Divorced parents, moms and dads included, have spoken out as to the ways they have been treated by the FOC conciliators and staff. Parents have been told to "shut up", silenced with a "that's very annoying", ignored, and their words completely disregarded during conciliations and mediations.
Whenever I have the unfortunate and very frustrating necessity of having to deal with my local FOC office staff, I have always taken written correspondence directly to them, instead of mailing it. They had always been courteous enough to "date stamp" and then make a copy for me of all that correspondence. If more than a page, I had always made a copy for them, so both could be date stamped; one for them, and one for me. This involved no expense for them, only a few minutes of time.
A few weeks ago, that changed. They had a notice up that copies would now cost 25 cents. Now, the first time, as I had but one page and no copy, I paid them the quarter, and fine with that.
The next couple of times, I took a copy, and they still date stamped both-one for them and one for me. It is a mandatory precaution to make absolutely sure that they date stamp and "accept" your correspondence into their office, and that you have a copy for your records. That way, you know for sure that nothing will "come up missing" at a later time, or is disregarded.
Now, the last two times, with the regular receptionist at the front window, I have taken my two copies, but they refuse to date stamp the one I keep for my records. I firmly stood on the principle of the matter-I already have paid them for this service.
They refuse to do so, because I refuse to pay them the quarter for a copy, instead of using the copy I have brought, at my own expense.
Their receptionist told me, when I requested that she simply take my one-page, three-paragraph letter and hold both copies together, and hold them up to a window or a light to verify that both were the same, "NO. I WON'T DO IT."
She was mortified and concerned that the copies were not the same. I assured her that if I were going to write more grievances against them, I had more than enough facts to do so, without stooping to the level of trickery and fraud she indicated.
Now, if I had taken a multiple-page document in there, I could understand why she could say that she did not have the time to proof-read it, and accept it into the office. But a ONE-PAGE, THREE-PARAGRAPH letter?
They just want more money out of the pockets of their forcibly recruited "clients"!!
As former FOC enforcement officer Carol Rhodes has written and spoken about, only the money counts with the FOC.
Since the taxpayers of Michigan pay their salary, and the non-custodial parents pay several times more than that in fees and all else, is their time not at our disposal? After all, we are their "clients", albeit forcibly inducted into the system.
Her attitude left a lot to be desired-very rude, and extremely confrontational. Employees in private-sector customer-service positions get fired for less than that. But, she won't. I requested she speak with the head of the local FOC office on this matter, which she did, with a very nasty attitude. She returned, and said, quite haughtily, that she was right for "not accepting and date stamping the copy I had brought".
They did not care about the necessary written correspondence I had for them-they just wanted more of my money. The content of the letter was of no concern to the receptionist, or apparently to the FOC administrator.
It's no wonder that our Family Law Court System wants nothing to do with Equal Parenting. Passage of House Bill 4564, The Equal Parenting Bill would eliminate a lot of the cushy FOC jobs, and reduce the caseload for the courts. A lot of them would lose their current standard of living, and have to find a new job. They do care about that. They DON'T care when a non-custodial parent becomes unemployed or gets downsized!
I'm sure that many, many more of you have a FOC "horror story" to tell. Please do-to your local newspaper, your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone else who will listen to you.
A Father Of Two.
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