Michigan Divorce Process

Termination of marriage

A marriage can be terminated in Michigan through three modes: (a) Annulment: annulment is declaring the marriage invalid through a petition submitted to the court on grounds of under age, fraud or lack of cohabitation. (b) Separate maintenance: in a suit for separate maintenance, the court is requested to split up the conjugal property; however, retaining the marriage operative. Child support and custody are also determined. (c) Divorce: by filing a divorce suit, either husband or wife announces that the conjugal life has concluded and that there is no possibility that it will be reconciled.

Appropriate court for divorce suit

A person can file a divorce suit in a Michigan county Circuit Court if that person has resided 10 days in the county and 180 days in the state immediately preceding the filing of the complaint. If the spouses have minor children, it may take minimum six months to end the process; in other respects, it may take minimum sixty days.

Types and cost of divorce

What procedures are to be followed and what will be the cost of divorce in Michigan depend mainly on the type of divorce process you opted for. Divorce may be contested or uncontested. Many factors may be associated in a contested divorce such as either husband or wife is not willing to terminate the marriage, they do not agree on dividing their property and difference of opinion on child custody, support etc. On the contrary, in an uncontested divorce, husband and wife assent to the divorce and have settled the disputed issues. Uncontested divorce in Michigan will be less expensive and less time consuming.

Fault vs. no-fault

Divorce may be with fault or no-fault. In a divorce with fault, faults of one spouse are considered as reasons for the termination by the other spouse. Example of such causes or faults may be brutality or abuse, adultery, or other similar acts committed by the one spouse towards other. On the contrary, in a no-fault divorce, the spouse demanding the divorce is not in an obligation to prove that the other spouse did any fault or wrong. No fault divorces have many blessings that include keeping the cost of divorce to a minimum and spending less time. No fault divorce is allowed in Michigan under the Michigan divorce statute.

Filing and answering complaint

The divorce process begins by filing the complaint to the appropriate court either by husband or wife. Usually the parties employ an attorney for this purpose. You can choose a Michigan divorce lawyer to take care of the legal process needed for your divorce case. A copy of the complaint will be served to the other party after filing of the complaint. Upon receiving the complaint, the other party answers, usually through an attorney, the accusations mentioned in the complaint.

Temporary or Interim Orders

With the filing, answering or default in answering the complaint the divorce process commences. Most of the divorce proceedings have some issues that need to be attended promptly, such as child custody, joint custody, child support, support arrears, visitation or parenting time, restraining transfer of joint or community property, injunctions to prevent harassment etc. The court issues temporary/interim orders upon a hearing of the parties or on the consensus of the parties on an issue. Such orders remain in effect until the court makes further orders or till disposal of the proceeding.

Recommendation of Friend of Court

If spouses have minor children, they will have to go to the Friend of the Court (FOC), a division of the circuit court. The Friend of the Court will investigate and make recommendation on matters related to minor children custody, support, support arrearage, Michigan joint custody, parenting time, and spousal support or alimony etc.

Discovery

Typically discovery is needed if the quantity and prices of the community or joint property are unknown to the one or both the spouses. Usual execution process of it is one party sends interrogatories to the other party. In the interrogatories, a party has to answer questions under oath raised by the other party. One party can also ask the other party to produce documents.

Negotiation

To keep away from unpredictability and expenditure of a trial of Divorce, some parties may opt to settle the disputed issues of their case through negotiation, which is an alternative dispute resolution process, to reach to an agreement. It may take place at any stage of the divorce procedure. The attorneys will prepare an intended Judgment of the Divorce if the parties get successful in the negotiation and reach to a consensus on the disputed issues of their Divorce case.

Mediation

Mediation is another alternative dispute resolution process to settle a divorce case without going to trial. In the process of Mediation, the parties nominate a neutral third party, who is customarily another attorney or Friend of Court, to assist them to reconcile their disputes. If the parties reach to a consensus through mediation, the agreement is placed on the court’s record. If the proceeding is not pending in the court, the mediator shall prepare a mediation agreement, and the parties will sign the agreement.

Arbitration

Arbitration follows almost similar procedure as mediation excepting some special characteristics. Arbitration is legally binding on the parties. An arbitrator can be another attorney. A retired judge can also be an arbitrator in some cases. The arbitrator shall at the outset make an effort to settle through the consensus of the parties. If the settlement attempt fails the arbitrator shall commence to hear evidence produced by the parties. The arbitrator shall deliver a ruling after hearing all the evidence produced by the parties.
Trial

The Court shall initiate a Trial if the parties fail to settle through alternative dispute resolution procedures. The parties and their attorneys will appear and present testimony and evidence to prove their claims true. An opinion on the disputed issues shall be passed by the Family Court judge at the end of the trial.

Hiring a Michigan Divorce Lawyer

For your convenience, each Family Law attorney in Michigan offers a free phone consultation. Contact us today by calling (248) 588-3333 or (877) 737-8800 toll-free. An experienced Michigan family law/divorce attorney is waiting to speak with you about your legal matters.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not legal advice and is only for informational purposes. We do not guarantee that the material presented here is error-free and utilizing our website does not in any way create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advise, please contact the law firm of Goldman & Associates at (877) 737-8800.

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