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Detroit Family Law Attorney and Divorce Lawyer
Serving Clients in Detroit, Metro Detroit and Michigan
Call Today (248) 705-3742


Michigan Divorce Information Center

Filing for Divorce in the State of Michigan
To be eligible to file for divorce in the State of Michigan, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Michigan for a minimum of 180 days before filing for Divorce.  You or your spouse must also reside in the county in which you file for at least 10 days before filing.

Michigan No Fault Divorce
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. That means a divorce is granted if there has been "a breakdown in the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved". The Plaintiff or party who filed the Complaint for Divorce or the Defendant, if that person filed a counter claim, must then appear in Court to show that this breakdown exists. While there is no fault for the grounds for divorce, factors such as infidelity may be considered in awarding custody of minor children, spousal support and other issues.

Starting a Divorce
To initiate a divorce, the plaintiff (the person filing for the divorce) files a Summons, a form that is required by the State to start any civil action and a Complaint for Divorce   This summons can be obtained on the Michigan Court's web site. Currently the filing fee for Divorce in Michigan is $150.00. There is also a fee of $80 that must be paid to the Friend of the Court of if the parties have minor children that are the product of the marriage

.Ex Parte Orders and other Motions
Either of the parties may ask the Court to issue ex parte orders such as an order to maintain the status quo or a mutual restraining order.  The term “ex parte” means that the court will issue the order without input from the other party, however, the other party does have 14 days in which to file an objection. An ex parte mutual restraining order is generally issued to keep both parties from disposing of or selling marital assets. An order to preserve the status quo means that the parties must continue to pay bills, maintain health insurance or continue doing the same things that were done prior to the filing of the divorce. Generally, the courts will not issue ex parte orders concerning custody, child support or other contentious issues and will require both parties to appear in court before entering an order for these matters While often times, ex parte motions are filed at the time when the complaint is filed, they can be filed at any time.

Serving the Defendant
After the Complaint is filed with the Court, the Defendant must be served.  The Defendant or, if a cross complaint has been filed, the Cross Complaint Defendant can be served by having a process server complete service, by certified restricted mail delivery where the named party must actually sign when he or she receives the complaint or counter complaint, or by having the other party acknowledge service by signing the back of the summons so that it can be filed with the Court.

After the Complaint is Served on Defendant or Cross Complaint Defendant
After being served, the Defendant has 21 days if served personally or 28 days if served by mail to file an Answer to the Complaint.  The Answer is the response to the original or cross complaint and answers each of the allegations that has been made by the Plaintiff. If the Defendant fails to submit an answer to the complaint within the proper time, the Plaintiff will ask the Court to issue a Default and the case can proceed without the Defendant. In the case of a default, the Plaintiff can then ask the Court to enter a Default Judgment of Divorce that, as long at it complies with all the Court Rules and Michigan Laws relating to Divorce, will end the case. If a default is entered, the party in default may ask the Court to set aside the default by showing that there is a meritorious defense and good cause why the Defendant failed to properly answer the complaint in the required time frame.
If Defendant does files an answer or appears at any scheduled hearing in the case proceeds towards a conclusion.

There is a Mandatory Waiting Period in Michigan
If the divorcing couple have no minor children there is a 60 day waiting period after the complaint has been filed and a judgment of divorce is granted. Where there are minor children, the waiting period extends for 180 days, however this can be shortened if both parties agree and with approval of the judge.

Consent Judgment of Divorce
In the best case, if both parties agree to all the terms of the divorce, including custody, child support, spousal support and property division, a “Consent Judgment of Divorce” can be entered with the Court when the proper waiting period has passed. However in most divorce cases, there are some issues that the couple cannot agree on.   In this case, the parties may opt for mediation and possibly go to trial.  Usually it is best for the couple to try and resolve any issues by themselves or with the help of a mediator because if the matter goes to trial, the judge will decide for them and take the decisions out of their hands.

The Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC is a Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving DUI and Family Law and Divorce law firm and provides legal representation in Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County and throughout Michigan including these Michigan cities:

Macomb County

Armada
Centerline
Chesterfield Twp.
Clinton
Eastpointe
Fraser
Harrison
Lenox
Macomb
Memphis
Mt. Clemens
New Baltimore
New Haven
Richmond
Romeo
Roseville
St. Clair Shores
Sterling Heights
Shelby
Utica
Warren
Washington

St. Clair County

Port Huron
Capac
Saint Clair
Algonac
Keewahdin
Marine City
Emmett
Yale

Washtenaw County

Ann Arbor
Ypsilanti
Chelsea
Saline
Manchester
Milan
Dexter

Ingham County

Lansing
East Lansing
Williamston
Webberville
Stockbridge
Meridian Township
Danville

Oakland County

Auburn Hills
Addison Twp.
Berkley
Beverly Hills
Bingham Farms
Birmingham
Bloomfield
Bloomfield Hills
Brandon Twp.
Clarkston
Clawson
Commerce
Farmington
Farmington Hills
Ferndale
Franklin
Groveland
Hazel Park
Highland
Holly
Huntington Woods
Independence
Keego Harbor
Lake Angelus
Lake Orion
Lathrup Village
Lyon Twp.
Madison Heights
Milford
Novi
Novi Township
Oak Park
Oakland Township
Orchard Lake
Orion
Ortonville
Oxford
Pleasant Ridge
Pontiac
Rochester
Rochester Hills
Royal Oak
Southfield
South Lyon
Springfield
Sylvan Lake
Troy
Walled Lake
Waterford
West Bloomfield
White Lake
Wixom
Wolverine Lake

Wayne County

Allen Park
Belleville
Brownstown
Canton
Dearborn
Dearborn Heights
Detroit
Ecorse
Flat Rock
Garden City
Gibraltar
Grosse Isle
Grosse Pointe
Grosse Pointe Farms
Grosse Pointe Park
Grosse Pointe Woods
Hamtramck
Highland Park
Huron
Inkster
Lincoln Park
Livonia
Melvindale
Northville
Plymouth
Redford
River Rouge
Riverview
Rockwood
Romulus
Southgate
Sumpter
Taylor
Trenton
Van Buren
Wayne
Westland
Woodhaven
Wyandotte

Call for a No Cost Initial Consultation
The Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving DUI Defense and Family Law Divorce Attorney
(248) 705 3742