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Michigan Divorce Information

The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of divorce in the State of Michigan.

You can get more specific information regarding Michigan divorce laws using the links provided to Michigan divorce laws or at your local library.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any action you should seek the advice of an attorney familiar with the laws in the state in which you will be seeking a divorce.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Michigan Divorce Resources

Residency Requirements One of the spouses must have lived in Michigan for at least the last 180 days before you can file for divorce.
Where to File Your divorce must be filed in the circuit court in the county where you or your spouse have lived for at least the last ten days.
Grounds for Divorce Michigan is a "No-Fault" state. All that is needed is 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. In the complaint the plaintiff shall make no other explanation of the grounds for divorce than by the use of the statutory language.
Property Distribution Michigan is not a community property state, meaning marital property is divided equitably. Equitable means fair, not necessaraly 50/50.

Courts may take the following into consideration when determining the distributing marital assets:
  • Length of the marriage
  • Each spouses’ contributions to the marital estate
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Necessities, financial needs, and circumstances of each spouse
  • Earning abilities of each spouse
  • Past relations and conduct of each spouse
Child Custody If a mutual agreement can't be reached regarding custody of minor child the court will make the determination based on the best interest of the child. They will use the following factors in making their finding:
  • 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, and medical care or other remedial care recognized 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 judge considers the child to be old enough to express a 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. A judge may not consider negatively for the purposes of this factor any reasonable action taken by a parent to protect a child or that parent from sexual assault or domestic violence by the child’s other parent.
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child;
  • Any other factor considered by the judge to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
As of this writing HB4691 has been introduced to update the custody statutes. For more information on that click here
Child Support Child support is determined using the Michigan Child Support Formula. Child support covers the general expenses of the child such as housing, food, clothing etc., child care expenses and medical expenses. Each parent is responsible for a percentage of the child support.

The guidelines take into consideration the following in determining support:
  • The parents’ incomes
  • Custody and parenting time arrangements
  • The number of children supported
  • Medical costs
  • Child care costs
  • Other factors
When applying the formula would lead to an unjust or inappropriate result, the court may exercise its discretion, and, on a case-by-case basis, deviate from the formula and determine a more appropriate support amount
Spousal Support Spousal support is decided on a case-by-case basis. If the spouses don't agree on spousal support a judge will decide the length and amount to be paid based on the following:
  • How each party behaved during the marriage including who was at fault in the breakdown of the marriage. Fault on it's own won't justify spousal support.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • Whether each party can work.
  • How much property each party is getting in the property settlement.
  • The ages of the parties.
  • The ability of either party to pay spousal support.
  • The earning potential and career prospects.
  • The needs of each party.
  • The health of each party.
  • The prior standard of living of the parties.
  • Whether either party has other people to support.
  • What each party has contributed to the marriage.
  • What is fair and reasonable.
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. Termination of an award under this subsection shall not affect alimony payments which have accrued prior to that termination.

Michigan Divorce Attorneys by County

Michigan Divorce Mediators by County

This information has been compiled directly from the most recently available statutes online for each state. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is correct and complete. Be aware that laws frequently change. Do not take any action based on this information without first consulting an attorney to be certain that the laws pertaining to your particular situation have not changed.

The language used in most cases on this page is legal terminology taken directly from the statutes and laws of each state. The terminology is not always easy to understand. If you are not sure of something you should consult an attorney so that you can fully understand the meaning of the laws.

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Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within this web site without first consulting an attorney or an appropriate professional depending upon the content of the information.