If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, chances are you want to get things over with quickly. But how long does a divorce take in Michigan, and what can you expect during the process?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to that question. Each case is unique, and a multitude of factors can impact the length of time divorce proceedings will take from beginning to end. However, an experienced Rochester Hills divorce attorney can help you streamline the process and avoid mistakes that cause unnecessary delays.

What Happens After Filing a Divorce Complaint?

The first step in the divorce process is filing a complaint with the court. You must then serve your spouse with papers. If your spouse is unwilling to acknowledge receipt of the papers or otherwise attempts to dodge the summons, this will create a delay.

After acknowledging service of the divorce papers, your spouse will have 21 days to respond to the complaint. If they live outside Michigan or the service was performed certified mail, they have 28 days to respond. If your spouse refuses to answer the complaint, a default judgment will be issued against them. The divorce will proceed with or without their response.

Is Your Divorce Contested or Uncontested?

If you and your spouse can resolve all issues related to divorce without taking the case to court and decide to proceed with an uncontested divorce, your marriage can be dissolved fairly quickly. But if you can’t settle on terms without involving the court, the process could take months or even years.

Are Minor Children Involved?

If you don’t have minor children and you agree to all of the terms, the court may grant you a divorce in as little as 60 days. However, if you do have minor children, you will typically have to wait at least six months.

Also, when minor children are involved, it adds a layer of complexity that increases the time it takes to dissolve a marriage. The court will look over any agreement you have concerning custody, child support, and visitation to ensure that the best interests of the children are protected. In some cases, the court may even require that social workers and child therapists interview the children.

Will You Have to Take Your Case to Trial?

If your case goes to trial, the timeline grows much longer. First, there is a discovery period, during which both spouses will be expected to provide detailed and complete financial records. This may involve depositions, interrogatories, and requests to produce documents. If it’s discovered that one spouse is hiding assets from the other, that could further complicate matters.

Even after a decree is issued after the trial ends, you will still have court dates related to nonpayment of alimony, requests for custody or visitation changes, and other issues that will continue after the divorce is finalized.

A Rochester Hills MI Divorce Lawyer Can Help Expedite the Process

So how long does a divorce take? It depends — on your circumstances, on your goals, and on your strategies for dissolving the marriage. But regardless of the situation, an experienced attorney can help you obtain a divorce as efficiently as possible. And the sooner you get started, the sooner you can get things rolling. Contact Sumner & Associates, P.C. today to learn more.