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Whether you’re contemplating divorce or have determined that this is a path for you, know that you are not alone. The journey you are about to embark on is not easy. It is important that you consult with an experienced attorney to help you through the process. Attorney Herron can give you the right guidance and direction and will keep you informed every step of the way. This allows you to focus on other matters of your life. Take comfort in knowing that you have a team on your side that will fight fiercely for you!
The decision has been made and one or both parties are ready to proceed. Below are some of the key requirements to begin the divorce process.
In the State of Michigan, in order to file for a divorce, one or both spouses must live in the state for a minimum of 180 days or 6 months before filing. Additionally, the filing spouse must also submit a request to the circuit court in the county where either spouse has lived for a minimum of ten (10) days.
Since Michigan is a “no fault” state, there is no requirement of either party to prove or place blame for the deterioration of the marriage. It is only necessary that one spouse testify that the marriage cannot be repaired and the chance for reconciliation is unlikely. With that, while no one has to prove fault to get the divorce, the behaviors exhibited during the marriage may or maynot be used by the judge to determine the outcome in spousal support as well as the division of property.
The divorce case officially begins when a spouse files the complaint/summons with the court clerk’s office. Once this is done, the spouse must be served with papers mentioned about usually via certified mail or directly by another person.
The served spouse at this time has a couple of options. The first option is to answer the complaint and identify in writing what parts of the complaint they agree with or disagree with. The second option is that the served spouse agrees to all the terms of the divorce, and the third option is to simply not answer the complaint at all. Options 2 & 3 result in an uncontested divorce and is generally a straightforward process. Either option taken, a divorce must still be considered reasonable before it will be signed off and finalized by a judge.
Children of the marriage are part of the steps and will work with the friend of the court to assist the child/children transition through the divorce process. The goal is to create an environment that is ideal for the child despite the set of circumstances. Every Circuit Court system has a Friend of the court.
Mediation can also be option during the waiting period in the case. The mediator is there to assist and help spouses come to agreement including on issues ranging from child custody to property division.
The final stages of the divorce can include a dismissal or a finalized Divorce. Spouses can stop the proceedings should there be a change. If it’s before the other side has filed an answer to the complaint, then one spouse can file for a dismissal. If it’s after the answer has been filed, then both spouses must sign for a dismissal. If there’s no dismissal filed, then the couples will seek to finalize their divorce. After an agreement or trial, the judge will sign a Judgement of Divorce which ends the marriage and spells out the specifics of child custody & support, spousal support and the division of property & debt.