Michigan Divorce Laws

Michigan Divorce Laws
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Michigan Divorce Laws

 

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE:

A judgment of divorce shall not be granted by a court in this state in an action for divorce unless the complainant or defendant has resided in this state for 180 days immediately preceding the filing of the complaint and, the complainant or defendant has resided in the county in which the complaint is filed for 10 days immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.

A person may file a complaint for divorce in any county in the state without meeting the 10-day requirement above if all of the following apply and are set forth in the complaint:

  • The defendant was born in, or is a citizen of, a country other than the United States of America.
  • The parties to the divorce action have a minor child or children.
  • There is information that would allow the court to reasonably conclude that the minor child or children are at risk of being taken out of the United States of America and retained in another country by the defendant.

The Judicial Circuit Court in the county where the claimant or defendant resides. [Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.6]

LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:

The court shall enter a judgment dissolving the bonds of matrimony if evidence is presented in open court that there has been a breakdown in the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.

[Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.6]

LEGAL SEPARATION:

An action for separate maintenance may be filed in the circuit court in the same manner and on the same grounds as an action for divorce. In the complaint the plaintiff shall make no other explanation of the grounds for separate maintenance than by use of the statutory language.

If evidence is presented in open court that there has been a breakdown in the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved, the court shall enter: (a) A judgment of separate maintenance if a counterclaim for divorce has not been filed. (b) A judgment dissolving the bonds of matrimony if a counterclaim for divorce has been filed. [Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.7]

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS:

The office shall provide, either directly or by contract, domestic relations mediation to assist the parties in settling voluntarily a dispute concerning child custody or parenting time that arises in a friend of the court case. Parties shall not be required to meet with a domestic relations mediator. [Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.513]

PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION:

Michigan is an equitable distribution state. Upon the annulment of a marriage, a divorce from the bonds of matrimony or a judgment of separate maintenance, the court may make a further judgment for restoring to either party the whole, or such parts as it shall deem just and reasonable, of the real and personal estate that shall have come to either party by reason of the marriage (if it appears from the evidence in the case that the party contributed to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of the property), or for awarding to either party the value thereof, to be paid by either party in money.

[Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.19]

ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT:

In every action brought, either for a divorce or for a separation, the court may require either party to pay alimony for the suitable maintenance of the adverse party, to pay such sums as shall be deemed proper and necessary to conserve any real or personal property owned by the parties or either of them, and to pay any sums necessary to enable the adverse party to carry on or defend the action, during its pendency. It may award costs against either party and award execution for the same, or it may direct such costs to be paid out of any property sequestered, or in the power of the court, or in the hands of a receiver.

An award of alimony may be terminated by the court as of the date the party receiving alimony remarries unless a contrary agreement is specifically stated in the judgment of divorce.

[Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.13]

SPOUSE'S NAME:

The circuit courts of this state, whenever a decree of divorce is granted, may, at the instance of the woman, whether complainant or defendant, decree to restore to her her birth name, or the surname she legally bore prior to her marriage to the husband in the divorce action, or allow her to adopt another surname if the change is not sought with any fraudulent or evil intent. [Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.391]

CHILD CUSTODY:

Joint custody is encouraged. In cases where custody is disputed, custody placement will be determined based on the best interests of the child, which includes:

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
  • The moral fitness of the parties involved.
  • The mental and physical health of the parties involved.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

    [Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.391]

    CHILD SUPPORT:

    The court shall order child support in an amount determined by application of the Michigan Child Support Formula developed by the state friend of the court bureau.

    The court may order child support for the time a child is regularly attending high school on a full-time basis with a reasonable expectation of completing sufficient credits to graduate from high school while residing on a full-time basis with the recipient of support or at an institution, but in no case after the child reaches 19 years and 6 months of age.

    After July 1, 1983, each support order entered or modified by the circuit court shall provide for an order of income withholding. [Based on Michigan Revised Statutes - Section: 552.604, 552.605, 552.605b]