What Should I Expect From the Michigan Divorce Process?

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, you might not have any information about what the divorce process often looks like, or you may know a little bit about it based on the experiences of friends or family members. In either case, it can be stressful to think about filing for divorce without understanding fully how the process will work. For instance, how does a person even begin the process of getting a divorce? How long do most divorces take? What steps are involved in finalizing a divorce? What happens when there are children from the marriage?

These are just some of the many questions that people have when they are considering divorce. It is important to understand that every case has its own set of facts and circumstances, and as such, the divorce process can look different from case to case. At the same time, Michigan divorce law governs all cases in the state, and there are elements of the divorce process that are similar despite individual circumstances. We want to tell you more about what the divorce process is like in Michigan.

Filing a Complaint and Service of Process

The divorce process begins when one party files a complaint. The complaint is the document that starts the divorce proceedings, and it is served along with a summons to the other party (to your spouse). To file a complaint for divorce, you do not need to outline the reasons that you want to get divorced since Michigan is a "no fault" state when it comes to divorce. Instead, you will only need to assert that there has been a breakdown of the marriage, and that the marriage can not be preserved.

When your spouse is served with divorce papers, this is known as service of process. There are many different ways to serve your spouse with divorce papers, from sending the materials through certified mail to hand delivery. Your divorce attorney can provide you with more information about how this works.

Your Spouse can File an Answer

Once your spouse is served with divorce papers, she or he has the opportunity to file an answer. Sometimes your spouse will file an answer because she or he disagrees with the divorce or wants to contest other issues such as the division of marital property. In other cases, however, your spouse might agree that divorce is best, and the two of you might have come to a full agreement about all terms of the divorce-from property division to parenting time. If this is the case, you can have what is known as an "uncontested divorce," and your spouse does not need to file an answer.

Waiting Period for Your Michigan Divorce

If you have an uncontested divorce, the divorce process will be much faster than it would be with a contested divorce (where the parties do not agree to all terms). If there are no minor children from the marriage, there is only a 60-day waiting period for an uncontested divorce, and if there are minor children, there is a six-month waiting period.

Contested divorces tend to take much longer than uncontested. The timing depends largely upon the facts of your case. Generally speaking, however, the contested divorce will require you to go before the judge, which means waiting for a court date.

A Michigan Divorce Attorney can Help

If you have questions about the divorce process, you should get in touch with an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer about your situation. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to learn more about how we can assist you.