Michigan Divorce FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

The questions below are frequently asked questions regarding divorce in the state of Michigan. If you find that your question is not answered below please contact us for a consultation.


Q: How does no-fault divorce work in Michigan?A: No-fault divorce allows for people to be granted a divorce simply by citing irreconcilable differences. Where as before no-fault existed, people had to have a strong case (infidelity, safety, etc.) to be granted a divorce, no-fault allows people to file for divorce without having to provide a fault of a party for the reason for divorce. Yet, when considering all of the issues that are involved in divorce proceedings (custody, alimony, property division, etc.), the fault of a party can still be taken into account.


Q: How is Michigan custody awarded?A: Custody is awarded based upon the courts’ evaluation of several factors. Primarily these factors have to do with the abilities of parents to properly care for each child involved, parents’ current living situation, and parents’ moral stability. Courts will take into account parents’ work, neighborhood in which they live, ability to provide transportation, criminal and/or legal background, and any other issues that will help them determine which parent can provide the best living situation for each child involved. Custody will then be awarded to that parent which they believe based upon all the factors above can provide what is best for each child involved.


Q: How is Michigan child support determined?A: Child support is determined by a formula, which takes into account several factors, however, the main factors are the parties’ income, number of children, and the number of overnights each child has with a parent. Taking into account the factors above, as well as others, child support is then determined by the courts.


Q: How does alimony in Michigan work? A: Alimony in Michigan is referred to as Spousal Support. Spousal Support is determined by the divorce judge who takes into account several factors. The more substantial factors taken into account are income disparity, length of marriage, a party’s needs, the ability of a party to pay, and fault. Spousal Support can be tax-deductible to the payor and taxable to the payee.


Q: Is property split 50/50?A: Normally, all property obtained during the marriage will be split 50/50. For property that was obtained by a specific party prior to the marriage, that property has the potential to be considered “separate property” and according to the judge’s ruling, may not be divisible in a 50/50 split. A court also has the liberty to split property in other ratios depending upon what they deem fair.
Property can also include businesses owned by parties unless it is stated otherwise in a prenuptial agreement. A party may have an opportunity according to the judge’s ruling to pay 50% of the value of the business to the other party involved to obtain sole ownership over the business.


Q: Are retirement accounts and pensions included in the 50/50 split?A: Yes. Retirement accounts and pensions earned during the marriage of both parties involved are added together and divided in half to be paid equally to each party.


Q: Are Michigan prenuptial agreements enforced?A: Yes.


Q: Am I eligible to file for divorce in Michigan if I just moved here?A: No. You have to have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days.


Q: What is the length of time it takes for the divorce to be finalized?A: In the event the parties have minor children, there is an obligatory 180-day waiting period before the parties can be divorced. If the parties have no minor children, there is an obligatory 60-day waiting period. If parties are unable to settle, a finalized divorce can take longer than a year to finalize depending upon the courts’ back-log.


Q: How much does a Michigan divorce cost? A: It depends. If both parties can come to an agreement sooner rather than later, the costs will be much less than if both parties are unable to come to an agreement and the decision has to be decided by the courts.


Q: Is better to file for divorce in Michigan first or wait for one’s spouse to do so?A: If a divorce is inevitable, it is better to file first as it helps, depending upon if the party is the primary or secondary wage-earner, to assure that marital assets are protected, support of the household is continued, and that a support order is not entered without first presenting it to the judge.


Q. Can grandparents have visitation rights in Michigan?A: Yes, if it is deemed in the best interest of the child or children that their grandparent(s) be given visitation rights.


Q. Does there need to be a period of separation before a divorce is filed in Michigan?A: No. There is no mandated period of time of separation to file a divorce.


Q. Can divorce be filed in Michigan if a spouse lives outside of the state?A: Yes. If the party filing for divorce resides in Michigan, they can file for divorce even if their spouse does not reside in Michigan.