Michigan Divorce Steps

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Michigan is a state which puts the condition of six months residence for an applicant who wishes to apply for a divorce. Like other states, this state also has its own laws for granting a divorce. The county court in which a petitioner resides or a county courthouse in which a spouse of the Plaintiff resides are two options where a divorce case can be filed. Here, are some points which describe divorce procedure in detail.

Michigan Divorce Steps from initiation till Service

  • The initial divorce step is that one of the divorcing partners files a Complaint for divorce. This partner is termed as a Plaintiff. The Plaintiff must sign this Complaint and include the following data:
    • Names of the partners and their children
    • Date of marriage and separation
    • Statement that the marital relation has broken down
    • The residency requirements have been fulfilled

  • If the divorcing partners have any minor children, it is compulsory that the Plaintiff must sign a Verified Statement. This document comprises of the following information and must be provided to the Friend of the Court:
    • Names and addresses of the partners
    • Names and addresses of the employers of the partners
    • Health care information of the minor children

  • The Plaintiff can enter Ex Parte Orders along with the Complaint. Based on the allegations of the Plaintiff, the court issues these orders. Such orders are effective in the following context:
    • Establishment of temporary parenting time, child support, custody and other issues pertaining to children
    • Compulsion to the partners to continue input towards maintenance of the marital residence
    • Prevention regarding dissipation of assets

  • If the divorce is amicable, it is advisable to serve the divorce documents (Complaint and Ex Parte Orders) personally. In this situation, the Plaintiff can ensure that the Defendant signs the Acknowledgement of Service

  • If the Defendant is not co-operative, then a process server can be hired to perform the service.
Michigan Divorce Steps after Service till Judgment:
  • The court allocates twenty one days after the date of service to the Defendant to file an Answer (that is A Response) with the court

  • The court expects the Defendant to either accede to or refuse the allegations in the Complaint

  • When the Defendant does not file an Answer, the court terms this as a default and the Defendant cannot contest any issues in the case, except one as mentioned in the next point

  • As per Michigan Law, the Judge must conclude that the property settlement is fair and equitable. A Defendant in default is free to contest a property settlement

  • The Oakland County in this state has made the following process binding on the parties. If the divorcing couple has minor children, then, fifty six days after the filing date of the Complaint, the partners must attend EIC (Early Intervention Conference) in the presence of a Friend of the Court Referee. These partners are given an overview of the Friend of the Court. This referee tries to resolve any unresolved temporary issues

    The divorcing partners of all divorces should remain present for SMILE (Start Making It Livable for Everyone) program. The aim of this program is to help the partners to decrease the impact of the divorce on their children. It assists and trains them for handling situations after divorce.

  • Then, the Discovery Step is taken. Depositions (a lawyer asks the partners questions face to face) and Interrogatories (written questions) are used. The partners can procure financial data from investment firms and banks as well as pension and salary information from employers

  • It may happen that a partner willfully suppresses an asset during divorce steps. Although, this asset is discovered after the divorce has been finalized and the Judgment has been entered, the Judge can award the entire asset to the opposite partner

  • The Judge advises that the services of an arbitrator or a mediator might be taken to reach an agreement

  • If the partners reach an agreement, a brief court hearing is scheduled. One of the partners testifies the allegations in the divorce and the terms of the Judgment

  • When the Judge signs the Judgment, the partners are considered as divorced

This is the common manner in which a termination of marriage is handled in this state. Some specifications in procedure may vary according to the requirement of a particular case. While filing for divorce, it is important to know the details and legal formalities that will help to achieve a better deal.

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