Where Do I File For Divorce?
The circuit courts handle all divorce cases in Michigan. There are certain “residency requirements” regarding the county circuit court in which you can file for a divorce. If you want to file for a divorce in Michigan, one of the parties must have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days, and one of the parties must have lived in the county where the case will be filed for at least 10 days before filing.
What Is ‘No-Fault’ Divorce?
In Michigan, all divorce actions are considered “No-Fault” divorce. This means that a divorce will be granted even if one of the parties does not want the divorce. The person who files the divorce action is called the plaintiff, and their spouse is called the defendant.
An “uncontested divorce” refers to a situation where one spouse files for divorce and the other spouse does not “contest” or answer the divorce complaint.
Is There A ‘Waiting Period’ Before A Divorce Becomes Final?
If there are no children under the age of 18, there is a 60-day waiting period before a divorce can be granted in Michigan. With minor children, the waiting period is six months. However, this waiting period may be waived by the judge. Divorces can take much longer than this if one or both parties cannot agree on custody or support and/or the division of property.
How Does The Divorce Process Work?
There are many steps involved in obtaining a divorce in Michigan: a complaint must be filed at the circuit court, filing fees must be paid (the filing fee is more if there are children of the marriage who are under the age of 18), a summons must be issued, the parties must be “served” properly, hearings must be scheduled and noticed, answers must be filed, and hearings must be attended. The end result of the case will be entry of a judgment of divorce.
If there are minor children, the divorce judgment will also specify child custody, support and parenting time. In Michigan, the “Friend of the Court” is the office of the court that makes evaluations and recommendations regarding child support, custody and parenting time. (These issues are covered in the other articles on our website.)
Because there are many complicated steps involved in obtaining a divorce, it is in your best interest to be represented by a highly experienced family law attorney. The best way to ensure that you will obtain the property division, spousal support, child support, custody and visitation arrangement that you deserve, is to hire a skilled divorce lawyer to fight for your rights.
How Do I Obtain A Divorce Lawyer?
Many people wrongly assume that a lawyer will be appointed for them if they cannot afford one. This is untrue. In Michigan, the court only “appoints” lawyers in certain criminal cases. If you cannot afford an attorney for your divorce, there are a small number of “free legal aid clinics” that accept a limited number of divorce cases — however, these “clinics” general have a very long waiting list and are primarily staffed by inexperienced students with very little courtroom experience. Also, you must be below the poverty level to qualify for free legal aid services.
If you have a home or property to protect, or if you have spousal support and/or child support to pay or to collect, it is important that you hire a knowledgeable and experienced divorce lawyer to fight for your rights so that you get you what you deserve. Ideally, you should hire a team of lawyers who handle only family law and related matters. They will be the most skilled and experienced in fighting for your rights and obtaining the results you deserve.
Remember: The decisions made in your judgment of divorce will affect you financially for the rest of your life. Without a good divorce attorney, you may not be able to collect the full amount of child support (or spousal support) to which you are entitled. Or, you may end up paying an unreasonable amount of support. You could also lose your “fair share” of the home you own — or you might lose your share of your spouse’s pension, retirement plan or $401K! As you can see, hiring a good attorney can make a difference in thousands of dollars in what you eventually receive.
Our attorneys are among Michigan’s most highly respected family law practitioners. We combine tremendous energy and vast experience to bring about effective results for our clients with the utmost care and compassion. We have the drive and the experience necessary to achieve the best results for our clients.
We understand that ending your marriage is a life-altering decision. Determining custody or support and dividing property can seem overwhelming, but the legal steps you take now will affect your life for years to come. We have the ability to successfully help our clients achieve the best possible results and move positively through the divorce experience.
Call Us. We Care. We Can Help.
Whether you are just considering a possible divorce, or you have issues resulting from past proceedings, we will be at your side every step of the way. If you are in Oakland, Macomb or Wayne County, call us today to discuss how we can help you through this.