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MICHIGAN DIVORCE BASICS AND OVERVIEW
This is a divorce reference guide to understanding divorce in Michigan. Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the information you need before, during and after your divorce.
Divorce in Michigan Made Easy (See Michigan Divorce Help Center)
- Time Frame: The waiting period begins with the filing of the initial divorce paperwork- two months for couples without children and six months for those with children. After that, the couples are divorced when the Judgement of Divorce is signed by the judge, but when the spouses do not agree on everything, the divorce may take much longer.
- Where to File: Circuit Court. "State of Michigan, __________, Judicial Circuit, ___________ County." (See Michigan Court Addresses)
- Statute Statutes: Michigan compiled Law Annotated; Section 552.
- Name of Action: Complaint for Divorce.
- Name of Parties: Plaintiff, the filing spouse, and defendant, the other party.
- No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: No-fault only.
- Primary Documents Filed: Complaint for Divorce and Judgment of Divorce. (See MI Forms List With Explanations)
- Physical Separation Required: No.
- Separation Time to File: None.
- Legal Separation Permitted: Yes, under the same ground as breakdown of the marriage.
- Grounds: No-fault, "Breakdown of the marriage to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved." (See Michigan Laws for Divorce)
- Residency Requirement: One of the parties must reside in Michigan for 180 days immediately preceding the filing of the Complaint and either must reside in the county where the Complaint is filed for 10 days immediately preceding the filing of the Complaint.
- Mediation Required: The court provides, either directly or by contract, domestic relations mediation to assist the parties in settling disputed issues voluntarily, like child custody or visitation issues; the parties are not required by the court to meet with a mediator.
- Counseling Required: There is no provision for mandatory counseling in Michigan.
- Parenting Classes Required: Most counties require divorcing parents with children under the age of 18 to attend a two-hour Start Making It Liveable for Everyone (SMILE) program to educate ether in regards to being successful co-parents post divorce.
- Filing Fee: About $150. (See MI Filing Fee Waiver Form)
- Where to File for Child Support: A Friend of the Court may bring enforcement action against a parent more than 30 days behind in his or her support. A deadbeat's state and federal income tax refunds may be intercepted and liens brought to his or her house or personal property. The parent behind in support may have his or her drivers' license suspended or brought to court to explain failure to pay. Collection of support is the responsibility of the Michigan Child Support Enforcement.
- Child Support Guidelines Model: Michigan uses the Income Shares Model to determine the amount of child support the noncustodial parent must pay.
- Property Division: Michigan is an equitable distribution state and an all property state.
- Appreciation of Separate Property: The appreciation of separate property is marital. When an asset is the separate property of one spouse, appreciation that occurred during the marriage is considered marital property if the increase is due to the active involvement of one of the spouses, rather than simply passive appreciation. All increases are considered marital property until the marriage ends. But property received after a divorce may be considered marital property if the property was obtained by efforts that took place during the marriage.
- Attendance at Hearing: Yes.
- Fault Considered in Property Division: Fault may be considered in the division of marital property.
- Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
- Ways to Serve Spouse: Divorce papers may be served in several ways, but the plaintiff may not be the one that delivers them. A friend or relative may serve the papers or the local sheriff's department, police department or a process server can deliver them. The server can also mail the papers registered or certified mail, with restricted service and return receipt requested.
- Learn More About Michigan Divorce.
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