Understanding the Michigan Divorce Process – Macomb County Divorce Lawyer
In order to obtain a divorce in Michigan, a lot of paperwork must be filed and many steps must be carefully taken. You are not required to have a lawyer to file a divorce – but without an experienced family law attorney it is very easy to make a mistake that will either get your divorce “thrown out” or end up with a result you do not want.
A complaint must be filed at the Circuit Court. This is not a “form”. It is a “legal pleading” that is drafted from scratch. To be done properly it must state many things such as the legally relevant circumstances of the divorce and the desired request for custody, support, visitation, alimony, property split, etc.
A filing fee must be paid to the Court. The fee is $150* without minor children and $230* with minor children of the marriage under the age of 18. (*Note: These divorce filing fees are current as of Jan., 2015. Fees are occasionally increased by the Courts).
A summons must be issued, and the other spouse must be “served” properly. A Proof of Service must also be filed with the court to verify that the other spouse received the divorce papers.
What happens beyond this point will depend upon if your spouse responds with the proper time period. A spouse has 21 days to file an “Answer” (if served in person); or, 28 days to file an “Answer” (if served by mail).
If an Answer is not filed in a timely fashion, the spouse who filed for divorce can request a “Default Judgment” (automatic “win”).
If the spouse who was served files a timely Answer, the spouses’ lawyers will then try to work out a “settlement” (agreement) between the two parties. This may involve, among other things: Filing motions; Collecting evidence such as financial records, medical records, etc.; Scheduling hearings; Mailing out “Interrogatories” (questions answered on paper under oath); Conducting “Depositions” (questions answered in person under oath).
If after all of this the two spouses can agree on the terms, one of the lawyers will prepare a Judgment of Divorce. Both spouses must sign the Judgment of Divorce and it must be entered before the Judge.
If after all of this the two spouses cannot agree on the terms, a divorce trial before a judge will be entered and the Judge will issue an Order stating the terms of the divorce.
If there are minor children, the Divorce Judgment /Divorce Order will also specify child custody, child support, and child visitation time (parenting time).
(*Note: In Michigan, the “Friend of the Court” is the office of the Court that makes evaluations & recommendations regarding child support, custody, and parenting time.)
There are many complicated steps involved in obtaining a divorce. The best way to ensure that you will obtain the property division, spousal support, child support, custody and visitation arrangement that you deserve, is to hire a highly experienced and skilled divorce lawyer to fight for your rights.
Our Experienced Macomb County Divorce Lawyers Can Help
Experienced family law attorney Justin Vande Vrede has successfully represented hundreds of individuals in their Michigan No Fault divorces. He will offer you compassionate advice and aggressive representation at affordable rates, to ensure that your rights are always protected in your divorce matter. Call Justin Vande Vrede today for a free, confidential consultation.