Friend of the Court
David Oostdyk, Referee
301 W.  Upton
Reed  City, MI  49677
Tel: (231) 832-6131
Fax: (231) 832-6158

SMILE Program

What is SMILE?
It is an educational program for divorced/separated parents with minor children.  It provides information to help parents better the effects of divorce/separation.  It assists parents to understand the needs of their children.  It helps parents learn what they can do to create a nurturing environment so their children can cope with the divorce/separation and feel good about themselves.  It provides information to prevent destructive game playing that is very common among divorced/separated couples and their children.  It helps parents gain problem solving skills.  It lets parents know they are not alone. 

The SMILE Program also allows parents an opportunity to learn the functions of the Friend of the Court.  It provides information regarding custody, parenting time and child support.  Come find out the answers to these questions, and more…  

  • Is there a certain age in Michigan when a child gets to decide where he/she wants to live? 

  • If we share the child equally, isn’t it true that no one will have to pay child support?  

  • If we each have a child living with us, wouldn’t that mean that neither of us would pay support?  

  • Can I sign off my parental rights?  

  • Do I still have to pay support if I’m not seeing my child?  

  • Can I request to find out how my child support money I pay is being spent?  

  • Will my support go down when I'm unemployed?  

  • Do I still have to send the child if the other parent is not paying child support?  

  • Can I can make support payments directly to my ex?  

  • Why does FOC have a case for us if we’re together?  What happens if we get married?  

  • What do I do if my ex isn't paying support?  

  • When do kids decide if they will go on parenting time?  

  • What things can I control when the children spend time with the other parent?  

  • What happens if we’ve worked everything out on our own?  

  • Does my ex have to take our child to extracurricular activities?  

  • What do I do if my ex refuses to send the children?  

  • Can both parents take the child to the doctor?

Why is SMILE important?
Separation and divorce is a process over which children have no control.  Children should not be its victims.  When parents are  under stress, it is harder to be in touch with their children’s pain and anguish.  It takes time, effort and planning on the part of the parents to provide for the children’s needs.  In the crisis of divorce/separation, parents may put the children on hold while they attend to adult problems first.  Sometimes divorced/separated parents find their roles and expectations are undefined and cloudy.  If handled properly, divorce/separation need not be devastating for children.