General Information

General Information on Michigan Divorce Law

Because Michigan is a “No-Fault Divorce” State, you or your spouse can get a divorce simply by stating that there has been a breakdown in the marriage relationship and it is unlikely the two of you can get back together. So, an attorney cannot stop the divorce from happening. However, the assistance of a good attorney is invaluable in resolving the real issues in a divorce case: child custody, visitation or parenting time, child support, property division, and alimony.

The divorce starts with the Summons and Complaint. If you start the divorce, you will be filing those documents. If your spouse started the case, you will be served with those documents. In cases involving children, a temporary order regarding child custody and support is usually served with the summons and complaint. If that order is unfair, objections need to be filed quickly. Late or improper replies to these documents can result in the loss of substantial rights. If there is no such order and there should be, then we need to act quickly to get custody, parenting time and child support started as soon as possible.

In many cases, prompt actions must be taken early in the divorce proceeding. Temporary custody must be decided when disputed. Visitation rights may need to be protected. The right child support amount must be set on a temporary basis. Injunctions may be necessary to protect against the loss of property or an abusive spouse. Temporary alimony may or may not be appropriate.

Once any problems with temporary orders are addressed, good representation during a divorce case is aimed at fairly resolving all differences, if possible. Shared custody or ample visitation may resolve a custody dispute, for example. All assets and liabilities should be identified and settlement options explored. If an agreement acceptable to both is reached, it must be reduced to writing in a way which protects your interests. If settlement does not occur, good trial preparation is the key to success. The collection of all information necessary to achieve an acceptable settlement is also necessary to good representation at trial.

The divorce is finalized through the Divorce Judgment. Other documents, such as deeds or Qualified Domestic Relations Orders regarding pensions or retirement plans may also be necessary. A misstep at this juncture can affect your rights later. A Judgment of Divorce must be drafted properly to protect all that has been achieved.

Additional legal action may need to be taken even after the divorce is finalized. Often, certain legal documents need to be prepared after Judgment to comply with the provisions of the Judgment. And, since child custody, support, visitation and certain types of alimony can be changed, subsequent legal action may be necessary. 

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