Divorce is often an emotionally-taxing process, and you may come across unexpected challenges along the way. While couples may wish to terminate the marriage as soon as possible, there is a mandatory waiting period for a Michigan divorce. After filing a complaint, couples without children must wait 60 days before the divorce is finalized, while couples with minor children typically wait 6 months. The amount of time you and your spouse will need to wait varies on several key factors in your case, so you’ll want to contact a divorce lawyer as soon as possible to determine a feasible legal strategy.
The Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins can assist you with every step of the divorce process. At a consultation, our attorneys provide information on the mandatory waiting period to help you understand how it can affect the divorce timeline.
How Long Does the Waiting Period Last?
After the complaint has been filed with the court, the waiting period begins. Even if you and your spouse are amicable and have no issue resolving the relevant issues, the judge cannot authenticate the divorce until the waiting period has passed. All decisions regarding child custody, property division and spousal support will be kept on hold until the waiting period has ended and a hearing is scheduled.
The waiting period cannot be adjusted, aside from certain exceptions. There are certain situations in which the court may consider waiving the full duration of the 180-day waiting period, which are defined as “unusual hardship or such compelling necessity.” For general divorces, the couple will still need to wait for a minimum of 60 days before it is finalized.
What Is the Purpose of the Waiting Period?
After agreeing to a divorce, you and your spouse may feel enormous marital tension. Rather than allowing your frustration and anger to guide your decisions, a waiting period provides an opportunity to analyze the situation carefully:
- Financial Preparation. Since married couples usually hold joint bank accounts and share debts, dividing these assets can take some time. The mandatory waiting period allows your attorney to help you determine how financial assets can be divided.
- Settlement Before Court Date. Depending on the divorce’s complexity, some couples reach a settlement on outstanding divorce issues before the court date has arrived. Even if there is just one outstanding issue, it can lengthen the divorce’s duration for several months. Therefore, the waiting period can help the process move along once it is time to determine child custody arrangements, spousal support and more.
- Determine Care for Children. The 6-month waiting period for couples with children grants the opportunity to arrange child custody and devise a visitation agreement that prioritizes your child’s best interests.
- Reconciliation. In some cases, a couple may end up reconciling during the waiting period, which forgoes the need for divorce altogether.
Speak to A Michigan Divorce Attorney
While couples may want to settle a divorce as quickly as possible, Michigan’s mandatory waiting period has several advantages during such a tumultuous time. Talk to a divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to see how the waiting period may impact your specific circumstances.