Many couples in Michigan disagree about one or more aspects of their divorce. The disagreement may be about with whom the children live, or it may be about who gets the marital home. In some cases, couples have substantial high-value assets, including family businesses and pension plans, and they may have heated disputes over who should get each of them. Property distribution, alimony, child custody, and child support should all be addressed as appropriate during a divorce. Not all divorces need to be unpleasant, but people going through this process usually benefit from the involvement of an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney who can help provide sound legal counsel about a spouse's rights and obligations. Grand Rapids and Traverse City divorce lawyer Kelly Neumann can assist Michigan residents who are trying to navigate a family law proceeding.Seeking a Divorce
If you are considering a divorce, you should be aware of the residency requirement. Your spouse or you must have lived in Michigan for 180 days before filing, and in the county where you are filing for 10 days immediately prior to filing. However, there is an exception when the non-filing spouse is not a U.S. citizen or was born in another country, and the parties have a minor child together. The rationale is that the court may reasonably conclude that the children are at risk of being removed from the U.S. by the non-filing spouse.
In a divorce, the filing spouse is the plaintiff, and the responding spouse is the defendant. The opening paperwork is a complaint for divorce, and in response to this, the defendant must file an answer. When couples do not have minor children, the courts wait 60 days before granting a divorce. However, couples who do have minor children must wait six months before the court will grant a divorce.
In Michigan, there are only no-fault grounds for a divorce. This means that a plaintiff needs to prove that there has been such a significant breakdown of the marriage that the objects of matrimony have been ruined, and there is no reasonable probability that the couple can preserve the marriage.
Although divorces are granted irrespective of fault, fault considerations may affect how the marital property is divided and whether a spouse will receive alimony. Fault is one of many factors considered when dividing property and ordering spousal support. Alimony is awarded at a judge's discretion, and what would be "fault" in another state—acts such as adultery or cruelty—may be considered when deciding whether to award it.
When minor children are involved, a divorce may be more complicated. The court may refer the case to the Friend of the Court Office to obtain recommendations about child custody, support, and parenting time. For example, a Friend of the Court may be asked to investigate what an appropriate parenting time arrangement would be if the spouses present strikingly different accounts of their child's mental health and wellbeing.Consult an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City
If you are considering divorce in Michigan, your spouse and you may have a different vision of what the appropriate outcome should be. The Traverse City and Grand Rapids divorce attorneys at the Neumann Law Group also represent spouses divorcing in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or through our online form for a free consultation if you need a divorce or child custody attorney.