According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there were almost 55,400 divorces in 2013 in the State of Michigan alone. Another 2.1 million couples divorced in 2013, in states across the country.
For most, this is a new experience, painful and often overwhelming. The process is often made more difficult by the fact that not only are there sensitive issues to deal with, but the laws relating to divorce, differ from state to state. For these and other reasons, it is important that before you begin the process, you contact a divorce attorney in your state and who knows the laws as they relate to you and your case.
So what are the facts? Knowing the facts is important. Here are a few of the key’s that every couple should know before beginning the process:
1. Michigan is a no-fault state. This means that one party may file for divorce without first establishing that the other party has done anything wrong. As long as it can be established that the marriage relationship has had a “breakdown” and cannot be repaired, a judge may choose to grant the divorce.
2. Fault may still matter. This is important, especially with regard to your property and children. While fault does not play a role in whether or not a divorce will be granted, what the judge sees and hears relating to the behavior of each of the parties involved, may help him or her determine who gets what property and even who gets custody of your children.
3. Divorces do not happen overnight. A divorce in Michigan generally takes 60 days. This “cooling off” period between filing and granting the divorce is not generally waived unless there are circumstances relating to the health or well-being of those involved. If there are children involved, this waiting period can be even longer.
4. Alimony is not automatic and not the same for everyone. What determines alimony is decided on a case by case basis. Alimony or spousal support is usually based on property and assets, past relations, length of marriage, circumstances, health and fairness, just to name a few.
5. When it comes to custody of children in Michigan, the court determines what is in the best interest of the child first when agreeing or disagreeing to any custody arrangements. The best interest factors in Michigan include:
• ties with those involved
• capacity to care for the child
• moral fitness
• mental and physical state of parent
• reasonable preference of the child
• any other factors the court deems important
Note: Until the recent Supreme Court ruling making same sex marriage legal throughout the U.S., divorce was not really an option for LGBT couples in Michigan. Now that the gay marriage ban has been struck down in Michigan, any couple can get a divorce.
If you live in Northern Michigan and have questions about filing for divorce, Harris Law can help you. A Northern Michigan attorney well-versed in issues relating to family law, as well as criminal law, estate planning and others, Miranda Bailey-Quick works hard to ensure the best outcome in your case.