Divorce in Michigan

Divorce in Michigan | How to Get a Divorce & Process (Guide) 2024

Divorce is one of life’s most tiring, difficult, and stressful experiences. This is particularly true when a divorce requires extensive legal concerns, such as custody fights, large assets, and sometimes even domestic violence or abuse. Due to the seriousness of these matters and the potential financial and legal repercussions, it is crucial to ensure that your rights and interests are safeguarded.

Both you and your partner really should have resided in Michigan for at least six months before filing for divorce in the state of Michigan. Additionally, at least 10 days must have passed since you moved into the county where you or your spouse filed before filing. In Michigan, you can apply for a divorce without having to formally separate from your partner or live apart from them.

State no-fault laws apply for divorce in Michigan. A party need only claim that the marriage relationship has broken down to the point where the matrimonial connections cannot be retained in order to apply for divorce. Despite the fact that Michigan has no-fault divorce laws, a judge can nonetheless consider a spouse’s behavior during the marriage when deciding on alimony and asset split.

Residency Requirements for Divorce in Michigan

You or your partner must have lived in Michigan for 180 days prior to filing the divorce petition, and at least one of you must have spent at least 10 days residence in the county where the complaint was filed.

If your spouse lives outside of Michigan and you desire a divorce, you must also satisfy one of the following important residency requirements:

Parents Name
Wages & Income
Non-Custodial Parent
Custodial Parent
  • In Michigan, you and your spouse were a married couple.
  • Before filing for divorce, you must have lived in the state for a year.

The Grounds for Divorce in Michigan

In Michigan, divorce is “no-fault.” A divorce that is no-fault requires no proof of adultery, cruelty, or any other offenses. You can get a divorce even if your spouse doesn’t consent. Even if you were the one to blame for your marriage’s dissolution, you are still eligible for a divorce. To get a divorce, you don’t even need to be living apart or have a separation agreement.

For a divorce to be granted in Michigan, at least one partner must certify that “the marriage link has broken down to the point that the objects of matrimony have been shattered and there exists no realistic hope that the marriage may be preserved.”  This denotes a severe, irreversible disintegration of the marriage. It implies that the likelihood of you and your spouse reconciling is extremely low.

Although you don’t need to show that your spouse is at blame in order to seek a divorce, their actions during the marriage can have an effect on how your divorce turns out. When deciding whether to award spousal support (alimony) and how to divide property, the judge may take into account the fault.

How to File for Divorce in Michigan

Uncontested and contested divorces are the two main categories. When the partners reach an agreement on all divorce-related issues, including property division, child custody, and alimony, the separation is deemed to be uncontested (spousal support). Contrarily, in a contested divorce, the parties must seek the court to resolve the issues because they disagree on at minimum one point.

Because there is no arguing in court, uncontested divorces typically end quicker and cost less than contentious divorces. Instead, the judge simply needs to determine, sanction, and execute a divorce decree after having approved the parties’ marital legal settlement.

In Michigan, you must file your divorce papers with the family division of the circuit court, also referred to as a “trial court,” in the county where either spouse resides.  In some Michigan courts, you must submit the paperwork electronically. To find out the criteria in the county where you’ve been filing, speak with your local court clerk.

Starting the Divorce

When you submit a summons, a petition, and other necessary documents to the court, your divorce case officially gets started. You must provide your partner with the papers after submitting your paperwork to the court clerk’s office. Typically, service is performed by having someone hand-deliver the documents to your spouse personally or by mailing them to them via registered or certified mail.


You can file a divorce lawsuit, and your partner can respond. The response should address each section of your divorce petition. Your partner must explain to you and the judge in the response which portions of your complaint they concur with and which they reject.

You might want to think about speaking to an attorney if your spouse files an answer and you can’t come to an agreement on any of the divorce’s key issues.

You have an uncontested divorce if neither of you files an answer, and both of you concur on all of the terms of the divorce. However, the court may not agree to all of your demands or commitments simply because the divorce is uncontested. Your divorce agreement must still be fair and legally binding. For instance, the custody plans must be in the children’s best interests, and the property allocation must be equitable.

Waiting Period

Even if your divorce is uncontested, you and your husband must appear at a hearing before your divorce may be finalized. The court clerk should set the hearing date for you if you submitted a joint petition and request for a consent order.

You must wait at least 60 days after filing your divorce papers before the court hearing. The required waiting time for divorce is often six months if you have minor children. However, you might argue that it would result in an “exceptional hardship” or that you have other credible reasons to complete your divorce sooner in order to get a waiver of the long waiting time.

The actual time it takes to have your hearing date in an uncontested divorce will depend on the court’s timetable, even if you would only have to wait a minimum of 60 days. In uncontested cases, hearings are typically short. The judge will typically sign the divorce decision the same day if all of your documentation is in order and contains all of the necessary facts.

Divorces, including disputes, frequently take longer than six months—up to a year or more. In these situations, the length of time it takes for the parties to resolve their differences, the number of court hearings needed, and whether they finally have to go to trial to have a judge resolve their disagreements determine how the amount of time required to acquire your ultimate divorce verdict.

Finalizing the Divorce

You could settle your divorce in one of the following ways:

  • If your partner doesn’t submit an answer or take part in the case, a default judgment will be rendered.
  • Through negotiated agreement, in which you and your spouse jointly determine the terms.
  • Through mediation, when you and your spouse meet with the mediator and agree on the conditions.
  • Due to your inability to negotiate a compromise with your husband, a court will decide the case through a trial.

Michigan’s Divorce Filing Fees and Fee Waivers

Your divorce proceedings must be filed with the court, and there is a fee. A divorce in Michigan will cost $175 to file as of 2022 (plus a $25 fee for the state’s electronic filing system). If you have a minor child or children, you will be forced to pay additional fees totaling up to $295: $40 for a case involving child support and $80 for a case involving child custody or parenting time

By submitting a Fee Waiver Request, you can petition the court to waive the filing fees if you are unable to pay them. Use the interactive tool provided by Michigan Legal Help to assist you in filling out the form, or fill it out on your own. You won’t be responsible for any court fees throughout your divorce if the judge accepts your request.

Getting Help Filing Your Michigan Divorce

Several of the forms you’ll really need are available on the official website of the Michigan courts if you choose to do your divorce yourself (see links above). Additionally, Michigan Legal Help provides useful spreadsheets that outline the data you should compile in order to file a divorce both with and without minor children, as well as a Do-It-Yourself Divorce Tool that guides you through filling out the necessary paperwork. All the divorce in Michigan and domestic relations forms that have been approved by the court are also available online.

If you’re dealing with a lawyer, they will evaluate your case and complete, file, and serve all the required paperwork. Many divorcing couples would want some help with filling out and filing their paperwork but are unable to afford to engage an attorney to handle their case from beginning to end.

If this applies to your circumstances, think about employing an online divorce service or locating a lawyer who would offer you as-needed consultations. Low-income people may be eligible for free or reduced-cost legal assistance.

Will a Michigan divorce require me to appear in court?

At least once will require you to appear in court. A court must have testimony from the parties on the record that convinces them that the marital property has been destroyed in order to enter a judgment of divorce.

If both parties agree, the plaintiff (the one who filed) must appear in court to certify that the marriage is over and that all matters have been resolved. Before the court makes a decision and issues a divorce judgment, it’s likely that both parties will testify if the matter goes to trial.

You can anticipate going to court a lot more often if your divorce is hotly disputed. You should appear in court on any day that is set for your case


How long do you have to be separated in Michigan to get a divorce?

In Michigan, there is a 60-day waiting period for all divorces and a 6-month waiting period for divorces involving minor children.

What is required to get a divorce in Michigan?

In order to secure a divorce in the state of Michigan, at least one spouse must certify that “the marriage link has broken down to the degree that the aims of matrimony have been shattered and there leaves no reasonable hope that the marriage may be preserved.”

How much do divorces cost in Michigan?

With court filing costs and other legal expenses, the average cost of a non-contested divorce in Michigan can be anywhere from $1,200 and $1,500. With a beginning base fee of $5,000, the costs of your divorce might significantly rise if it is challenged.

Can you challenge a divorce judgment?

Yes. This can be accomplished in Michigan by obtaining relief from the divorce judgment. This is done by requesting a new trial or hearing, an amendment to the verdict, a reversal of the decision, or clarification. Within a year following the first divorce decree, these motions must be filed.

How is property divided in a divorce?

In Michigan, the partition of property during a divorce is not always 50/50. Instead, what the judge finds to be fair for both parties is used to make this decision; this is known as “equitable distribution” in legalese. In Michigan, this is frequently the part of the divorce process that is the most controversial.

How long before a divorce is deemed to be final?

There is a waiting period after a court issues a divorce decision before the divorce is officially finalized. The waiting period for normal divorces without children is 60 days. The waiting time for divorces involving minor children is six months.

What normally occurs if I file for divorce on my own in a Michigan court?

Before making any arrangements that would significantly influence their rights, someone divorcing another person should have legal representation or at the very least consult with an attorney. If you want to proceed with your divorce without legal representation, everything will go according to plan; you will merely be acting as your own advocate.

How important is it in Michigan to file for divorce first?

No, it does not matter who files for divorce in Michigan first from a legal standpoint. However, filing first does give the initiating party the chance to ask the court for a number of orders before your spouse is made aware of the divorce process. These orders, known as “Ex Parte,” demand that the marital estate, financial situation, and custody of the children stay prior to the filing.

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