How long is the divorce waiting period in Michigan?
A marriage between a couple is a sacred thing, something to be cherished, and if all goes well, it will bring a lifetime of happiness. Unfortunately, things don’t always go well and couples end up separating or going through divorce.
On the surface or to the uninitiated, splitting up seems like a simple enough process—try to be as civil as possible, agree on the important things, and go your separate ways. But it’s not that easy or straightforward, especially when children are involved, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.
Michigan’s waiting period
All couples filing for divorce under Michigan law must complete a waiting period, which begins as soon as the divorce complaint is filed. If you and your spouse are efficient and amicable and resolve applicable divorce issues in a week, that’s great but a judge still cannot grant a divorce agreement until the end of the waiting period.
For example, let’s say a couple reaches a settlement on all issues including property division, spousal support, and child support; they can present that agreement in writing to the court for a judge’s review. The judge will review to determine fairness to both parties but everything remains on hold until the end of the waiting period. The divorce can then be settled as soon as a hearing can be scheduled.
How long will it take?
Like most US states, Michigan requires a cooling off period after a divorce complaint is filed. This allows time to potentially iron out specific details and in some cases, perhaps even reconcile. However, even if one issue remains, the process will drag on much longer; up to several months for a couple to gather information, attend mediation, or address property or support orders.
If a Michigan couple does not have minor children (under age 18), the waiting period is 60 days from date of filing. With minor children, the waiting period is 180 days. Much of this process depends on the clarity or complexity of your case. In ideal situations, a couple works to resolve issues immediately after the complaint is filed and and a final agreement is waiting for the end of the waiting period. Even so, the divorce will not be granted by a judge until the end of the waiting period.
Can the waiting period be adjusted?
The short answer is yes, certain scenarios and accompanying agreements can be considered in waiving part of the 180-day waiting period but regardless of the situation, a couple cannot get divorced in less than 60 days at a minimum. Keep in mind that divorces with children often take much longer than the required six months.
Requirements before filing
Prior to filing for a divorce in Michigan, one or the other spouse must have live in the state for a minimum of six months and filing must take place in a court within the county of residence at least ten days before filing.
In addition, Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, which means neither spouse must prove anything or even agree to a divorce. Legal separation or living apart is also not required. However, at least one spouse must testify to a breakdown in the marriage relationship.
For more advice on divorce waiting periods, contact Gucciardo Law Firm at (248) 723-5190 or gucciardofamilylaw.com.
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