Most people who are considering a Michigan divorce have a lot of questions about the process. What do you need to file for divorce in Michigan? How long does a Michigan divorce take? Let’s take a look at some of these common concerns.
Starting a Michigan Divorce
In order to start a divorce in Michigan, the first thing you’ll have to do is file certain papers at the county courthouse in the county in which you and your spouse live. If you live in different counties, you may choose which county you want to file in. For instance, if you live in Oakland County but your spouse lives in Wayne County, you can choose which county you prefer to file in. However, one of the parties must have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days, and in the county of filing for at least ten days before the case is filed.
What are those papers you need to file? The Complaint is a document that sets forth relevant facts, including your current residences; when and where you were married; the assertion that there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved; whether there are children of the marriage; whether there is property to be divided; and what you are asking the court to do for you.
You will also need a Summons to serve on your spouse, along with the Complaint and any other documents. The Summons is a single sheet that informs your spouse that a case has been filed, who the parties are, what court the case is filed in, the case number, and other important information. In some counties, you must prepare multiple copies of the Summons and bring it to court when you file; in others, such as Oakland County, the court automatically generates the Summons when the case is filed.
If you have children, you will also need to prepare a Verified Statement for the Friend of the Court (FOC). This document provides information about parents and children, including parental income, for the calculation of child support. The FOC will conduct an investigation and recommendation regarding child support, and regarding custody and parenting time if those issues are contested.
Once the necessary documents have been filed with the court, along with the filing fee ($150, plus an additional $80 if there are minor children of the marriage), copies of all documents must be served on your spouse by a third party. Alternately, if your spouse is willing, he or she can acknowledge receipt of the documents. This acknowledgement must be notarized. Your spouse will then have a limited time to respond to these documents.
How Long Does a Michigan Divorce Take?
Michigan law requires that six months take place between the filing of the Complaint for Divorce and the entry of a Judgment of Divorce, which is the document that makes your divorce final. However, if there are no minor children of the marriage, the court may, at the request of the parties, grant the divorce in as little as 60 days.
Remember, these are the minimum periods of time required for a Michigan divorce. Depending on how much you and your spouse are in conflict about, the divorce could take much longer. However, Michigan counties strongly encourage couples to complete their divorce within a year.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Michigan, talk to an experienced Oakland County divorce attorney to learn more about the best way to approach the process. Attorney Jim Hubbert has handled many Michigan divorces and makes it a priority to help his clients reach their goals in divorce with as little stress as possible.