Common Questions You Might Have when Considering the Option of Divorce in Michigan
Divorce is a big decision, and one that you don’t want to take lightly. If you’re considering divorce in Michigan, here are a few common questions you may need answered first.
Is Divorce My Only Option?
Many couples that decide to separate may not yet feel ready to completely call it quits, or they may have other reasons for wanting to stay legally married, such as maintaining insurance coverage or upholding religious beliefs, for example. If you’re not sure divorce is right for you, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s not your only option for separation in the state of Michigan.
Separate maintenance, more commonly referred to as legal separation, is an alternative to divorce in Michigan that allows couples to legally separate, but remain married. This process could include dividing assets, determining child custody and parenting time, and assigning spousal and child support payments, just as with a divorce, effectively separating two spouses in all but name without legally terminating the marriage.
Annulment, whereby the marriage is legally nullified, as if it never happened, is also possible, but only under very specific circumstances, including:
– Spouses are close relatives
– Insufficient age to legally marry (one or both parties)
– Marriage took place under duress or false pretenses
What is No-Fault Divorce?
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, which means parties seeking divorce need not have a reason. The only requirement to file for divorce is 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”.
What are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Michigan?
You or your spouse must live in the state of Michigan for at least 180 days prior to filing for divorce, and at least 10 days in the county in which you file for divorce.
How Long Does a Michigan Divorce Take?
A divorce could take as little as 60 days to finalize from the date you file, but there are a few things that could lengthen the process. For example, divorces involving shared minor children entail a mandatory waiting period of six months. You could also get held up if the process isn’t amicable. While no-fault divorce means that the filing cannot be contested, one or both spouses could hold up the process if they fail to come to an agreement.
Do I Have to Go to Court?
Yes, you will have to go to court at least once so a judge can speak with you and your spouse to determine that the marriage cannot be preserved and enter a Judgment of Divorce. Many couples are able to determine the details of their divorce with the help of a mediator, but if there is contention, you may have to go to court more than once.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Not every couple needs lawyers to complete a divorce. If you and your spouse are divorcing amicably and there are no children or complex legal issues involved, you may be able to file the paperwork and complete your divorce without an attorney. However, many people find that they do need an attorney for legal guidance and support.
If you’re not sure how to proceed with your divorce filing or you need legal help, contact the qualified lawyers at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 or online to learn more.
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