Frequently Asked Questions About Michigan Divorce
Divorce often comes with uncertainty for those involved. They may wonder how to approach the process. They may wonder how to protect their financial health or their family’s well-being. People approaching the divorce process deserve to have answers during this difficult time.
At Jackman & Kasody PLLC, we help clients throughout Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties make informed decisions about the divorce process. With more than 60 years of combined experience, we address common questions for our clients as well as provide answers about their unique situations and goals.
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 the 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 end 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 filed for at least 10 days immediately before you filed 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.
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.
What’s the difference between a divorce and an annulment?
In Michigan, both annulment and divorce can end a marriage. However, they are two different processes:
- Annulment: The person seeking an annulment must prove that the marriage was invalid from the start. If they successfully get an annulment, it is as if the marriage legally never existed.
- Divorce: There is no burden of proof; the court simply acknowledges that the marriage did not work out and dissolves it. To get a divorce, you must have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days prior to filing.
If your marriage involved bigamy, fraud, failure to consummate or one of the spouses being underage, you can seek an annulment. Otherwise, your best option is likely to be divorce.
What happens to a business in a divorce?
There are several ways to approach the handling of a business in a divorce. Options can include:
- Business is divided between both spouses.
- One spouse buys out the other spouse’s share.
- One spouse keeps the business and gives the other spouse an equitable amount of money or assets.
- Spouses continue owning or operating the business jointly.
- Spouses sell the business and split the profits.
The method you choose depends entirely on your finances and what you want to happen to the company.
More Questions? Divorce And Family Law Is All We Do.
It is our goal at Jackman & Kasody PLLC to fight to protect your future. Let our knowledge and experience work for you! Call us today at 248-220-6963 or email us to arrange a consultation at our offices in Bingham Farms or Northville.