Divorce is never a pleasant experience and can often lead to high anxiety and stress levels. Whatever the reasons for the break up of the marriage, there are numerous legal aspects to any divorce that need to be addressed.
Even when there is some degree of amicable agreement to the process, it is worth seeking legal representation to protect your best interests, especially when there are children involved and you have to think about things like child support, custody, and parenting time. And if there is a history of domestic violence in the relationship, then you want a law firm and a divorce lawyer who is empathic and understanding and who can not only support you in the divorce but signpost you to services who can help.
How We Can Fight for You as a Woman
There are a number of areas related to your divorce that will concern you. What will happen regarding child custody and parenting time? Will you receive alimony? What happens to any assets in the marital estate? With many years of experience in family law, our staff is perfectly placed to offer legal advice and represent you at any mediation or court hearings.
Michigan usually treats divorce cases equitably. What that means is that the judge only favors one partner over the other where there is financial disparity or where there are extenuating circumstances. So, for example, if you had given up a good career to look after any children, then the judge will look at how long it may take you to achieve financial independence. His decision on that factor will decide how much alimony you will receive and for how long.
With children, the court considers what is known as best interest of the child factors. These will help decide in cases involving minor children – along with other factors – custody decisions, child support orders, marital property and property division, and parenting time and access rights. Where there is a history of domestic abuse, the judge will take that into consideration and may only allow the father supervised access to their children. This is covered in the best interests of the child factors and the relevant note is listed below.
“ (k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.”
Our team will support you through every stage of the process with legal advice and representation.
Cost of Divorce
In Michigan, a non-contested divorce can cost around $1,200 to $1,500. If the divorce is contested, then those costs start at around $5,000. And, of course, if there are several aspects to the case such as division of any businesses or child custody battles, then the time spent on the case by your family law attorney increases leading to more costs.
But if you are experiencing financial hardship, you may be entitled to legal aid. As we offer a free initial consultation, this is something you can ask your lawyer about at that stage.
How Does Divorce Work in Michigan?
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you only need to claim that the marriage has broken down. No evidence is needed for any fault on either parties’ part.
However, when it comes to elements of the divorce such as child custody, child support, and spousal support, the judge may take any fault into account when making a decision.
How Is Jurisdiction Determined in Michigan?
There are two types of jurisdiction in Michigan for divorce cases. The first is residential jurisdiction. This requires that the person filing for divorce must have lived in Michigan for a minimum period of 180 days prior to filing. They also have to have been resident in the country where they file for a minimum of 10 days. An exception to these rules is where there are children from the marriage and the other parent has citizenship rights in another country. In these cases, there is a risk of the former spouse returning to their other country of citizenship with the children.
The other type of jurisdiction is personal jurisdiction. This refers to the court’s ability to make decisions regarding a particular party. For this type of jurisdiction to apply, the defendant must be served with the details (summons and complaint) of the divorce case. This is usually straightforward, but in some cases may present some issues. For example, if the defendant lives in a different state, they will be given extra time to respond.
How Long Will the Divorce Process Take?
If there are no children involved in the case, the minimum period for a divorce to be granted is 60 days. Where children are involved, that period is 180 days. It is important to note that these are minimum periods and the reality is that the entire process may take a lot longer depending on the circumstances of the case.
How Do I Begin the Divorce Process?
If your divorce is uncontested, and there is an amicable agreement on all related matters, then the process is simple and can be done yourself. However, in the majority of cases, people prefer to have a family law attorney involved so that any decisions are protected by state law.
The process begins when the complaint, summons, and any other required documents are filed with the court. Once they are filed with the court clerk’s office, the next step is for your partner to be served with those papers. This latter part is usually accomplished by having a third party hand all papers to your spouse in person, though it can also be done by services such as registered mail.
Does it matter who files first?
Generally, no, it does not matter who files first. However, if you are worried that your partner may attempt to liquidate part or all of the marital estate or other assets you may be entitled to a portion of, then you should file first. You should then ask your attorney to request an ex parte order from the court which prevents your spouse from taking various actions.
My Final Thoughts
We like to nurture a good attorney-client relationship as while we are here as your legal representative, we also fully understand the emotional stress caused by divorce proceedings. We can guide you through the intricacies of the court system at any level including circuit courts. And we are here to offer legal advice on any matter related to the process when needed.
You want to choose an attorney with the experience and knowledge to competently represent you. Our law office is located in Troy in Oakland County, and we offer an initial free consultation to discuss your case and to advise you on the best strategies to achieve a positive outcome for you and for any children involved in the divorce. If you would like to arrange that free appointment, please call our office today on (248) 688-0045.