Frequently Asked Questions About Michigan Divorce
What are the grounds for divorce in Michigan?
A Michigan court has the power to terminate the relationship between the parties regardless of who did what to whom since Michigan is a “no-fault” state. However, the court may consider fault in determining division of marital property, child custody and spousal support.
Is it better to be the first to file and why?
It depends on the circumstances; however, it is generally better to be on the giving rather than the receiving end of a petition for divorce. Also, when you are the filing party, you have the ability to set some guidelines regarding custody, parenting time, payment of support, as well as payment of marital bills.
How do I start a divorce?
In Michigan, it is necessary to file a Complaint for Divorce with the circuit court of the county where you or your spouse resides. However, either you or your spouse must have resided in the county where you file for at least 10 days immediately before you file in the county. Also, either you or your spouse must have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days immediately before you file. If you are served with a divorce complaint, you must file an answer within 21 days. If you fail to file an answer within 21 days, you may be precluded from participating in your own divorce because a default can be entered against you.
How long does it take to get divorced?
In Michigan, it takes a minimum of 60 days to get divorced or legally separated. If there are minor children, however, the waiting period is six months. This six-month waiting period may be waived by the judge in cases where “unusual hardship or compelling necessity” can be established. However, in no case can the waiting period be shortened to less than 60 days.
Do courts still award alimony?
Yes; however, it depends on the circumstances and the facts of the case. Many factors will be considered by a court in determining a spousal support award, including the age of the parties, length of the marriage, health, needs, ability to work, and the past relations and conduct of the parties, among others.
How is child custody determined?
The court will look at the best interest of the minor child(ren) and utilize the Child Custody Statute when determining what custodial arrangement would be best for the child(ren).
How is child support determined?
The Michigan Child Support Formula is, under almost all circumstances, required to be utilized to determine child support. The formula is based on the custodial parent’s net income and the noncustodial parent’s income taking into consideration expenses such as health insurance premiums and child care as well as the number of overnights each parent exercises with the child(ren).
What will it cost me to get divorced?
Most family law attorneys charge by the hour and will take a retainer at the commencement of the case. Each case is different, and it generally depends on the complexity of the case and how much court time is expected to be spent.
How is marital property divided in a divorce?
In Michigan, assets and debts acquired during your marriage are called “marital property” and will be divided “equitably” when you divorce. Property either spouse had before the marriage is called “separate property” and is generally not subject to division in a divorce. “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal”; instead, it means the court may distribute the marital property in a manner that is fair under the circumstances. It is important to collect all the information you can about all your property, including when you acquired it, the current value, the amount of any encumbrances and details such as account numbers, and so forth.
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