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Understanding Michigan Divorce Laws

If you are considering filing for divorce in Michigan, you must ensure you meet all the requirements. First of all, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for a minimum of 180 days or six months. You must also file in a circuit court in the county in which you reside. For example, if live in Metro Detroit and want to initiate the divorce process in Oakland County, you or your spouse must have resided in the county for at least 10 days prior to the filing. If you do not meet these requirements, your case will not be accepted; or if it is accepted by mistake, it will eventually be dismissed.

The Michigan Divorce Process

Michigan is a pure “no-fault” divorce state. This means that no wrongdoing on the part of your spouse can be alleged as grounds for the divorce. The cause of all divorces in Michigan is deemed to be irreconcilable differences that caused the marriage to fail.

The divorce process in Michigan is largely dependent on whether it is contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which there are major disputes between the spouses. Examples include:

  • One of the spouses is abusive;
  • One of the spouses does not want to end the marriage;
  • The parties strongly disagree on child custody;
  • The parties strongly disagree on payment of child support;
  • The parties strongly disagree on spousal support;
  • The parties strongly disagree on property division;
  • One spouse has reason to believe the other is hiding assets;
  • The parties strongly disagree on any other major issue.

If any of the above points apply to your situation, your divorce will be contested. If, on the other hand, you and your spouse agree on all the major points, you can significantly reduce the time and cost of getting a divorce in Michigan by opting for an uncontested divorce (link to new uncontested divorce landing page).

Questions about the divorce laws in Michigan?

Contact one of our attorneys so we can help you understand the process and answer any questions you may have.

If the divorce is contested, a complaint can be filed in a circuit court that has jurisdiction. In some cases, more than one court may be able to take the case. For example, if both spouses live in Metro Detroit, but one lives in Oakland County and the other lives in Wayne County, the complaint can be filed in either county, and the court which receives it first would hear the case.

Michigan Child Custody Laws

During a divorce proceeding, Michigan courts start with the presumption that it is in the best interests of the child to maintain a close relationship with both parents. There are, of course, exceptions to this, such as cases in which one of the parents has a history of being abusive. In general, however, the courts prefer some type of joint custody arrangement.

Michigan Child Support Laws

After finalizing a divorce in Michigan, both parents are responsible to financially support the children. The amount of support is largely determined by the income of each parent and the custody arrangement.

Michigan Spousal Support Laws

Michigan divorce courts have no set formulas or guidelines on the payment of spousal support, or whether it will be granted at all. Each individual case is determined on its own merits, and spousal support is often considered as part of the division of marital assets.

Michigan Property Division Laws

Michigan is an “equitable distribution” state; meaning there is no requirement that the division of marital property be exactly equal, but it must be fair and equitable; taking into account factors such as the length of the marriage, needs of the spouses (and children), earning power of both spouses, source of property, and many others.

Getting a divorce in Michigan is a time of great emotional stress for everyone involved. At Gucciardo Family Law, we are experienced, compassionate, and we provide the skilled representation and support our clients need and deserve during this difficult time. For a free consultation, contact our office today at (248) 723-5190.