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19th Judicial Circuit Court

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S.M.I.L.E. – Start Making It Livable for Everyone(A.K.A. Helping Children Cope)

            Start Making It Livable for Everyone is an education program for separating and/or divorcing parents with minor children.  The video addresses developmental issues, creating a conflict free zone by understanding the do’s and don’ts of co-parenting.  It also addresses positive communication when conflict exists.  It takes time, energy and a plan to get your family through this process.  The program helps parents identify issues and how to resolve those issues keeping the best interests of your child in focus.  

The S.M.I.L.E. handbook will be available on this Web Page.

           Your participation in this program is REQUIRED pursuant to a court order.    You can attend in person or complete the on-line program.  Program dates for the in-person participation are set forth below. To complete the on-line program, you must watch the S.M.I.L.E. video posted below, and complete and submit a Certificate of Completion(also available below) to the Friend of the Court office. 


A link to the Helping Children Cope Certificate of Completion Form is available by clicking here: Helping Children Cope Completion Form


2018 Helping Children Cope Program Dates:      

April 2nd                     Manistee County
May 7th                        Benzie County
June 4th                      Manistee County
July 2nd                       Benzie County
August 6th                 Manistee County
September 10th     Benzie County
October 1st                Manistee County
November 5th         Benzie County
December 3rd         Manistee County

All dates begin at 3:00 p.m. You must call your local F.O.C. office to register for the program as there is limited space in each session.


The parties are ordered to meet with the Friend of the Court caseworker to discuss Custody, parenting time and child support matters.  If the parties reach an agreement on anything regarding Custody, Support and Parenting time, the agreement will be reduced to a Temporary Order of the Court.   Those matters that the parties could not agree to will be scheduled before the Circuit Court Referee for a hearing and Recommendation to establish a temporary Order.

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