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The Basics of Michigan Divorce



If you or your spouse is filing for a Michigan divorce, you will want to have a basic understanding of divorce law in Michigan.

This article will explain the fundamentals of Michigan divorce law. In addition, it will help you understand how to hire a divorce attorney in Michigan.

Michigan Divorce Requirements

Before you or your spouse can file for divorce in Michigan, you must meet some basic requirements.

First, to file for a Michigan divorce, you or your spouse must meet the state's residency requirements. Under Michigan divorce law, either you or your spouse must have resided in Michigan for 180 days and in the county in which you file for 10 days.

You or your spouse must also have proper grounds for a divorce. Grounds is the legal term used to mean the reason for your divorce.

In Michigan, either spouse can say there has been a breakdown of the marriage and no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be saved. No other reason for the divorce needs to be cited.

Filing for a Michigan Divorce

One of the parties in the divorce must file a Complaint of Divorce with the proper Circuit Court to initiate the divorce process. If you are filing this paperwork, your Michigan divorce attorney will help you prepare and file the complaint.

Once the complaint is filed with the court, the other spouse will receive a copy of the complaint and given a chance to respond. If the spouse agrees to the grounds for the divorce as well as the terms of the divorce (including child custody, parental visitation and asset and debt allocation), the court can finalize the divorce without a trial. For many couples, this is ideal since trials can last a long time and are usually costly. Even if there is no agreement between the two spouses, your attorney can help you negotiate to come to an agreement and avoid trial.

In the time between when the complaint is filed and the finalization of your divorce, you may request a temporary hearing. A temporary hearing is when you and your spouse go to court and have a judge make temporary decisions regarding child custody, parental visitation, debts, property and spousal support. The judge's temporary order will remain in effect until the judgment in the divorce.

Hiring a Michigan Divorce Attorney

Whether you live in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren or another part of Michigan, you will want to hire a Michigan divorce lawyer to help guide you throughout your case.

The first step in hiring a Michigan divorce lawyer is to find an attorney you may want to hire. One way to do this is to turn to friends and family. Ask those who have gone through a divorce in the past for their recommendations. Were they satisfied with the Michigan divorce lawyer they used? If so, can they provide you with his contact information?

You can also use a site like Attorneys.com. To start the process, fill out the brief form on the website or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few questions, Attorneys.com will connect you with at least one Michigan divorce attorney in your area. The attorney will contact you within two business days, or you can contact the lawyer at your own convenience.

Once you have at least one attorney you are interested in hiring, set up a consultation. The consultation is an initial meeting with the attorney that gives you an opportunity to find out about the lawyer and his practice, tell him about your divorce case and decide whether he is a good fit for you.

You should come prepared to the consultation with a list of questions for the attorney. Questions you should consider asking include:

  • How long has the lawyer handled Michigan divorce cases?
  • Is he a member of any professional organizations?
  • Can he provide you with the names and contact information of past clients you can speak to as references?
  • What does he think of your case?
  • What type of fee arrangement does the lawyer use? How much does he cost?

Also, don't forget to bring a paper and pen to the consultation so you can take notes.

Once you are done meeting with all attorneys you are interested in, you should be able to make a hiring decision. Remember, you should not only pick the lawyer you think is the best fit for your case, but also the lawyer you feel is the best fit for you. After all, you may be working together for months, so you want to make sure you will have a good working relationship.