The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault States.
Michigan is a “no fault” divorce state, which means the courts don’t require a person to prove that their spouse’s “bad acts” or bad behavior was the cause of the divorce. (In contrast, in states where “fault” is allowed as a ground, people cite issues such as cheating/adultery, abandonment, substance abuse, etc.) In Michigan, you do not need to allege any of those “faults” or issues in order to file for divorce.
On average, no fault divorces resolves faster than fault-based divorces in other states. This is because neither party has to prove who is responsible for the divorce and dissolution of the marriage. A benefit to being in a no-fault state is that you do not have to have your spouse’s consent or agreement to end the marriage – you can file for divorce on your own and you can be the only party that wants it. Your spouse’s objection to the divorce or desire to stay married is not going to prevent the court from ultimately granting the divorce at the end of your case.
Without Fault, What do Courts Allow for Grounds?
The Michigan courts will find grounds (“a good reason”) to grant a divorce when one party asserts that there has been “a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.” That language is specific to the Michigan statutes. In essence, it means that the spouses aren’t getting along and likely will not be able to repair the relationship.
Making this assertion will give you grounds for filing for a divorce and will be something you will state in your divorce complaint. If you are ready to talk to an attorney about taking this step, or just want to talk through the initial process to start a divorce case, call one of our attorneys to set up a consultation.