Divorce can be a stressful and emotional process, as well as a complicated and time-consuming one. If you and your spouse are thinking of untying the knot, what can you expect? Below, we discuss how to get a divorce in Michigan and how an attorney can help.
Filing a Petition for Divorce
One spouse begins the process by filing a “complaint for divorce” with the circuit court in the county where either you or your spouse has lived for at least ten days. You or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months.
Since Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, your divorce petition doesn’t need to list a specific reason for the divorce or place fault on either spouse. The only grounds needed to file a divorce is that the marriage has broken down to the point where it is no longer salvageable.
Serving a Complaint and Waiting for a Response
Whichever party filed the divorce will need to serve the other party with notice within 90 days. You can serve the papers using a sheriff’s deputy, in person, or you can mail the notice via certified mail with a return receipt requested.
Once the spouse filing for divorce has served the papers to the other spouse, the other spouse has 21 days to file a response. If no response is filed, the court will enter a default judgment.
Asking for Temporary Orders
Most divorces take up to a year to finalize, but some matters can’t wait. The judge will need to decide these matters temporarily while the divorce is pending. These can include temporary orders for alimony or child support, orders related to visitation and custody, and injunctive relief when one spouse has been verbally or physically abusive to the other spouse or their children.
Going Through the Waiting Period
Spouses with no children are required to wait two months before their divorce can proceed. Spouses with children must wait six months.
Negotiating a Settlement
Mediation is one way to resolve issues related to divorce without taking them to court. Couples with minor children can meet with the Friend of the Court where they will attempt to resolve issues related to their children. These include child support, custody, and visitation. A mediator can also help couples reach agreements on property division and alimony as well.
Taking the Case to Trial
If you and your ex cannot agree on divorce issues out of court, the case will go into litigation.
The first phase of litigation is discovery. Each spouse is expected to disclose all of their financial holdings and assets. If there was adultery or abuse within the marriage, spouses will provide evidence or testimony — including depositions, subpoenas, and interrogations.
In high-asset divorces, when spouses own a business together, or there are multiple real estate holdings, someone must be brought in who can accurately appraise the value of the assets.
Finalizing the Divorce Judgment
Whether you and your ex were able to negotiate an agreement or a judge decided matters for you in trial, the final step of a divorce is the judgment of divorce. This order will specify each party’s responsibilities regarding custody, support, property division, and other issues.
Learn More About How to Get a Divorce in Michigan
If you’re considering a divorce, it’s important to speak to an experienced Rochester Hills MI family law attorney who can help you through each stage of the process. Contact Sumner & Associates P.C. to learn more.