Approximately half the number of people who get married in Michigan each year are at the opposite end of matrimony and are getting divorced. According to statistics from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in 2018, 56,374 Michigan residents were married and 28,186 were divorced. The marriage rate was 11.3 persons per 1,000 population, and the divorce rate 5.6 per 1,000.
No matter how you slice those numbers or ratios, it appears that if you marry, there is a 50 percent chance that your marriage may end in divorce.
Michigan makes ending a marriage an easy proposition since it offers no-fault divorce. You don't need to cite a cause or failure on the part of your spouse to end your marriage. You just need to cite irreconcilable differences – “breakdown of the marriage relationship” – with no chance of reconciliation.
If you are contemplating divorce or have already filed, contact me at Family Focus Law. As a family law and divorce attorney, I am committed to providing outstanding legal services and guiding individuals and families through the complexities of divorce proceedings. I can work with you to achieve an uncontested divorce, or I can represent you in court should it come to that. Together, we can discuss your unique situation and explore your legal options. Family Focus Law proudly serves clients located in the Grosse Pointe and surrounding Metro Detroit areas.
Divorce Law in Michigan
As mentioned above, Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. Michigan Compiled Laws Section 552.6 states:
“A complaint for divorce may be filed in the circuit court upon the allegation that there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. In the complaint, the plaintiff shall make no other explanation of the grounds for divorce than by the use of the statutory language.”
The key phrases are “breakdown of the marriage” and “no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.”
Filing for Divorce in Michigan
There is a 180-day residency requirement to file for divorce in Michigan. If that has been met, either spouse can file a complaint for divorce with the nearest circuit court.
The complaint should specify details such as the date of the marriage, whether there are children, whether there is marital property, whether one spouse wants spousal support, and most of all, the statement that there has been a breakdown in the marriage.
The court will then issue a 60-day waiting period before hearing the divorce case if there are no children or a 180-day waiting period if there are minor children. The delay is meant to allow time for the couple to work out the details of the divorce on their own. If there is evidence of domestic violence or child abuse, the court may shorten the period to 30 days, but the period is never less than 30 days.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
A contested divorce means the spouses cannot agree on the terms of the settlement regarding issues like division of assets, custody of the children, visitation or parenting time rights, and child or spousal support. An uncontested divorce means the couples have worked out a settlement on their own under Michigan's Consent Judgment Law, which must be done with the assistance of an attorney who takes neither spouse's side in the settlement.
An uncontested divorce not only saves the expense of a courtroom battle with endless motions by attorneys for each spouse, but it also means that you have to appear in court only once to present your settlement agreement. Beyond that, it saves you from having to air your “dirty laundry” in a courtroom setting so that it becomes public.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
If you work out a divorce settlement, an uncontested divorce can be over fairly quickly, keeping in mind the waiting periods involved (30 days if there are no children and 180 days if there are children). Reaching an agreement in 30 days might be challenging.
Without children, an uncontested divorce might take two to six months; with children, it might take six to twelve months.
If it's a contested divorce, proceedings cannot even begin until the waiting period lapses, and then several factors will weigh in, including court scheduling and how acrimonious the proceedings are.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Most divorces are decided outside of court. Unless you're a newly married couple with no children and virtually no accumulated assets, you really need the help of a family law and divorce attorney.
An uncontested divorce will save not only time but also money. If you go to court, you'll likely be paying your attorney an hourly fee, whereas using the Consent Judgment Law to reach an agreement should reduce your attorney fees dramatically. Plus, you will save yourself the trauma of facing off in court.
Divorce Attorney in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan
My goal is to help find an amicable solution to your divorce, and I'll happily work with you on developing a mutually beneficial settlement agreement. If you need to go to court, I will proudly represent you and work toward the best possible outcome. If you live in Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Shores, or Metro Detroit areas of Michigan, and are considering divorce or have taken the first step by filing, call me at Family Focus Law today for a free consultation by phone.