Michigan State Divorce Laws and Resources
U.S. Divorce Laws are enacted by each state using their respective legislative process. Once legislation is enacted into law, the divorce courts in Michigan have the authority to manage the divorce proceedings, including, spousal and child support payments, custodial rights of parents and the division of community property.
Since state laws are repealed and amended frequently, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer before making any important decisions about your marriage. You can also visit the GotTrouble Divorce Resource for a more in-depth understanding of related divorce and family law topics.
As of 2016, all states allow for “no fault” divorce. Yet many courts still factor in the respective parties past behavior when determining the division of community property, debts, custody, support and related issues.
SAME-SEX DIVORCE –UPDATE:
On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states. It follows, therefore, that the rights and obligations between same-sex divorcing parties are subject to the same dissolution laws of that state. Reference: US Supreme Court Opinion: Obergefell v. Hodges. (For more information visit ProCon.org).
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:
To file for a divorce in Michigan, the complainant or defendant must have resided in this state for 180 days immediately preceding the filing of the complaint and resided in the county in which the complaint is filed for 10 days immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.
A person may file a complaint for divorce in any county in the state without meeting the 10-day requirement if all of the following apply and are set forth in the complaint:
- The defendant was born in, or is a citizen of, a country other than the United States of America.
- The parties to the divorce action have a minor child or children.
- There is information that would allow the court to reasonably conclude that the minor child or children are at risk of being taken out of the United States of America and retained in another country by the defendant.
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE – NO FAULT
A divorce will be granted if evidence is presented in open court that there has been a breakdown in 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.
An action for separate maintenance may be filed in the circuit court in the same manner and on the same grounds as an action for divorce. If evidence is presented in open court that there has been a breakdown in 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, the court shall enter:
- A judgment of separate maintenance if a counterclaim for divorce has not been filed.
- A judgment dissolving the bonds of matrimony if a counterclaim for divorce has been filed.
MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS:
The office shall provide, either directly or by contract, domestic relations mediation to assist the parties in settling voluntarily a dispute concerning child custody or parenting time that arises in a friend of the court case. Parties shall not be required to meet with a domestic relations mediator. [Based on Michigan Revised Statutes – Section: 552.513]
Michigan is an equitable distribution state. Upon the annulment of a marriage, a divorce from the bonds of matrimony or a judgment of separate maintenance, the court may make a further judgment for restoring to either party the whole, or such parts as it shall deem just and reasonable, of the real and personal estate that shall have come to either party by reason of the marriage (if it appears from the evidence in the case that the party contributed to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of the property), or for awarding to either party the value thereof, to be paid by either party in money.
Either party may be ordered to pay alimony, both during the pendency of the divorce proceeding and afterwards. An award of alimony may be terminated by the court as of the date the party receiving alimony remarries unless a contrary agreement is specifically stated in the judgment of divorce.
SPOUSE’S LEGAL NAME:
Whenever a decree of divorce is granted, the circuit court may, at the instance of the woman, decree to restore to her her birth name, or the surname she legally bore prior to her marriage to the husband in the divorce action, or allow her to adopt another surname if the change is not sought with any fraudulent or evil intent.
CHILD CUSTODY -BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD
Joint custody is encouraged. In cases where custody is disputed, custody placement will be determined based on the “Best Interests of the Child”.
These factors will include but not limited to:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
- The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
- The moral fitness of the parties involved.
- The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
- The home, school, and community record of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
- The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
- Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
- Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
The court shall order child support in an amount determined by application of the child support formula developed by the state friend of the court bureau.
The court may order child support for the time a child is regularly attending high school on a full-time basis with a reasonable expectation of completing sufficient credits to graduate from high school while residing on a full-time basis with the recipient of support or at an institution, but in no case after the child reaches 19 years and 6 months of age.
ENFORCING CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS – FEDERAL OPTION:
FIND LOCAL FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT AGENCY NEAR YOU
Related Divorce Services And Resources