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Filing for a Military Divorce in Michigan

 Posted on June 21, 2023 in Divorce

Northville military servicemember divorce lawyerGetting a divorce is not an easy decision, but it can be especially challenging if one or both spouses are active United States Armed Forces members. Deployments can significantly impact the outcome and timing of a divorce case. 

Issues That May Affect a Military Divorce

Michigan is a no-fault state, which means the grounds for divorce will involve an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” These grounds will apply in military divorce cases. In the state, one spouse can file a complaint with the circuit court in their county of residence and serve their spouse with a summons. Both the summons and a copy of the divorce must be personally served to the spouse in order for the court to have jurisdiction over the military member.

In cases where the military member is deployed overseas or in a location other than where the divorce has been initiated, they can sign an affidavit proving they know the summons and court action. This may allow the to be delayed until the spouse returns from wherever they are stationed. The active military spouse can also sign an affidavit allowing the divorce to proceed in their absence, although this is generally not recommended, since it is important for a spouse to play a role in the decisions made about the end of their marriage. 

The laws of Michigan and the United States protect active U.S. military members from facing unfavorable decisions or other consequences if they cannot appear in court. Certain rights and obligations may apply to servicemembers and their spouses, and with the assistance of an attorney, a person can ensure that their rights will be protected and that they will be able to complete their divorce successfully.

Military benefits may be a unique issue that can arise during a divorce. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) states that the retirement pay a military member can receive may be considered marital property that will need to be addressed during the divorce process. Spouses will need to determine how these benefits will be divided, and they may also need to address other benefits that may be available to the servicemember’s spouse, such as medical benefits.

Residency Issues in a Military Divorce 

While a servicemember’s spouse may be able to file for divorce in the state where they live, a military member may maintain residency in the state where they are on active duty. In Michigan, a servicemember may establish residency if they have a state driver’s license, own real estate property in the state, and/or pay Michigan taxes or wish to become a resident. 

A military member's choice of residency can notably impact their divorce case. For instance, if they were stationed in another state, they may wish to file the case in Michigan so they will not have to wait the appropriate amount of time to establish residency. A military divorce attorney in Michigan can outline a relevant legal strategy and ensure that all issues will be addressed correctly during the divorce process. 

It is important to note that when a spouse files for divorce, at least one spouse must reside in the state and county where the divorce petition is filed. They must live in the state for at least 180 days before filing.

Contact a Farmington Hills Military Divorce Lawyer 

The divorce process in Michigan can be emotionally charged and stressful, and it can be especially challenging for military members and their spouses. There are some unique laws and legal issues that may play a role in military divorces, and spouses will need to make sure they approach the divorce process correctly. The Novi military divorce attorneys at Elkouri Heath, PLC understand how stressful the divorce process can be, and we are here to provide guidance and support, ensuring that all legal issues will be handled correctly. Contact us at 248-344-9700 to book a free consultation and learn how we can help with your case. 




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