Facilitative and Information Gathering Conference
The Facilitative and Information Gathering Conference (FIGC) is a court resource created with the goal of providing parents with a temporary Order regarding issues of custody, parenting time, and child support. An FIGC may be requested by either party or ordered by the Court.
If requesting an FICG, please use these forms:
These forms are filed at the Livingston County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office with transmittal to the Friend of the Court Office for scheduling.
Upon receipt of the request for an FICG and the 1201-D form, the parties and/or attorneys are notified of a date to appear.
Please note that there must be proof of service filed with the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office of the initial complaint for divorce or other domestic relations action prior to an EIC being scheduled.
Generally, once a request for an FIGC is received, along with a completed 1201-D form and there is a proof of service on file at the Clerk’s Office, an FIGC will be scheduled within two weeks. The FIGC is conducted by a conciliator, who is an attorney trained in the conciliation process. Prior to the FIGC, the conciliator will send the parties and/or attorneys a letter which includes a financial statement and a domestic violence screening form which must be filled out prior to the FIGC conference. These forms can be viewed here:
Parents are asked to bring in the following documents for the FIGC:
- Picture of their child(ren)
- Income information (pay stubs and income tax information) including insurance and day care costs
- Information regarding other children they may have. The FIGC is not mediation and the information discussed is not considered confidential.
The FIGC is conducted in a conference room at the Friend of the Court. Both attorneys can be present with the parties. If both parties have attorneys, the conciliator will meet with the attorneys first. If there is only one attorney or neither party has an attorney, then the conference begins upon all parties being present. If there is a Personal Protection Order (PPO) or other type of no contact order, then the interviews are conducted separately. When there are attorneys, both attorneys are present for each interview.
The FIGC consists of the parties and/or their attorneys sitting together in an effort to come to a consensus. The focus of the meeting is to discuss how parenting time for each parent should be conducted during the separation and/or divorce process. The goal is to encourage parents to work together for the sake of their child(ren) and to make parenting time arrangements that are in the best interests of their child(ren). Parties discuss their concerns and their schedules. They talk about the goals for their child(ren). In this non-confrontational atmosphere, the parties are encouraged to develop a schedule which meets their needs and those of their child(ren). The conciliator may make suggestions in order to facilitate the parties’ agreement. These suggestions are based on developmentally age appropriate parenting time guidelines.
When a temporary child support order is requested, the number of overnights that the child(ren) spend with each party and the earnings of each party are evaluated. The Michigan Child Support Guidelines are used to assist with setting a child support amount. If there is a request, the parties may return for a second conciliation. Conference calls with attorneys are also conducted if necessary.
Upon the conclusion of the FIGC, the conciliator will prepare a report and recommended Order regarding the issues discussed. Generally, this would be a temporary Order for custody, parenting time, and child support. Often, the parties and/or their attorneys agree and this becomes a Consent Order. If the parties and/or their attorneys do not agree, then the conciliator sends copies of the report and recommended Order to the parties and/or attorneys and also to the assigned judge. The judge reviews the report and proposed Order and, if in agreement, will sign the Order. The Order takes effect immediately, although the parties and/or their attorneys will have 21 days from which to file an objection. The objection hearing will be heard before a domestic relations referee or a judge.
Overall, the FIGC process can be a useful resource for parents in establishing temporary Orders that are based upon the best interests of their child(ren).