Divorce Proceedings In Michigan: A Step By Step Guide For Filing For Divorce

Filing For DivorceIt does not work out for everyone, and for others, sometimes, “I do” becomes “I don’t” and there maybe a lot processes when that happens. Divorce is the option for couples who thinks it does not work out anymore and they want to grow separately. Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, which means you do not need to prove that one is at fault for the divorce to proceed. You can have a divorce even if no one did anything wrong and you both just realized it is not working anymore. 

Here is a step by step guide for filing a divorce in Michigan. 

1. Know your eligibility: If you are planning a divorce in Michigan, know that you must be residing in Michigan for 180 days and in the country for at least 10 days. If you are newlywed and without children, you have to wait for a minimum 60 days. If you have minor children, it is up to 180 days. 

2. File a complaint: In order for you to proceed with the divorce, a legal document should be filed and it is called ‘complaint.’ The spouse who files the divorce is called the ‘plaintiff’ and the other party is the ‘defendant.’ Your complaint will be filed in a family court where you reside and it will be assigned to a random family judge. 

3. Other spouse should answer the complaint: Once the complaint is filed and summons the parties, the defendant has 21 days to answer. It may be up to 28 days if the other spouse is in a different state. The case is then contested upon the filing of the answer. If the other spouse chooses not to answer, it becomes an uncontested divorce case. 

Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, it will not be granted without a final hearing. The defendant is not required to attend the final hearing, it is usually the plaintiff who must be present.

4. Temporary order: In cases where the couple has minor children, a temporary order will be issued. This temporary order involves the custody of the children and the parenting time. This also involves the finance matters. This may be done through the mutual agreement of both parties or through a court hearing. 

Custody, parenting time, prohibition of selling and hiding assets, debts, child and spousal support— these are all covered in the temporary order. 

5. Discovery phase: This is the part where questions and investigations will start to dig in deeper on what happened. You are your spouse might need to answer questions under oath. Most of the time, documents are also needed in this phase to determine a lot of things. Also, in this phase, accountants and psychologists are hired if necessary. 

6. Negotiations: After the discovery phase, the negotiations begin. Proposals may be done through writing or attorneys may set up a meeting with the parties. Whichever works for you. This aims to settle everything as much as possible without the court needing to intervene. If settlements are reached, then both parties will sign a document. 

7. Mediation: The couple may opt to choose divorce mediation during the waiting process or even before the divorce complaint is filed. The court might suggest a mediation unless domestic violence is present. This may happen with or without the lawyers. The aim of mediation is to reach settlement without the need to go through a litigation. The couple may choose their mediator, if they cannot agree to one, the court will assign one for them. 

8. Court appearance: Motions, hearings and settlements may happen in court. Mostly, the attorneys are the one who attend. There are also times where the parties are summoned, depending on the divorce case. 

9. Settlement conference: A settlement conference will be scheduled by the court whereas the both parties are required to attend. This is where the properties will be divided and support will be discussed. Attorneys may meet the judge for an informal decision and try to reach settlements for both parties. If an agreement is made, it will be put on record. If not, a trial might happen to resolve everything. 

10. Final judgment of divorce: A written document signed by the judge will finalize and make the divorce effective. The binding document for that is the final judgment. Everything is included there – property settlement, custody, parenting time, support and other issues. 

These are the detailed steps that you will go through if you decided to divorce your partner. For a better outcome, you will need a qualified and experienced lawyer. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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