Each state has its own laws in place for marriage and divorce. While the states are fairly uniform in their marital requirements (with the exception of some common law states), how to get a divorce varies slightly. For example, some states – like Michigan – maintain no-fault divorce laws, which allow for an individual to file for divorce without proving that their spouse committed an act of fault, whereas other states insist upon their being actual grounds for divorce before one will be granted.
Further, each state also has different residency and filing requirements. As such, if you got married in another state and are moving to or are living in Michigan, you might be wondering: Can I file for divorce?
Michigan’s Jurisdictional Requirements for Divorce
The short answer is yes – if you were married in another state, you can file for divorce in Michigan. However, you must meet the state’s jurisdictional requirements. In other words, if you file for divorce but the court finds that it does not have jurisdiction to hear your case – or the legal rights to hear your case – then your petition for divorce will likely be dismissed.
Michigan Compiled Laws section 552.9 require that either the complainant or the defendant reside within the state for a minimum of 180 days prior to filing for divorce, and that the complainant or the defendant reside in the county in which the divorce action is being filed for 10 days immediately preceding the filing.
As a note, other states are legally bound to recognize a marriage or a divorce that is performed/issued by another state, including those involving same-sex couples. This requirement is found in the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section I. The clause reads that, “full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” In other words, if you are divorced in Michigan (even if you were not married there), and return to your home state, your home state has a legal obligation to recognize the divorce.
Filing for Divorce in Michigan
As stated above, a divorce in Michigan may be granted on no-fault grounds, by which a court will recognize divorce based on the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. However, even if you and your spouse are in agreement about getting a divorce (as well as things like property division and child custody), you will still have to wait a minimum of 60 days (if no children) and a minimum of 6 months (if children) before a trial court will grant your divorce (per Michigan Compiled Statutes section 552.9f). The 60 days waiting period also applies to contested divorces; the court will not take testimony until the 60 day period has expired.
Work with a Michigan Divorce Attorney
Knowing all of the requirements for filing for divorce in Michigan, as well as how to arrive at a divorce settlement that protects your interests, can be complicated. To assist you throughout the process, contact the knowledgeable Michigan divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins for a free consultation today. Call 248-646-7980 now.