What should I know about getting a divorce in Michigan?

What should I know about getting a divorce in Michigan?

First and foremost, it is important to remember that divorce happens, and Michigan is a no-fault state. A no-fault divorce means that the party filing for divorce does not have to prove any kind of fault and can seek a divorce for whatever reason. However, Michigan does have a residency requirement.

In order to file for a divorce in Michigan, at least one of the parties involved in the divorce must have lived in the state for at least six months. Once the residency requirement is satisfied, divorce papers can be filed in the county where one lives or in the county where the soon to be ex-spouse lives. When a divorce will be finalized will depend on the issues that arise during the divorce proceeding.

For couples with minor children, the issues can get complex and range from child custody, child support to property division and parenting time disputes. For couples who do not have children, the issues of child custody and support will not need to be addressed, but asset and property division might be at issue. In some cases, the issue of alimony may be a topic of discussion.

The party filing for divorce has to file a summons and complaint and have it served on the other party. Once divorce papers have been served, the other party has an opportunity to file an answer. In the answer, one can note the points to which one agrees and disagrees. If the other party agrees to all the terms in the summons and complaint, then the divorce is uncontested. If, however, the other party disagrees with any of items in the divorce papers, then the divorce is contested.

Finally, a divorce can be finalized in one of the following ways: by default judgment because the other did not file an answer, by judgment where the parties negotiate the terms together, through the use of a mediator who helps the parties reach some sort of agreement or by a trial wherein the judge makes the final decision on the terms of the divorce because the parties are unable to reach a resolution.

Source: Michigan Legal Help, “Introduction to Divorce with Minor Children,” Accessed April 20, 2015

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