Are There Any Requirements that Need to be Met Before Filing for Divorce in Michigan?
As you may or may not know, Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. This means you don’t necessarily have to cite a reason for seeking divorce. You don’t have to prove infidelity, abuse, or other extenuating circumstances that might cause you to dissolve your marriage. Either party (or both) may simply decide that they no longer wish to be legally married.
In short, simple irreconcilable differences or a loss of love are reason enough, although legally, the standard is that at least one spouse must testify that “there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship”, such that there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation or preservation of the marriage.
That said, you can’t just file divorce papers. There aren’t many requirements for filing for divorce in Michigan, but there are a couple of important criteria you need to be aware of.
One of You Must be a Resident
The only real requirement for filing for divorce in Michigan is that at least one party must be considered a resident of the state. You can’t just move to Michigan and immediately file for divorce.
The law requires that one spouse must live in Michigan for a minimum of six months (180 days) before either party can legally file for divorce in the state. In addition, at least one party must reside in the county where the divorce petition is filed for no less than 10 days prior to filing.
It is not required that both parties meet the residence requirements in order to file for divorce in Michigan. Further, either party can file so long as at least one spouse meets the requirements, meaning that a spouse not residing in Michigan can still file for divorce in the state, so long as the other spouse meets the residency requirements.
The only exception to the 10-day rule is if the non-filing spouse was born in or is a citizen of another country, and if there’s a risk that a minor child or children could be taken by the non-filing spouse to another country.
Children Can Extend the Process
Having shared children typically will not affect your ability to file for divorce, but it could affect how long the process will take to complete. Any time minor children are involved, there is a mandatory 6-month (180 day) waiting period before the divorce can be finalized, starting on the date the petition for divorce is filed.
A spouse may file a motion requesting that the waiting period be shortened if it would cause undue hardship to him/herself of minor children, or for other compelling reasons. Even if the judge agrees to shorten the waiting period, it can be no less than 60 days from the date the petition for divorce is filed.
Other Options for Separation
If you’re not sure divorce is the right choice for you, there are other options to explore, including annulment and separate maintenance (legal separation). It’s best to understand all of your options in order to choose the path that best suits your needs and preferences.
If you feel your marriage is over and you need help determining how best to separate from your spouse, contact the experienced attorneys at The Gucciardo Law Firm at 248-723-5190 or online to schedule a free consultation.
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