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Divorce FAQs

Michigan Divorce FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Michigan Divorce

Q. What are the grounds for a Michigan divorce?

A. As a "no-fault" divorce state, Michigan does not require fault grounds for a divorce. Instead, a petitioner must show that irreconcilable differences have caused the marriage to break down to the point that it cannot be repaired.

Q. How long must I live in Michigan to file for divorce?

A. Your, your spouse, or both must have lived in the state of Michigan for 180 days prior to the filing of a divorce complaint. In addition, one of the parties must have lived in the county in which the complaint was filed for at least 10 days prior to the filing.

Q. Do I need a divorce lawyer?

A. The law does not require you to hire an attorney for your divorce, but trying to manage the process on your own could lead to costly mistakes.

Q. Will my spouse get half of everything?

A. Michigan is an equitable distribution state which means that during a divorce, all marital assets and debts will be divided fairly between spouses based on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce. Equal portions may be equitable in some cases, but in others, one spouse may receive a larger share of the marital estate.

Q. Will I have to pay spousal support or can my spouse be forced to pay?

A. Spousal support, sometimes known as alimony, is awarded in Michigan divorce at the discretion of the court or by agreement of the parties. The court will look at a number of factors including the age, health, employability, and behavior of each spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage to decide if spousal support is appropriate.

Q. What if my spouse cheated on or abused me?

A. Destructive behavior such as adultery or domestic violence is not technically grounds for divorce under Michigan's no-fault divorce laws. Such misconduct, however, may be considered by the court when dividing marital property, awarding spousal support, and determining child custody arrangements.

Q. How long will my divorce take?

A. There is no way to guess exactly how long a divorce will take, as the length of the proceedings will depend on the number, nature, and complexity of the issues to be resolved. If you and your spouse agree on most things, your divorce can proceed quickly. If you agree on very little, the process will take longer. There is a mandatory 60-day waiting period before your divorce can be finalized, however, and couples with minor children must wait at least six months.

Q. How much will my divorce cost?

A. As with the length of your divorce, it is difficult to estimate how much you will need to spend, as the costs will depend on your unique circumstance. If you require the services of an accountant, a real estate appraiser, and a tax expert, for example, you will pay more for your divorce than if you did not need the help of such professionals. It is important, however, to consider your divorce costs as an investment in your future because your divorce settlement will provide the financial foundation for the rest of your life.

Q. Will I have to go to court?

A. At the very minimum, you will need to appear in court at least once. If there are many outstanding issues to settle or your case goes to litigation, many more appearances could be necessary.

Q. What if I do not agree to a divorce?

A. Under the no-fault divorce laws in Michigan, a divorce can be granted on the basis of one spouse indicating that the marriage is beyond repair. A spouse who disagrees can slow the process considerably, but he or she cannot ultimately prevent the divorce.

Q. Who should I call for help?

A. If you have additional questions about the divorce process in Michigan, contact Elkouri Heath PLC. Call 248-344-9700 for a free consultation at our Novi, MI office today.

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