How the Friend of Court Office becomes involved:

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The Friend of the Court Office is the collection, enforcement and investigative arm of the Trial Court in the area of domestic relations. The actions by the office are dictated by court order. The court issues orders after the Judge and/or Referee have made a determination and the written document is signed, then filed with the county clerk. To obtain a domestic relation order from the Court, the issue has to be brought before the Court through formal legal action. Every domestic relation matter begins with the plaintiff filing a complaint or petition, which asks the court to grant an order. For example, a complaint may ask the court to grant a divorce, provide for child or spousal support, start an out-of-state support collection effort, or grant an order for custody of a child. The defendant is the person whom the complaint is filed against. The complaint is filed either by a private attorney, the prosecuting attorney or by one of the parties. The Friend of the Court Office does not become involved until an action has been filed with the Court.

The jurisdiction of the Court over the parties and the children involved in divorce, custody, support and parenting time actions starts as soon as a case is filed. It may continue long after a judgment is granted. Each party has many responsibilities and duties in a domestic relations case. The first duty and responsibility is to obey the Orders issued by the Court.