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What is the Procedure for Filing for Divorce?

Michigan divorceBefore filing for divorce, a party must reside in the State of Michigan for at least 180 days preceding the filing of the complaint and must reside in the county where the complaint is filed for at least 10 days preceding the filing of the complaint.  For example, a person who wants to file for divorce in Oakland County needs to have been a resident of Oakland County for at least ten days and a resident of the State of Michigan for at least 180 days before s/he can file a complaint for divorce.

How to Start a Divorce in Michigan

The Complaint for Divorce begins the divorce action. The party that files the complaint is the Plaintiff and the other party is the Defendant. The Complaint states the facts of the case and the relief that the filing party is seeking. For example, the Plaintiff will state how s/he believes custody of the minor children, child support, property settlement, spousal support, etc., should be determined.

 Along with the Complaint, the Plaintiff is required to serve the Defendant with the Summons. The Summons notifies the other party that a divorce action has begun and informs him/her where and when to answer and that a default may be entered if no action is taken. It is best to serve the Summons and Complaint through a private process server to ensure the other party receives the documents. 

Friend of the Court 

The Plaintiff is also required to inform the Friend of the Court of facts about child or spousal support through a “Verified Statement to the Friend of the Court.” This form is only necessary if the parties have minor children or are seeking spousal support.

Record of Divorce

The Plaintiff will be required to submit a “Record of Divorce,” which is a document required by the Michigan Department of Health. Depending on the Court, this may be filed at the beginning of the case or the conclusion of the case.

Uncontested Divorce

The course the divorce takes depends on the particular case. If the Defendant does not respond to the divorce complaint, the Plaintiff may seek a default against the Defendant. If the Defendant does respond, the Plaintiff and Defendant will try to resolve the case through a “settlement.” The parties will try to agree on issues, such as child custody, child support, parenting time, spousal support, property settlement, etc. There will be a variety of court intervention to assist the parties in resolving these issues, such as friend of the court interviews and recommendations, settlement conferences, status conferences, mediation, arbitration, etc. If the parties cannot resolve these issues, they will go to trial, where the Judge will determine the outstanding issues.

Judgment of Divorce

A Judgment of Divorce is the document that actually grants you a divorce. It will provide for custody, child support, parenting time, spousal support, property division, etc.  It is not until the Judgment of Divorce is signed by the Judge and entered with the Court that you are divorced.

 Free Consultation with a Divorce Attorney

For more information about divorce and family law, or to retain Hermiz Law, PLC, please call us at 248-825-8042.

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Madana M. Hermiz, Esq. in Family Law