Divorce laws in Michigan

Once a couple concludes that their marriage cannot be preserved anymore, they will need to learn about the divorce process. We created this overview of the laws for you to consult before you take your first step and file a claim.

How to divorce in the USA: MI divorce laws

The legislation of Michigan regarding the divorce process covers a certain range of issues from property rights to child custody. All stages of the process are covered in Michigan Compiled Laws § 552. This section explains the requirements, length of waiting period, grounds for divorce, etc. Here you can find the definitions of terms such as “plaintiff” (the person who initiates the divorce process), “defendant” (the one who answers) and how they interact with each other.

Divorce law in Michigan also proposes other forms of dealing with a failing marriage: an annulment of marriage and a legal separation. The latter provides the opportunity to stay married but live separately after the court order.

Michigan divorce law: Property division and adultery

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Regarding the division of property during the divorce process, Michigan state law treats adultery seriously. It is a criminal crime in the state and can be considered a sufficient reason for providing alimony.

By “alimony” we mean the financial support of the spouse. It is usually granted as a part of the division of property. Yet Michigan divorce laws on alimony state no specific formula for granting support to another spouse or rejecting it. This type of aid differs from children’s alimony by being decided upon a case-by-case basis since various factors, besides adultery, are involved in making this decision.

The plaintiff who wishes to receive alimony due to adultery must submit a criminal complaint within a year of the incident. No other proof is needed (see the last section of this article).

Keep in mind that the amount of alimony may be less than you expect and may not be permanent. The factors that affect its amount and length are the duration of marriage, the ability of the spouse to pay, the age of spouses, their ability to work, and their health and needs. If there’s no financial ability to pay the determined sum, alimony is granted in the form of real estate, assets and so on from the previous division of property.

Additionally, Michigan Penal Code adjudges imprisonment for adultery (Michigan divorce laws do not regulate such offenses). The norm of law also states “another interim measure” which makes this rule a bit vague and leaves it to the judge’s discretion.

The Michigan divorce process

The divorce process in Michigan involves a number of stages. During the first stage the parties need to familiarize themselves with the divorce laws of Michigan. You can do so by reading this article and visiting our FAQs section. After that, both spouses need to check whether they meet the requirements for filing in the state of Michigan. Divorce laws here consider the residency as met if one spouse has lived in the county for at least 10 days and at least 6 months in the state before filing.

The second stage is completing the necessary documents. On our website, you can collect all the necessary forms, fill them out entirely and print. For consultation on completing the forms, chat with us online.

Your next step is to pay the filing fee (to see the amount of fees, go to our FAQs section). Then you should submit the documents to the court and wait for the result. If you have reconciled all matters with your spouse prior to starting the whole process, there will be no hearing and the decision will be announced sooner.

Grounds for divorce in Michigan

According to local legislation, Michigan is considered a “no-fault” state. Thus, the couple does not need to provide proof of irreversible breakdown of the marriage, e.g. abandonment for a certain amount of time, etc. Still, the reasons for divorce should be provided. A sufficient reason for the Michigan legislation is an “irretrievable breakdown” experienced by the couple. By stating this ground, the parties mean that the discords in the marital relationship will not allow it to last any longer. Remember to describe the grounds only in statutory language. Detailed information about the wording of the grounds can be found in § 552 Section 1 of Michigan Compiled Laws.

States divorce law