Like most states, residents of the State of Michigan can expect divorce laws that are specific to their state. These state-specific laws may make it more difficult to determine what is applicable in your state. However, fortunately, it is fairly easy to find free information about Michigan divorce laws. The process of finding this information is even easier for you because we have done the legwork for you and compiled some of the most important divorce information for the State of Michigan here for you.
Michigan Residency Requirements
Michigan requires that all individuals filing for divorce be state residents for a minimum of one hundred eighty days prior to filing for a divorce. All divorce petitions are to be sent to the Michigan Judicial Circuit Court in the county where one or both of the individuals reside.
An individual is also required to live in a specific county for a minimum of ten days before he or she can file for a divorce in that county. Michigan has certain stipulations of residency that can eliminate this ten-day requirement. An individual must not be a United States citizen or be born in the United States, he or she must have a child under the age of eighteen produced through the marriage, and the child must be at risk if he or she were to be taken out of the United States. If not all portions of these stipulations do apply then a divorce can be denied.
The residency requirements for filing for divorce in the State of Michigan are rather relaxed. In order to file for divorce and win a judgment in the State of Michigan, one party must have resided in the state for a minimum of 180 days prior to the filing for divorce. In addition to this requirement, one of the parties must have also been a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at least ten days prior to when the petition was filed. These laws are considered rather lenient because some counties require significantly longer residency before a divorce petition can be filed. There are also some extenuating circumstances that may result in this ten-day requirement being waived. Some of these circumstances include a complainant or defendant who was born in another country or is a citizen of another country or there is reason to believe a child of the marriage may be taken out of the country by one of the parents.
Michigan Divorce Grounds
The legal grounds for divorce in the state of Michigan are also rather lenient. This law is based on the Michigan Revised Statutes – Section: 552.7 and states the marriage can be dissolved if there is reasonable evidence the marriage relationship has been destroyed and is not likely to be repaired. There are also laws in place to ensure the couple will not be required to meet with a domestic relationships mediator in lieu of granting a divorce to the couple.
The United States requires that every divorce have grounds for which a divorce will stand. These are the reasons why the individuals want a divorce. Unlike other states that have various reasons and grounds for divorce, Michigan has only one ground for which divorce is legal.
Under this ground, the individuals must show evidence to the court that the marriage is irretrievable under all circumstances. It must also be shown to the court that the marriage is otherwise destroyed. One individual may petition for divorce and will have to prove his or her evidence to the court or both individuals may petition together.
Michigan Required Counseling
The court may order counseling for the divorcing individuals if disputes need to be handled. Such disputes can include child custody matters and visitation rights. Under counseling, the individuals will meet with a domestic relations mediator to handle the counseling session. The court may also mandate discussions without a domestic relations mediator.
The state of Michigan is considered to be an equitable distribution state. This means that all the property acquired through the marriage will not necessary be split evenly between the spouses, but fairly instead.
If the individuals involved cannot divide the property themselves, the court will have the liberty to do so. The Michigan court will consider which spouse brought what property in the marriage and why. Portions of the property may be distributed through money means instead. The court will also consider which spouse has custody of any subsequent children and determine if he or she should be awarded the family home.
Child Custody and Child Support in the State of Michigan
Michigan is a state which encourages joint custody of children in a divorce. However, when there is a custody dispute, the court will intervene to make a judgment in the best interest of the child. Some of the factors the court will consider in making this judgment are:
- The emotional ties the child has with the parents
- The ability of both parents to continue to provide love, education, and religious guidance for the child.
- The ability of both parents to provide the child with basic needs such as food, clothing, and medical care
- The amount of time the child has lived in the current environment and the stability of that environment
- The health of the parents both mentally and physically
- The preferences of the child, if the court deems the child is of age to offer an opinion and express a preference
- The willingness of both parents to allow the other parent to foster a relationship with the child.
- Whether or not there is a history of any type of domestic abuse
Either parent may be required to pay child support to contribute to the financial support of the child. The amount of child support awarded is based on the Michigan Child Support Formula. Child support may be awarded until the child graduates from high school as long as the child is on track to graduate before the age of 19.
In every Michigan divorce the court will decide if spousal support needs to be paid. The court will consider in awarding spousal support is in favor of the individuals.
The court will also consider how the spousal support will be used, if in the maintenance of personal needs or for the maintenance of awarded property. Spousal support is not awarded in every divorce case. The court is not required to award spousal support simply because one individual requested it.