Frequently Asked Questions

What is a no-fault divorce?

This means that neither you nor your spouse is required to prove that the other is “at fault” in order to be granted a divorce. Factors such as infidelity, cruelty or abandonment are not necessary to obtain a divorce in Michigan. Rather, one only must prove that there is a “breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood the marriage can be preserved.”

What information should I take with me to the first meeting with my attorney?

If a court proceeding such as a divorce or a protection order has already been initiated by you or your spouse, it is important to bring copies of any court documents.

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with your spouse, that is another important document for you to bring at the outset of your case.

If you intend to ask for support, either for yourself or for your children, documents evidencing income for both you and your spouse will also be helpful. These might include:

  • Recent pay stubs
  • Individual and business tax returns, W-2s and 1099s
  • Bank statements showing deposits
  • A statement of your monthly budget.

Is there a waiting period for a divorce in Michigan?

Michigan has a mandatory 60-day waiting period in cases without minor children, and a six-month waiting period inn cases with minor children. The waiting period begins on the day that the complaint for a divorce is filed.

How long must I have lived in Michigan to get a divorce in the state?

Either you or your spouse must have been a resident of Michigan for 180 days immediately preceding the filing of the complaint for divorce to meet the residency requirement for a divorce in Michigan.

How will I know if I am eligible to receive alimony?

Every case for alimony is unique. Providing your lawyer with clear and detailed information about the facts of your marriage and current situation will allow him/her to make an alimony assessment in your case.

What determines whether I will get child support?

Whether you will receive child support depends upon a number of factors, which may include how much time your child is living in your household, which parent has custody, and each parent’s ability to pay support.

What system does Michigan use for dividing property?

Michigan law provides for an equitable or fair — but not necessarily equal — division of the property and debts acquired during your marriage. The court will consider a number of factors, including your debts, the economic circumstances of you and your spouse, and the history of contributions to the marriage.

Book: Divorce in Michigan: The Legal Process, Your Rights, and What to Expect

by John F. Schaefer Esq.

Providing accurate and objective information to help make the right decisions during a divorce in Michigan, this guide provides answers to 360 queries such as What is the mediation process in Michigan and is it required? How quickly can one get a divorce? Who decides who gets the cars, the pets, and the house? What actions might influence child custody? How are bills divided and paid during the divorce? How much will a divorce cost? and Will a spouse have to pay some or all attorney fees? Structured in a question-and-answer format, this divorce handbook provides clear and concise responses to help build confidence and give the peace of mind needed to meet the challenges of a divorce proceeding.