The Divorce Process in Rochester Hills
Skilled and Experienced Divorce Advocates in Rochester Hills
The divorce process can be straightforward or complex, depending on a number of factors like the cooperation of your spouse and what assets you need to divide. At Little & Boylan PLLC, we have years of divorce law experience and can effectively guide you through your Rochester Hills divorce process. Whether contested or uncontested, your divorce will be in skilled hands at our law firm.
Requirements for Filing for Divorce
To file for divorce in Michigan, either spouse must have lived in Michigan for at least the last 6 months before filing. The filing individual must also submit their request for divorce in circuit court in the county where either spouse has lived for at least 10 days prior to filing. Most people file in the county where they live, but it is also legal to file where the spouse lives.
Note that Michigan has “no-fault” divorce, which means that a person does not have to prove cheating, cruelty, or anything else to get a divorce. At least one spouse must merely testify that there has been a serious, permanent breakdown of the marriage and there is little likelihood for reconciliation. However, do note that although a person doesn’t have to prove fault to get a divorce, a spouse’s behavior during the marriage can impact the outcomes of the divorce. For instance, a judge can consider fault in making decisions about spousal support (alimony) and dividing property.
Filing for Divorce
A divorce case begins when a spouse files a summons, a complaint, and other required papers with the court. After filing the forms in the court clerk's office, they must then serve their spouse with the papers, usually done through another person or registered by certified mail. The served spouse may file an answer to the divorce complaint, which should lay out for the spouse and the judge which parts of the complaint they agree with and which parts they disagree with.
In the case that the served spouse does not file an answer, or if the spouses agree on all the terms of the divorce, they have an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is generally a straightforward process, but the terms of the divorce must still be reasonable and must follow the law for a judge to finalize the settlement.
Note that if spouses have children together, there is a 6-month waiting period before the divorce can be finished. The waiting period begins when they file the divorce. The judge can shorten the waiting period if the couple shows that waiting the full 180 days to finish the divorce would cause an unusual hardship to them or their children or for other compelling reasons. However, the judge cannot make the total waiting period less than 60 days. To petition for a shortened waiting period, spouses must file a Motion to Waive the Statutory Waiting Period, where they should explain why their situation involves unusual hardship or another urgent reason for finalizing the divorce before the end of the full waiting period.
Individuals may be referred to a mediator during the waiting period in their case. The mediator is often assigned to help spouses reach an agreement about the issues in their case, from child custody to property division. However, if there has been evidence of domestic violence in the marriage, mediation will not be recommended, and a person should let the court know if they have a personal protection order or if they are afraid to negotiate with their spouse.
Dismissals and Finalizing the Divorce
While the divorce is pending and a person decides they do not want to get divorced, they can file a Dismissal without their spouse’s signature if the spouse has not already filed an answer. If the spouse has filed an answer or motion in the case, the person can only file a Dismissal if both partners both sign the dismissal.
If a couple does seek to finalize their divorce, the judge will evaluate their situation in trial and order an agreement if the spouses cannot agree on one themselves in mediation. After the agreement or a trial, the judge will sign a Judgment of Divorce, which will end the marriage and state what the spouses must do regarding child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support (alimony), and property and debt division.
Seek an Experienced Divorce Attorney
If you are interested in filing for divorce in Rochester Hills, Michigan, consult an experience divorce attorney for legal guidance throughout the process. It is critical to work with a legal professional to best streamline the divorce process, as a good lawyer can help you negotiate fair terms of your divorce agreement, from child custody to asset division, and represent you if the case goes to trial.