A: Yes. If you and the other party during your divorce or custody dispute, or after the judgment is entered, feel that Friend of the Court services are not necessary, you may choose to opt out. You will both need to agree before the court will allow you to opt out of Friend of the Court services. If you and the other party are in agreement, all you need to do is submit a form entitled "Advice of Rights Regarding Use of Friend of the Court Services" and a proposed order exempting the case from services. Most counties have the forms and instructions online to opt out. If you go to the office of the Friend of the Court, you can fill the forms out there, but you must have the other party sign before the forms are submitted.
Certain cases cannot to be exempted from Friend of the Court services. If there is domestic violence, or if the children are receiving any kind of public assistance, such as food stamps or Medicaid, the case must proceed through the Friend of the Court. If you have questions concerning procedure for opting out in your county, contact your Friend of the Court worker.
For more information about Friend of the Court Coordination Conferences, click here.
© 2020 Thomas C. Kates, Attorney and Mediator