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Divorce in Michigan

Divorce in Michigan



In the past decade, Michigan’s divorce laws and regulations have undergone significant revisions to adapt to changing family dynamics, promote fairness, and prioritize the well-being of those involved in divorce proceedings. From property division to child custody, these changes underscore Michigan’s commitment to addressing modern divorce complexities. This article presents an outline of key amendments in Michigan’s divorce laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, grouped by the year of implementation.

2013: No-Fault Divorce Streamlining

   – Simplification of the process for obtaining a no-fault divorce, reducing procedural complexities.

2014: Property Division Guidelines

   – Adoption of guidelines for equitable distribution of marital property, ensuring fair asset allocation.

2015: Child Custody Emphasis

   – Focus on the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.

2016: Spousal Support Factors

   – Introduction of factors considered in awarding spousal support, including financial circumstances.

2017: Digital Documentation Acceptance

   – Adoption of digital documentation and electronic filing options for enhanced efficiency.

2018: Detailed Parenting Plans

   – Emphasis on comprehensive parenting plans outlining custody, visitation, and child support arrangements.

2019: Child Support Review

   – Periodic review and potential adjustment of child support guidelines to reflect changing economic conditions.

2020: Collaborative Divorce Recognition

   – Acknowledgment and promotion of collaborative divorce as an alternative dispute resolution method.

2021: Domestic Violence Protections

   – Strengthening provisions to protect victims of domestic violence during divorce proceedings.

2022: Complex Financial Divorces

   – Exploration of guidelines for divorces involving intricate financial portfolios.

2023: Online Divorce Filing

   – Introduction of online divorce filing options for increased accessibility and convenience.

Michigan’s dedication to updating its divorce laws underscores its commitment to fostering a fair and just legal environment during times of family transition. By addressing modern family dynamics and prioritizing the interests of all parties involved, Michigan continues to ensure that its legal framework remains responsive and supportive.

Residency and Filing Needs

There are some aspects of divorce in Michigan that you need to know about before proceeding with anything. First off, if one spouse intends to file, that spouse will then be called the ‘Plaintiff.’ The other spouse will be called the ‘Defendant’ in the matter.

Once divorce is eminent, there’s one requirement in the state of Michigan that needs to be met before filing.

• Either party must be a Michigan resident for at least 180 days, and also a resident in the county which the divorce was filed for at least 10 days, prior to filing for divorce.

Reasons for Divorce in Michigan

There are many reasons for it, but for the most part the court simplifies it to one basic standard:

• There Must Be a “Breakdown” of the Marriage With No “Reasonable Likelihood” That Reconciliation is Possible

The Definition of “Legal Separation” Versus “Divorce”

Of course, both parties to a marriage may elect to “legally separate” instead of proceed through a divorce. What’s the difference?

A legal separation is essentially both parties agreeing to go their separate ways without dissolving the marriage. There are many reasons for doing this, one being the need to retain certain benefits within the marriage agreement that would otherwise be discontinued upon a divorce. For instance: medical insurance.

Typically, though, a legal separation does lead to a divorce agreement, in which case all grounds for divorce move forward, as well as the marriage then becomes dissolved in a court of law along with any other benefits and assets, questions of child custody, parenting time, and support (if children are in fact present).

The Primary Documents For a Divorce in Michigan

Ten or twenty documents may be included in the proceeding, not limited to these:

• Summons

• Verified Statement

• Marital Settlement Agreement

• Notice of Hearing

• Record of Divorce or Annulment

• Complaint for Divorce

• Judgment of Divorce

Divorce in Michigan : Property Distribution

When it comes to divorce in Michigan, it’s important to know that the state favors “equitable distribution.” This simply means that all assets are divided equally among both parties regardless of either party’s wishes. Sometimes, though, this doesn’t necessarily mean that “equitable” will be equal. Rather, the word fair is more the proper term to be used when dealing with property distribution.

Typically the court will encourage both the Plaintiff and Defendant to come to an agreement about property distribution. If there’s no agreement, the court will decide.

In addition, the court may also award the wife her former or maiden name upon agreement of the divorce.

Divorce in Michigan : On the Subject of Spousal Support

This issue may only be relevant if the court or both parties see a need for either party to support the other financially for any reason either on a temporary or permanent basis.

Divorce in Michigan : Dealing With Child Custody

Generally speaking, parents can come to an agreement on this matter regarding divorce in Michigan in several ways:

• Joint Physical Custody

• Sole Physical Custody

• Joint Legal Custody

• Sole Physical Custody

“Joint Physical Custody” is essentially sharing custody of the child(ren) in terms of where the child(ren) may live: either in mother’s residence, or father’s residence. Child(ren) retains two addresses. Both parties are equally responsible for the well-being of the child(ren) as well as for the education of the child(ren).

“Sole Physical Custody” is when one party retains physical custody of child(ren) and the other party retains “Visitation Rights.”

“Joint Legal Custody” is when both parents share the right to make important decisions in the life/lives of the child(ren), which may include legal name, lifestyle, needs, etc. etc.

“Sole Legal Custody” is when only one parent retains the right to make important decisions in the life/lives of the child(ren).

Divorce in Michigan : How to Determine Child Support If Necessary

Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support. The Income Shares Model is employed to determine the amount. By combining W2’s and other worksheets, an amount is determined that would best suit the needs of the child(ren) without unfavorable financial problems on the non-custodial party.

Generally speaking, both parties may agree to an amount. But in the event that a Plaintiff and Defendant don’t, the court may utilize state support guidelines to arrive to a decision as to how much support is necessary for the child(ren).