Frequently asked questions

Divorce

Does my spouse have to agree in order to get a divorce?


No, a divorce in Michigan can be granted even if your spouse does not want to get divorced.




What requirements exist in order to file for divorce in Michigan?


In order to file for divorce in the State of Michigan, there are two requirements you must meet:

  • Either you or your spouse must be a resident of Michigan for at least 180 days immediately prior to the time of filing a Complaint for Divorce.
  • Additionally, either you or your spouse must be a resident of the county where you plan to file for at least 10 days immediately prior to filing a Complaint for Divorce.




How does a divorce begin in Michigan?


A divorce in the State of Michigan begins with one of the parties filing what is called a “Complaint for Divorce.” This document will initiate the divorce proceedings, and will outline the relief that the filing party is seeking from the court. The filing party becomes the “Plaintiff” for the duration of the case, and the other spouse is thereafter called the “Defendant.”




What happens after the Complaint is filed?


After the Complaint is filed, the Plaintiff serves a copy of the Complaint on the Defendant, and waits either 21 days (if the Defendant is personally served) or 28 days (if the Defendant is served by certified/restricted delivery mail) for the Defendant to respond. The remainder of the divorce process - procedurally - is fairly fact specific, and one of our attorneys will be more than happy to walk through the process in as much detail as necessary in order for you to have a better understanding of what to expect.




How long will my divorce take?


The time required to finalize a divorce will depend first on whether you have minor children with your spouse. If you do, then the State of Michigan requires that the divorce process take a minimum of 180 days, which is a statewide “waiting period.” If you do not have minor children with your spouse then the waiting period is reduced to 60 days. In either scenario, the time necessary to finalize the divorce proceedings will also depend on the amount of issues not agreed upon between you and your spouse. One of our attorneys can explain the time associated with these types of issues, or “contested issues.”




How much will my divorce cost?


The current filing fee imposed by the State of Michigan to file for divorce is $175. If you have minor children with your spouse then an additional $80 filing fee is required. These fees are in no way associated with our office, and are paid directly to the court. Attorney fees associated with your divorce will depend on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the case, the ability for you and your spouse to agree on the issues involved, and the gradual progression of your case. If your spouse decides to retain an attorney, much of the time
associated with your case will depend on the willingness of your spouse’s attorney to work toward resolving the issues involved. Call our office today to talk with an attorney about your case, and we can explain a little more about what to expect from a cost perspective.





Child Custody

What if my spouse/partner and I already agree on who will have
custody of our child(ren)?


If you and your spouse/partner agree on custody issues, then your agreement can be incorporated into the final Judgment of Divorce, or final Judgment of Custody, which is the paper used to finalize your case.




What if my spouse/partner and I do not agree on custody issues?


If you and your spouse/partner do not agree on who will maintain custody of the minor child(ren), then the issue of custody will be decided by the Court. The Court will look to the “best interest of the child” factors when making a determination involving child custody. These factors are as follows:

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
  • The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  • The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.




If I have custody of the child(ren), does my spouse/partner have to pay child support?


Child support in Michigan is based on clear guidelines, which take into account factors set forth in the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual to determine the amount of child support one party must pay to the other. If you have a child support question, our office is equipped with the appropriate Child Support Formula to help calculate such amounts.




What factors are considered when determining the amount of the child support obligation?


The factors used to determine the amount of child support to be paid are as follows: your income, your spouse/partner’s income, the number of children of each party, the amount of overnight parenting time each party has with the minor child(ren), other child support obligations of the parties, child care costs for the minor child(ren), and health care
costs for the minor child(ren).





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Contact us today to discuss your case!