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Divorce in Michigan

Contemplating divorce is always difficult. Whether you are sure you want to end your marriage or are still considering your options, it helps to learn the basics of divorce law and process. The information contained in the following pages is designed to provide that basic information. 173382_7120 (13K)

A divorce is a decree by a court that terminates a marriage. It generally provides for division of marital property and debts and makes arrangements for child custody, visitation and support. Basically, there are two types of divorces: uncontested and contested. An uncontested divorce is, as the name would imply, dissolution of marriage in which all issues are fully agreed upon by the parties without the assistance of counsel. Conversely, a contested divorce has at least one issue which must be resolved. In Michigan, a divorce is initiated by either the husband or wife filing a complaint and summons with the Circuit Court. The complaint and summons must be served on the other party who has a reasonable time (usually 21 days) to respond by filing an answer with the court.

Most divorces do not end up in a contested trial. Usually the parties, with the help of their attorneys, negotiate and settle such things as division of property, spousal support, and child custody between themselves. Sometimes the process of mediation is utilized to help resolve contentious issues. Here, both parties with their attorneys meet with a trained mediator who tries to help both parties recognize and accommodate common interests. If the parties come to an agreement through mediation, a judgment incorporating the agreement is prepared and presented to the Judge.

If the parties have minor children, one of the most contentious issues may be the determination of child custody and visitation. Although one parent may be granted physical custody of the minor children the other parent will normally be granted visitation in order to maintain a "sustained and continuing relationship" with the minor children.

Finally, if there are minor children, the court will determine the amount of child support that must be paid, typically by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. Such child support is typically based on child support guidelines established by the legislature.

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Debt Relief Agency

We are a Macomb County Law Firm as well as a Debt Relief Agency helping people file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code.


Information provided on Legal issues and bankruptcy questions are frequently complex and individual. The information contained here is intended to be educational only: it is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney client relationship between the viewer and the firm.