In order to prepare for an impending divorce or separation, a person should have an understanding of all of the assets and liabilities that either spouse may have brought into the marriage, what may have been inherited during the marriage, what has been acquired later during the marriage, and what is anticipated from the marriage. If there are children involved, then the parties will need to consider where the children will live and attend school. It is important to discuss these issues with an attorney.
For at least 10 days prior to filing for divorce, a plaintiff or defendant must have been a resident of the county in which they are filing, as well as a resident of the state of Michigan for six months.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, which means that in order to file for divorce, the only language required in the complaint is that there has been a breakdown in the marital relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed, and there is no reasonable likelihood the marriage can be preserved, and no chance for reconciliation. In other words, if someone wants a divorce, the other party can’t stop it. However, the term “no fault” is a misnomer because fault can be taken into consideration in the division of assets and the granting of spousal support.
There is not a required period of separation prior to divorce being granted in Michigan. It is not unusual for parties to remain in the same home during the pendency of the divorce action, especially if there are minor children involved.
The process of a typical divorce in Michigan will depend on whether or not there are children involved. When a party files a complaint for a divorce, the other party will be served with the process. If they are served personally, then they will have 21 days to respond or file an answer to the complaint for divorce. If there are minor children involved, then a friend of the court in the county where the complaint is filed will become involved, but each county handles this differently. Oakland County has an early intervention conference seven weeks after the filing, which allows for the parties and their attorneys to meet with the friend of the court referee who is involved. Wayne and Macomb County also have procedures whereby there is a meeting with the friend of the court, but the timeframes in which these meetings occur differ. If there aren’t any children involved, then the friend of the court will not be involved and the process will continue.
Typically, the next step is called discovery, which involves the parties trying to determine the assets that are involved in the case and the witnesses that may or may not be called. There are three general ways of getting that information: to subpoena it directly from the source or the employer of the parties, via interrogatories (which are a series of questions that are sent to the other side and are to be answered under oath), and via depositions of the parties or witnesses, where a testimony is taken under oath in front of a court reporter. The courts control the timeframe in a divorce case so that it doesn’t get out of hand.
In Michigan, a person will ultimately have to go to court for their divorce case in order to testify to the fact that there has been a breakdown in the marital relationship and that the judgment is a true rendering of the agreement that was reached. If an agreement was not reached, then there would be a trial to address the issues that could not be resolved, and a judge would have to grant a judgment of divorce.
For more information on Preparing For Divorce In Michigan, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 869-0030 today.