What You Need to Know About the Texas Divorce Process

Partners seeking a divorce must adhere to the process outlined by the state in which they live. Here’s everything you need to know about the seven steps to the Michigan divorce process. 

The filing spouse is the petitioner, and the receiving spouse is the respondent. To file for divorce in Michigan, the petitioner must fill out court forms, have them reviewed, make copies of the forms, file the papers with the court clerk, serve the forms, and make a declaration of disclosure. After filing for divorce, the respondent has 30 days to respond, after which the next steps of divorce can proceed.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility to File for a Divorce in Michigan

One of the first steps necessary to file for divorce in Michigan is to locate the proper court where to file for divorce. To file for a divorce in Michigan, the law requires the petitioner to reside within the state for at least 180 days before filing, and within the county where the case is filed for at least 10 days before filing. 

If one partner does not live in Michigan, but their spouse does, they can file a suit for divorce in the Michigan country the spouse lives in. 

Step 2: Negotiate temporary agreements

If there are children involved in the divorce, parties may need to set terms for child custody, visitation rights, child support, and spousal support during the separation period. Parties unable to reach a temporary agreement can file legal separation and ask a Michigan family court judge to decide for them.

Related: Contested and Uncontested Divorce: The Difference

Many couples attend pre-divorce mediation to negotiate a property settlement agreement to decide on property division and any support payments after the divorce.

If parties resolve these issues ahead of time, a divorce attorney may indicate this in their initial complaint to speed up the divorce process.

Step 3: Fill Out the Court Forms

Fill out the following forms to formally begin the divorce process: 

Step 4: Have a Lawyer Review the Court Forms

Consult a lawyer to review the forms. An experienced attorney from Her Lawyer can help answer questions and correct any mistakes on the forms to prevent future issues.

Related: No-Fault Vs Fault-Based Divorce: The Difference

Step 5: File and Serve the First Set of Forms

Make at least 2 copies of each before turning them into the court. One copy is for the petitioner, one is for the respondent, and the original forms are for the court.

Bring the original forms and the 2 copies to the court. File them with the District or County Court at the Law Clerk. In Michigan, there is a fee of between $150 and $300 to file for divorce, however, fee waivers are available. If a petitioner is unable to afford the fee, they may fill out an Affidavit of Indigency to waive the filing fee. The clerk will “file-stamp” the copies with the date and time they were turned in and return them to the petitioner while keeping the original form.

There are three ways to give legal notice that a spouse has filed for divorce in Michigan.

 By Waiver of Service – Mail a “file-stamped” copy of the Original Petition for Divorce and a blank Waiver of Service form to the spouse

  • By Official Service of Process – The clerk will assist the petitioner with having a constable, sheriff, or private process server handle the “serving” of the Original Petition for Divorce. There is an additional fee for this service.`
  • By Posting or Publication. If a petitioner does not know where their spouse is, they may give legal notice by posting the paperwork at the courthouse or publishing a legal notice in the newspaper.

Step 6: Prepare for Court and Discovery

In Michigan divorces, the courts require full disclosure of the parties’ assets. During Discovery, each party is required to disclose all of their assets.

During and after Discovery, the parties will attempt to reach a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the Judge will appoint a mediator, who will work with the parties to try and reach a settlement. 

Step 7: The Final Divorce Decree and Receiving the Judgment of Divorce

Spouses must then fill out the Final Decree of Divorce. Once the judge signs this form and it is filed at the clerk’s office, the divorce may be finalized. The respondent must sign the Final Decree of Divorce if they filed an Answer to the petitioner’s legal notice of divorce.

Once 61 days have passed since the petitioner filed the Original Petition for Divorce, the divorce can be finalized. Bring all copies of the forms to court for the judge to sign off. 

FAQs About the 7 Steps to the Michigan Divorce Process

What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce in Michigan?

An uncontested divorce means that both spouses agree on all the key terms of the divorce, such as child custody, division of marital assets, and alimony. In legal terms, when spouses cannot agree on one or more of these terms, the divorce becomes “contested”. In other words, the dispute must be settled in court. 

When is a divorce final in Michigan?

A divorce is considered finalized once the final decree of divorce has been signed by the petitioner, the respondent, any participating attorneys, and ultimately the judge. Once the divorce order has been signed by a judge, and once filed with the clerk, the divorce is final.

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