Asked Questions
What is the FOC mailing address?
Ottawa County Friend of the Court
414 Washington Ave, Room 225
Grand Haven, MI 49417
I cannot get through to the Friend of the Court (FOC) office by phone. Why?
The office is required to use an interactive voice response system (IVR). The IVR is user-friendly and a caller may follow the prompts to be connected with the Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU) for account information, to request forms or may choose to connect to the local FOC to schedule an appointment with a caseworker. Please be advised that the office receives a high volume of calls daily and you may need to wait to speak to a receptionist.
When do I contact MiSDU, and when do I contact the Friend of the Court?
The MiSDU deals with inquiries such as payment coupons, direct deposits, check issuance, lost/stolen checks, unclaimed checks, IVR pin numbers, debit card disbursement questions and disbursement details. In general, all other questions should be referred to your local FOC office.
MiSDU may be reached by calling the automated IVR, (616) 846-8210) and following the prompts to connect to MiSDU. You may also follow the prompts to reach your local FOC office.
- How do I change my employer or address?
Why does my caseworker prefer that I put all my correspondence to the office "in writing"?
At the end of 2012 the Friend of the Court office had 12,177 open cases. By putting correspondence in writing, this allows your investigator to fully investigate your inquiry and respond appropriately. This has been found to be the most effective and efficient way to help the greatest number of people. Written correspondence is also necessary for documentation purposes.
Where can I send my payment by check or money order?
Send payments to:
Michigan State Disbursement Unit (MiSDU)
P.O. Box 30351
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7851
Please ensure to include your social security number or case number and name on the payment.
- Can I make a cash payment or pay by credit card?
Why do payments I make through the phone system or online not post to my account right away?
If a payment is made, for example, on Monday, MiSDU receives the payment within 48 hours.
A payment initiated on Monday would be received on Wednesday. It would post to your account and disburse on Thursday.
Typically, payments are disbursed on the third day after payment is made. However, if a payment is made on Friday, or the weekend, payment will not begin processing until the following Monday. The weekend interrupts transmission because banks do not process payments on Saturday and Sunday.
How does a child support case get started?
If you are on public assistance your Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) worker can assist you with filling out the proper forms to assist you with establishing paternity and/or starting a child support case.
If you do not have a DHHS caseworker, you can apply for child support services online. If you are having difficulties applying online you may contact the Friend of the Court office to obtain a paper form you can complete and submit to start a case.
How will I receive my child support?
Child support is required to be electronically disbursed. This means that support payments will no longer be sent to customers in the form of a check. Instead, customers must have support deposited directly into a bank account or put onto a US Bank ReliaCard Visa debit card. The customer may choose either option. The MiSDU handles all inquiries regarding direct deposit. US Bank (866-276-5114) handles all inquiries regarding the ReliaCard.
How do I get my support increased or decreased?
You will need to file a motion regarding support. Motion forms are available at the main Friend of the Court office located at 414 Washington Avenue - Room 225 in Grand Haven. Forms are also available at the Holland office located at 85 W 8th St in Holland on Mondays from 8:00am – noon and from 1:00pm – 4:30pm. Many forms, including motions regarding support or parenting time, are available on our website.
If both parents agree to a support modification and are not receiving public assistance, you may contact your caseworker in writing to request that a stipulation and order be drafted reflecting the agreed upon amount.
Where's my money? I haven't received a payment in a while.
The automated IVR or MiCase website can provide you with the last payment and account balance information.
My housing agency is requesting verification of how much child support I receive each month.
Where can the agency get that information?
The Friend of the Court office cannot provide information directly to the housing agency because Michigan Court Rules state that case specific information may only be released to a party or their attorney. However, this type of information is available on the MiCase website. We invite you to sign up for MiCase at https://micase.state.mi.us/micase. Once you receive your password, you will be able to access this and other information regarding your case on a 24-hour basis and can provide it to the housing agency.
I'm not getting my parenting time, what can I do?
If parenting time is specified in your court order (for example: "alternating weekends" or "Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.") and the provision in your court order is not being followed, you may file a parenting time complaint. A complaint form is available in our office, on our web site or may be requested through the automated IVR.
If your court order does not identify specific parenting times and you wish to have the parenting time provision of your order modified to include specific days/times/holidays, you will need to file a motion to modify parenting time. This form is also available in our office, on our web site or through the automated IVR. For general parenting time provisions, please refer to the Friend of the Court parenting time policy available on this website.
What is the procedure to ask the court to review our custody order?
Review an explanation of the Custody Assessment Procedures of the Ottawa County Friend of the Court.
How can I get the other party scheduled for court?
If it has been over 45 days since your last child support payment and the balance owed is over $500, you may request that your caseworker schedule a show cause hearing. You may also check to see if a show cause hearing has already been scheduled through the automated IVR.
I'd like to file for change of custody. Can you mail that paperwork to me?
Due to the in-depth nature of the custody assessment procedure, this paperwork is not typically mailed out. You will need to schedule an appointment with your caseworker to discuss the custody assessment process.
I want to have custody changed immediately due to emergency circumstances. Can the Friend of the Court help me?
No. If there are emergency circumstances (for example, you believe the child is at immediate risk of harm while in the care of the other parent) you need to contact your local law enforcement agency or Ottawa County Child Protective Services at (616) 394-7200.
The other party in my case does not ever exercise parenting time with the kids or pay support. I want his/her rights terminated. How can I do that?
Under certain circumstances parental rights may be terminated through adoption or abuse/neglect proceedings. You may contact the Family Court Clerks for additional information at (616) 786-4108.
The Friend of the Court office does not petition the court to terminate parental rights.
A civil bench warrant has been issued for my arrest due to non-payment of support, what do I do now?
Please come into the Friend of the Court office immediately to resolve the bench warrant and avoid further enforcement action. Expect to make some kind of cash payment on the outstanding support arrearage and to provide employment and address information.
A felony warrant has been issued for my arrest due to non-payment of support, what do I do now?
A felony warrant results from a criminal case that has been issued by the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office or Michigan Attorney General's Office. If this has happened then the Friend of the Court office cannot resolve the warrant and you must contact the Prosecutor's office at (616) 846-8215 or Michigan Attorney General's Child Support Division at (517)373-1111. You will need to know which agency issued the warrant in order to know who to contact.
My parenting time order refers to travel in accordance with the Hague Convention. Which countries are partners to that Convention?
View the complete list of countries that are partners to the Hague Convention.