At least one of the parties to an action for divorce must have resided in the State of Michigan for at least 180 days immediately prior to the filing of the complaint and must have resided in the county of filing for at least 10 days immediately prior to the filing of the complaint.
If you have minor children living with your spouse in another state for over six months then you should consider filing in that state as that court has jurisdiction over the children. You spouse can waive that jurisdiction in writing.
County of Filing:
You should file the divorce in the county your spouse lives in, or in the county that you both lived in when you separated, or in your county if your spouse lives out of state. You or your spouse must have a Michigan address in the county of filing. Michigan civilian residents living overseas may file in Michigan if they have maintained their residency in Michigan.
Active duty members of the military (or their spouses) may file in Michigan if they have been stationed in Michigan for six months or were residents of Michigan when they entered active duty. Smart Divorce.com staff includes former active duty officers and enlisted personnel and are completely knowledgeable on the special military requirements and the “Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act”. Our staff prides themselves on the service they provide our military members.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: NO-FAULT or FAULT ?
The only ground upon which a divorce may be granted in the State of Michigan is that there has been a breakdown of 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..
Michigan law requires that a Divorce without children may not be final until thirty (30) days have elapsed between the date the Petition is filed and the date the Decree is signed and filed with the Clerk. There is a 6 month waiting period for any divorce which involves minor chidren.
PROPERTY OF THE MARRIAGE:
In a divorce, the property (land, house, buildings, and items of personal property) owned (and debts owed) by the couple is divided between the parties. In an uncontested divorce, this division is accomplished by means of a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA). You and your spouse must agree to the property and debt division and memorialize your agreement in the Marital Separation Agreement, which will be incorporated by reference into the Decree of Divorce that ultimately ends your marriage. You may agree to divide the property any way you like, as long as a basic fairness is maintained. You do not need to list items already divided or not an important issue in the divorce. You may revise the MSA after receipt of the documents from us by sending an email with your changes. There is never a charge for revisions at any time up to one year.
If you cannot agree on any item of this division, the dissolution of marriage transforms into a contested divorce. If at the final hearing the divorce is still contested we do not provide advice for that hearing. You may need to consult an attorney or be prepared to tell the judge why you feel your requested division of property is fair.
Spousal Support is either agreed upon by the parties or determined by the judge in a contested hearing. We cannot give legal advice regarding spousal support but will include your request in the documents.
The questionnaire you fill out will outline the custody, visitation and support for the children. We will prepare the documents accordingly, and we will also prepare a Marital Separation Agreement (at no additional cost) which outlines in specific detail all the provisions regarding the children. Both parties must attend the parenting class or get a waiver. A list of the places in Michigan to attend may be obtained from the court.
The child support will either be an amount you and your spouse agree upon, or it will be determined for you by the court, according to the Michigan Child Support Guidelines. If you wish the court to calculate the amount then you will need to file the standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit which we provide. See “Michigan Child Support Calculator” on any search engine such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.
You may have Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody. This determines how the decisions are made regarding the raising of the child(ren).
Physical custody may be with one residential parent or “SPLIT CUSTODY” where the child(ren) live a substantial time with each parent.
This can be any program agreed upon by the parties and may change from time to time. If the parties cannot agree then the state guidelines are in effect. State guidelines are outlined in the MSA provided with your documents. You do not need to list your present visitation agreement as it will change from time to time but you may if you wish. “No Visitation” or “Restricted Visitation” may be requested by supplying the reason on the questionnaire.
You must file the divorce documents in the Circuit Court in the county that you are filing in. Some court addresses for larger counties are as follows:
Wayne County: 3rd Circuit Court- Wayne 2 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226 Phone: (313) 224-5261
Washtenaw County: 101 E. Huron Ann Arbor, MI 48104 Civil: Phone: (734) 222-338
Kent County: 17th Circuit Court- Kent180 Ottawa Ave., NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2751 Phone: (616) 632-5480
Ingham County: 30th Circuit Court- Memorial Courthouse 313 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48901-7971 Phone: (517) 483-6105 (Fax) 483-6158
Calhoun County: 37th Circuit Court - Justice Center, 161 E. Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, MI 49014-4066 Phone: (269) 969-6530
Kalamazoo County: 9th Circuit Court - 227 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007-3757 Phone: (269) 383-8950
Genesee County: 7th Circuit Court - 900 S. Saginaw St., Flint, MI 48502 Phone: (810) 257-3252
Saginaw County: 10th Circuit Court - 111 S. Michigan Ave., Saginaw, MI 48602 Phone: (989) 790-5471
Bay County: 18th Circuit Court - 1230 Washington Ave., Bay City, MI 48708 Phone: (989) 895-4265
The court filing fees for a divorce in Michigan is approximately $150 plus a Friend of the Court Final Judgment Order Fee of $80 if you have minor children.
If your spouse won't sign and must be served, then the sheriff may charge a fee of around $25 to serve your spouse.
If you don't know the whereabouts of your spouse, then your spouse will need to be served by publication. The average publication fee is approximately $75.
You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.
METHODS OF SERVICE:
1. The most common way is to have your spouse sign the documents AFTER you have filed the complaint with the court. You can hand deliver the documents , mail them or have a third party deliver them to your spouse. This method is available even though your spouse is incarcerated.
2. If your spouse will not sign or you not not sure if your spouse will sign then you can get service by having the sheriff in spouse’s county serve a copy of the filed documents along with other documents requiring spouse’s signature. You can contact the sheriff in any state to serve your spouse. You can also get service by Certified Mail, (Return Receipt Requested) if your spouse lives out of state. If your spouse is incarcerated then you can get service by having the prison/jail officials serve your spouse.
3. Service by publication. If you cannot find your spouse after a diligent search then you can publish. The publication fee for the newspaper is approximately $65 but varies for different counties. Upon the filing of the Affidavit the clerk shall direct that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We provide all the required documents for service by publication.
Go to our questionnaire and get started today.