The decision to get a divorce is never easy, as anyone who has gone through the process can tell you. Fortunately, actually getting divorced in Michigan is fairly straightforward and may be able to be completed without a lawyer – as long as you meet the necessary criteria for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse are in agreement on everything, including the need for divorce, how you will divide your property and how your children will be taken care of, you can move forward with your decision quickly. You just need to locate the necessary Michigan divorce papers, fill them out correctly and submit them to your county clerk.
If your divorce is more complicated, you may need to take additional steps to dissolve the marriage. Ultimately, the court needs to create a binding agreement between you and your spouse before it will dissolve the marriage. Issues about how to divide up debts and assets, child custody and child support must all be decided before the divorce will be granted. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own, the court may require you to both go through divorce mediation together. Note that there is a fee for mediation, but it is usually far less expensive than hiring a lawyer.
If you are fortunate enough to have most things figured out with your spouse, you can move forward with the divorce to save much time and money. The following information will explain how divorce works in Michigan, as well as how you can get started on your own divorce. As long as you choose the correct forms and fill them out accurately – something CompleteCase.com can help you with – you can get divorced as quickly as state of Michigan will allow.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the divorce rate in Michigan in 2011 was 3.4 for every 1,000 residents. This data places Michigan in the middle of the pack for divorce rates in the United States.
Michigan is purely a no-fault divorce state. No-fault divorce means that you do not need to prove grounds for divorce, such as adultery or abandonment. Michigan accepts the breakdown of a marriage as reason for divorce. As long as the marriage is unlikely to improve, you can get divorced. Problems like adultery can still affect certain aspects of the divorce, if you choose to mention them to the court. The judge will take this into account when deciding on issues like child custody and spousal support.
Michigan requires that you or your spouse have been a resident of the state for six months before you can get divorced. It also requires that you – as the one filing for divorce – file your divorce documents in the county where either you or your spouse has lived for the past 10 days.
The divorce papers you need to complete for Michigan will depend on your specific circumstances. Michigan offers a website where you can find “Toolkits” for different divorce needs, including divorcing with or without children and when there are problems with domestic violence.
Although there are a number of forms for specific situations, there are basic forms required for all to list information about you, your spouse and the divorce – and the summons, which is what you deliver to your spouse to inform him or her of the divorce.
To avoid unnecessary delays or costs, choosing the appropriate divorce papers and completing them correctly is critical. CompleteCase.com offers an online service to identify the exact forms you need, and provides assistance in completing accurately. Many people in Michigan find that getting their divorce papers online from CompleteCase.com to be the most trouble-free way to handle divorce paperwork.
You will file your divorce papers with either the county clerk where you, or your spouse resides. Make sure you look online or call ahead to determine what the state filing fees are at the time you submit your documents.
Once you submit your documents to the county clerk, you will receive instructions pertaining to your specific circumstances. If you and your spouse are in agreement about everything and have no minor children, the divorce can take as little as two months to be finalized. If you are in agreement but you also have minor children, the waiting period is six months.
After you submit your divorce papers to the clerk, you will then need to serve a copy of those documents to your spouse. You can mail the divorce documents by certified mail. You can also have a sheriff serve the papers for a fee. If you have an adult that you trust and that is not involved in the divorce, you can also have him or her serve the papers. Your spouse must then complete and return a Proof of Service to the county clerk. Upon receipt of the Proof of Service, the filing process is complete. If the court needs more information, or if the divorce will require mediation or a hearing, the court will notify you.