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Table of contents
- The Divorce Process
- Initial Requirements
- I Need a Divorce and I Do Not Have Minor Children | Michigan Legal Help
- Legal Separation
- Introduction to Divorce with Minor Children
Service is usually done by having another person give the papers to your spouse in person or send the papers to your spouse by registered or certified mail. To learn more, read How to Serve Divorce Papers. Your spouse may file an answer to your divorce complaint. The answer should respond to each paragraph of your divorce complaint.
In the answer, your spouse should tell you and the judge which parts of your complaint they agree with and which parts they disagree with. If you have low income you may qualify for free legal services. Whether you have low income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers in your area. If your spouse doesn't file an answer, or if you agree on all of the terms of your divorce, you have an uncontested divorce.
The terms of your divorce must still be reasonable and must follow the law. If you and your spouse have children together, there is a six-month waiting period before your divorce can be finished.
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The waiting period begins when you file your divorce, even if you and your spouse were separated before that. If you and your spouse don't agree on everything, your divorce can take longer than six months. The judge can shorten the waiting period if you show that waiting the full days to finish your divorce would cause an unusual hardship to you or your children. The judge may also shorten the waiting period for other compelling reasons. The judge cannot make the total waiting period less than 60 days.
If you want to ask the judge to shorten the waiting period, you must file a motion. Complete the following blank forms:.
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File your forms at the court clerk's office, and ask the clerk for a hearing date. You must mail a copy of everything you file to your spouse at least nine days before the date of your hearing. Fill out the top part of the order and bring it with you to the hearing. If you need help doing this, use the Guide to Legal Help. You may be referred to a mediator during the waiting period in your case.
A mediator is often assigned to help you and your spouse reach an agreement about the issues in your case. If there has been domestic violence in your marriage, mediation is not recommended.
The Divorce Process
Let the court know if you have a personal protection order or if you are afraid to negotiate with your spouse. To learn more, read Mediation and Other Forms of Settlement. If your spouse has already filed an answer or motion in the case, you can only file a Dismissal if you and your spouse both sign it.
Your divorce might be resolved in one of these ways:. After there is a default, an agreement, or a trial, you can submit a proposed Judgment of Divorce for the judge to sign. The judgment will end your marriage and state what you and your ex-spouse must do regarding child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support alimony , and property and debt division.
Skip to main content. Search for your legal issue. For complete results, select the county where you live or where your case is filed: Introduction to Divorce with Minor Children Contents. Annulment An annulment is a court decision that a marriage did not happen. End of Marriage When you get a divorce, the judge will end your marriage and the legal benefits that come with it.
Property and Debt Division Property or debt that you get during your marriage is usually considered marital property. In deciding what is fair, the judge will consider these factors: Spousal Support Alimony If you or your spouse asks for spousal support and you can't reach an agreement, the judge will also decide this issue. Does Cheating Affect Alimony?
Are you wondering if your unfaithful spouse's affair affect your divorce case? Adultery may be considered in a divorce case and awarding alimony. In reality, prosecutions for adultery are uncommon. What is Alimony in Michigan? Olson , N. Talk to a Lawyer. Practice Area Please select How it Works Briefly tell us about your case Provide your contact information Choose attorneys to contact you. How It Works Briefly tell us about your case Provide your contact information Choose attorneys to contact you. Sales Sales Affiliates Library Trade. Separate Maintenance and Annulment.
An annulment is a court decision that your marriage is not valid. You can only get an annulment in certain situations. Reasons for annulment are:. A Michigan court can grant you a divorce if you have a valid common-law marriage. Michigan has not allowed common-law marriage since January 1, Michigan only recognizes common-law marriages that:.
If you think you have a common-law marriage and want a divorce, consider talking to a lawyer. You can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers and legal services in your area. Representing yourself in a divorce case is not easy. Consider talking with a lawyer about your rights and options even if you decide not to hire one. The more complicated the issues in your divorce are, the more important it may be to have a lawyer. Consider talking to a lawyer if:. Usually you can handle an uncontested divorce yourself, but you might need a lawyer if the issues in your case are complicated.
A contested divorce means you and your spouse disagree about some of the major issues in your divorce. This could include things like:. If you have a contested divorce, consider talking to a lawyer. If you are low-income, you may qualify for free legal services. Start your divorce case by filing a Summons and Complaint for Divorce. You must file in the circuit court in the county where either you or your spouse has lived for at least the last ten days.
You can use our Do-It-Yourself Divorce to create the forms you need. If you file for divorce you are the plaintiff and your spouse is the defendant. There may also be other costs such as:. You can ask the court to waive your fees if you get public assistance or are low-income. To learn more about waiving fees and costs, read Fee Waivers in Court Cases.
You must serve your spouse with the divorce papers to give your spouse legal notice that you filed for divorce. Alternate service allows you to serve the divorce papers by publication in a newspaper or another way. To get an order for alternate service, you must file a Motion and Verification for Alternate Service. In the motion , you must include everything you did to try to find your spouse.
Also, the process server must list what efforts were made to serve your spouse. If the judge agrees you did everything you could to try to find your spouse, he or she will probably grant your motion. Having a spouse on active military duty can complicate your divorce case. It may be difficult to find and serve papers on a service member stationed overseas. There are also state and federal laws that give people on active duty extra protections in civil cases.
I Need a Divorce and I Do Not Have Minor Children | Michigan Legal Help
If you are filing for divorce and your spouse is on active military duty, you should consider talking to a lawyer. Whether you are low-income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to look for lawyers and legal services in your area. Some things that get decided in a divorce without minor children are:. You and your spouse can work out your own settlement. Domestic relations mediation is a process that the court can use to help resolve contested issues in a family law case.
The mediator is a neutral person who helps you and the other party work out an agreement in your case. You could be referred to mediation if you agree to it or if the judge orders it. You and the other party will pay the mediator a fee. If any issues remain unresolved at the end of mediation, you can ask the mediator to make a written recommendation to the judge about how to solve those issues. Some cases are not appropriate for mediation. Your case might be excused from mediation for any of the following reasons:.
The arbitrator will make decisions and issue orders that are enforceable, just as a court would. The court will only send your case to arbitration if you and your spouse agree to it on the record. Domestic violence is serious and can impact the issues in your divorce. If your spouse has been verbally, emotionally or physically abusive, you should consider talking to a lawyer.
If you are low income, you may qualify for free legal services. Whether you are low-income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers and legal services in your area. It is not against any law to date during your divorce. But, dating could affect some of the issues in your divorce, like custody and parenting time.
The judge in your case could also order you and your spouse not to have someone you are dating around your children during your divorce. You can file a form to dismiss your case anytime before the Judgment of Divorce is entered.
But your case will continue if your spouse filed a counter-claim for divorce against you and wants the divorce to continue. Your Judgment of Divorce can restore your maiden name or the last name you used before your marriage. Or, the judge can allow you to take a different last name. However, you must not be asking for the name change to commit fraud or for another bad purpose. Instead, they must go through the process of petitioning the court for a name change. To learn more, see the Name Change toolkit.
Introduction to Divorce with Minor Children
The property and debt division must be fair. To decide what is fair in your case, the court may consider:. All the property and debt you acquired during your marriage gets divided. Property one of you had before your marriage can also be divided if necessary to create a fair division. During a divorce the parties normally try to divide all of their marital property and debt in a way that is equal. Separate property is property that does not get included in your property division. Separate property includes property that:. Separate property is normally kept by the owner. But, the court can include separate property in your divorce if:.
If you signed a prenuptial agreement and are filing for divorce, consider talking to a lawyer. You can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers and legal services help in your area. Your marital home will be part of the property settlement in your divorce. The decision about ownership of the home will not determined by who moves out; instead, it will be made when all of the marital property and debts are divided.
Even if you and your spouse agree that you can stay in your marital home, your spouse will probably want to be paid for his or her share of the home. If you do stay in your marital home, you will have to figure out how to continue to pay your mortgage after your divorce. Usually when you are awarded property in a divorce, you also become responsible for the debt related to the property.
Sometimes the marital home must be sold because the parties need different places to live and the marital home is too expensive for one person. Alimony spousal support is not common. You and your spouse can agree that you should get spousal support as part of your divorce. To decide whether your spouse must pay spousal support, the court will consider:.
Pension and retirement plans are marital property. This means the court will decide how to divide them in your Judgment of Divorce. If you have a retirement plan or pension, the court may also give part to your spouse. In Michigan, a husband is the legal father of any child conceived or born during the marriage. When a child has a different biological father, the husband and wife may agree that they want the husband to continue as the legal father after their divorce. However, one or both spouses may want to ask the judge to revoke undo the husband's paternity so he is no longer the legal father.
Yes, you can file for divorce if you are pregnant or your spouse is pregnant. You must tell the judge about the pregnancy in your divorce complaint. The judge may require you to wait for your divorce to become final until after the birth. A judge might do this to make sure the custody, parenting time, and child support arrangements in the Judgment of Divorce are complete.
Although Michigan law requires parents to provide health insurance for their children, there are no such laws for a spouse. However, the court may require your spouse to maintain your health insurance during the divorce process. Additionally, under COBRA a federal law your spouse's employer must allow you to be covered by its health insurer for three years after your divorce.
However, you must pay the premiums, which will probably be more expensive than when you were covered as a spouse.
The FOC helps the court in cases involving custody, parenting time, and child support. Some of the duties the FOC performs are:.