As director of the administration of the court, a chief judge has the administrative authority and responsibility to supervise court finances, including financial planning, the preparation and presentation of budgets, and financial reporting. This includes the management responsibility to ensure that an adequate accounting and internal control system is in operation to safeguard all court receipts and disbursements, the details of which are developed, implemented, and administered by the court administrator, and where appropriate, friend of the court and county clerk. To aid with this management responsibility, the State Court Administrative Office has issued financial management guidelines to be followed in the collection, disbursement, and control of court funds. These same guidelines are used by the auditors of the Michigan Supreme Court during audits of the trial courts' financial operations.
Audit of Trial Court Financial Operations
It is recommended that court revenues, expenditures, and all funds maintained by the court be audited on an annual basis. The auditors within the Michigan Supreme Court periodically perform court audits, but an audit of all courts within Michigan on an annual basis is not possible due to the limited audit staff. The auditors also periodically perform one-day internal control and accounting system reviews at trial courts.
It is recommended that the chief judge communicate the need for an annual audit of all the court's revenue and expenditure accounts, including the trust and depository accounts. Funds for performing these audits should be included within the court's operational budget request, and a written request should be sent to the local unit governing body requesting an audit.
If you would like further information regarding a court audit, contact your SCAO regional administrator.
Additional Funding Sources
Aside from the funding by the court's local funding unit, funds for trial court operations are available from the Court Equity Fund, the Drug Case Information Management Fund , the Drunk Driving Caseflow Assistance Fund , and the Juror Compensation Reimbursement Fund. Funds are also available from a variety of grant programs. For additional information on these sources, see Section 6 of the Michigan Court Administration Reference Guide
Required Local Administrative Orders
Charging for Friend of the Court Investigation Expenses
Effective January 8, 2010, MCL 552.505(3) was amended to permit friend of the court offices to charge parties an amount for the expense of conducting a custody or parenting time investigation, when a party requests one, pursuant to standards issued by the State Court Administrative Office. SCAO Administrative Memorandum 2010-05 establishes the standards for charging a party for the friend of the court's expense of conducting an investigation ordered under MCL 552.505(1)(g). Given statewide variation in the amount expensed to conduct an investigation and differences in local practices, each circuit that decides to charge for these expenses must first enter a local administrative order to establish local procedures. Model provided.
Implementing Surcharge Provisions
The purpose of this order is to implement the way surcharges are imposed on past due child support. Model provided.
Installment Payment of Lump Sum Support Obligations
The purpose of this order is to clarify circuit court orders for the installment payment of lump sum support obligations. This administrative order shall not prohibit a party or the friend of the court from seeking modification of the payment arrangements in an order. Model provided.