How to Contest a Divorce in Michigan

Being served a petition for divorce in Michigan can be a terrible feeling, especially if you do not want to get divorced from your spouse or do not agree with the terms of the divorce. The following considers how you can contest a divorce in Michigan, which parts of a divorce may be contested, and how a Michigan divorce attorney can help you throughout the process.

 

Contesting a Divorce in Michigan

 

Michigan is a pure no-fault state when it comes to divorce. What this means is that a person who wishes to get divorced from their spouse can file a petition based on the irretrievable breakdown on the marriage alone; fault – such as adultery or abandonment – need not be established.

 

Because Michigan maintains pure no-fault divorce laws, the defendant in the divorce (the person who did not initiate the proceedings) has no legal grounds on which to contest the divorce itself. This is different from the majority of other states, in which a claimant may be required to prove grounds for divorce if the defendant contests.

 

However, while you cannot contest the divorce itself in Michigan, you can contest the terms of the divorce.

 

Common Terms Contested in a Divorce

 

Before a court will award a divorce in Michigan, there must be a determination made about a variety of divorce issues. Even when couples agree on getting a divorce, it is common for the following terms of a divorce to be contested:

  • Spousal maintenance – Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is a payment intended to support the financially dependent spouse after a termination of marriage.
  • Child custody and support. Parents have the right to come to an agreement about custody and parenting time outside of the court. However,  custody and parenting time are one of the most hotly contested issues in divorce, and may require court intervention. Child support is dependent upon number of children and both parent’s income, as well as the number of overnights awarded to each parent.
  • Property and assets division – Michigan is an equitable distribution property state, which means all marital property is subject to equitable distribution in the event of a divorce. However, this does not mean that couples will agree upon what is equitable.

How to Contest the Terms of a Divorce

 

If your spouse files for divorce, you will be served a complaint and a summons. The complaint informs you that your spouse is filing for divorce and the relief requested in the divorce, such as custody, parenting time, child support and alimony. The summons officially notifies you of the civil action, and tells you the time frame in which you must respond to the compliant.

 

In Michigan, you are required to answer the complaint within 21 days of being served. Your answer to the complaint for divorce must address all allegations in the divorce complaint whether you agree or not. Your answer states what you would like to see happen with the divorce. From this point, there is a 60 day waiting period if no children or 6 month waiting period if you have children before a court will decide your case.


Work with an Attorney

Working with an attorney can be beneficial – an attorney can guide you through contested divorce, and how to maximize your chances of getting what you want. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today for a consultation by calling 248-646-7980.

Working with an attorney can be beneficial – an attorney can guide you through contested divorce, and how to maximize your chances of getting what you want. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today for a consultation by calling 248-646-7980.