In recent years the number of divorces in Michigan has dropped from almost 39,000 in 2000 to less than 33,000 in 2012. Under normal circumstances, people don’t get married thinking that it will end in divorce unfortunately, sometimes it does. If it does, it is important that you know what to expect and what you need to consider when making decisions. Below are a list of ten things you need to know about divorce in Michigan.
- Custody is determined by the court – one of the worst aspects of a divorce is its impact on children. Innocent in any wrongdoing, children are often the ones who suffer most during this time. Custody is one of the most contested aspects of divorce. When determining custody, the court will do what is in the best interest of the child. Best interest factors include but are not limited to stability, love and permanence.
- Michigan is a no-fault state – what this means is that in order to obtain a divorce, a breakdown of the marriage must be demonstrated.
- There is a waiting period for divorce – someone filing for divorce will generally be required to “wait” for a period of time. In Michigan, the waiting period for divorce is 60 days from the date the divorce was filed. This may be waived if spousal abuse is present.
- Property doesn’t just get split down the middle – if the parties in the divorce cannot come to an agreement as to the property distribution, the court will assist in the distribution. This distribution is final.
- Each case is unique – the courts decide all aspects of divorce based on a case by case basis. From alimony to property to custody, each of these issues will be decided in part by Michigan Law but also by your own unique circumstances as well.
- Just because property is in your name doesn’t mean you will get it – when it comes to assets, no matter whose name is on the title, even in the case of property, these assets are divided by the courts and what is right for the individuals, not the name that is on it.
- Not all divorces require a trial – while not all divorces come to a trial, mediation and binding arbitration may be part of your divorce. Mediation is used to help amicably resolve any arguments while binding arbitration is held by a private attorney and is often used in cases which may have involved abuse or violence. If these do not resolve the issues, then a trial may be scheduled.
- Don’t forget to change your will – most couples have a will which includes the other spouse in case of death. If you have a will which includes your ex, it is important that you remember to change this right away to protect your future assets.
- There are alternatives – for many, a first step before divorce is to try to resolve issues within your marriage. Some alternatives to divorce include trial separations, mediation or counseling. If you do decide that divorce is the answer, then it is important to protect yourself by hiring an attorney.
- An attorney is always a good idea – an attorney can help ensure that your assets are protected and the best interests of your children are taken into consideration during the divorce process. Amicable or not, an attorney is always a good idea when it comes to divorce.
The Law Offices of Daniel J. Harris, P.C. is a lawyer in Gaylord, Michigan who specializes in criminal law, estate planning and family law including divorce law. If you live in Kalkaska and are in need of assistance with divorce, wills, estate planning, or criminal or traffic law, contact Miranda Bailey-Quick at 231.347.4444 today.