Sometimes, people believe that to get a divorce, one has to have a reason, or prove something, like the other spouse cheated or committed some wrong. However, our state is what is known as a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that if a spouse wants a divorce, they do not have to “prove” anything, like cruelty, infidelity, fraud, etc. This also means that both spouses do not have to agree to divorce. It can be unilateral, and even if one did a bad act, they too can ask for a divorce. A couple does not even need to have lived apart for a certain period of time prior to asking for a divorce.
What does one have to show for a divorce?
One simply needs to testify 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.” In other words, there has been some real, permanent and serious breakdown in the marriage that makes it impossible or highly unlikely the couple can work the issue out.
Do bad acts effect the divorce?
Yes. While one does not have to prove the other spouse is at fault or committed a bad act to get a divorce, each spouses behavior can have an affect on the divorce itself. The judge uses these bad acts when deciding on alimony (spousal support) and dividing property.
Do both spouses need to be Michigan residents?
No. Only one spouse needs to be a resident of Michigan, which means living in the state for at least six months before the divorce filing. And, the divorce must be filed in the circuit court that is in the county were the Michigan resident spouse resides for at least 10 days before filing.
Does one need a lawyer?
It depends. Even if a couple has very little assets and agrees on the divorce and terms, it is always a good idea to consult an attorney to make sure any agreement is legally enforceable. However, for high asset divorces, a lawyer for each spouse is critical for Birmingham, Michigan, couples. This is because high asset divorces, simply because of the amount of assets, are complicated that require multiple experts. An attorney can help coordinate those experts and fight for one’s appropriate share of the marital assets.