Parties are not required to use the services of the Friend of the Court. Parties may file a motion to “Opt Out” of the Friend of the Court. Opting out of the Friend of the Court does not eliminate the obligation to pay support. The obligation is simply not paid or enforced through the Friend of the Court. Parties may elect in initial pleadings to opt out of the Friend of the Court. The court must find the following:
- There is no evidence of domestic violence or unequal bargaining position between the parties.
- Granting the parties the relief they have requested would not be against the best interests of any child in the case.
- The parties have filed executed copies of a form advising them of the services they will not receive if their motion is granted.
- Neither party received public assistance for a child during the life of the case.
- No money is due the state because of past public assistance for a child in the case.
- No arrearage or custody or parenting time order violation has occurred in the last 12 months in the case.
- Neither party has reopened a Friend of the Court case in the last 12 months.
The Advice of Rights form and Order Exempting Case from Friend of the Court services is available at the Friend of the Court office. If parties have opted out of the Friend of the Court, either party may request reinstatement of the order through the Friend of the Court Office. If a case is reopened after opting back in, the case must remain with the Friend of the Court for one year. If a full TANF grant or Medicaid is received on behalf of a minor child of the case, the case will automatically be reopened in the Friend of the Court.