Michigan Divorce Laws

Like most states, residents of the State of Michigan can expect divorce laws that are specific to their state. These state specific laws may make it more difficult to determine what is applicable in your state. However, fortunately, it is fairly easy to find free information about Michigan divorce laws. The process of finding this information is even easier for you because we have done the legwork for you and compiled some of the most important divorce information for the State of Michigan here for you.

Residency Requirement for Filing for Divorce and Legal Grounds of Divorce

The residency requirements for filing for divorce in the State of Michigan are rather relaxed. In order to file for divorce and win a judgment in the State of Michigan, one party must have resided in the state for a minimum of 180 days prior to the filing for divorce. In addition to this requirement, one of the parties must have also been a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at least the ten days prior to when the petition was filed. These laws are considered rather lenient because some counties require significantly longer residency before a divorce petition can be filed. There are also some extenuating circumstances which may result in this ten day requirement being waived. Some of these circumstances include a complainant or defendant who was born in another country or is a citizen of another country or there is reason to believe a child of the marriage may be taken out of the country by one of the parents.

The legal grounds for divorce in the state of Michigan are also rather lenient. This law is based on the Michigan Revised Statutes – Section: 552.7 and states the marriage can be dissolved if there is reasonable evidence the marriage relationship has been destroyed and is not likely to be repaired. There are also laws in place to ensure the couple will not be required to meet with a domestic relationships mediator in lieu of granting a divorce to the couple.

The Distribution of Property

The State of Michigan is considered to be an equitable distribution state. This means all property considered to be marital property will be divided equitably when the marriage is dissolved. The important thing to note here is equitable is not always considered to be equal. Rather the property will be divided in a way the court deems to be fair even if this division is not equal. It should also be noted that only marital properties are considered for distribution by the state. Any property which is proved to be owned by one of the partners will not be divided in the divorce agreement.

Child Custody and Child Support in the State of Michigan

Michigan is a state which encourages joint custody of children in a divorce. However, when there is a custody dispute, the court will intervene to make a judgment in the best interest of the child. Some of the factors the court will consider in making this judgment are:

  • The emotional ties the child has with the parents
  • The ability of both parents to continue to provide love, education and religious guidance for the child.
  • The ability of both parents to provide the child with basic needs such as food, clothing and medical care
  • The amount of time the child has lived in the current environment and the stability of that environment
  • The health of the parents both mentally and physically
  • The preferences of the child, if the court deems the child is of age to offer an opinion and express a preference
  • The willingness of both parents to allow the other parent to foster a relationship with the child.
  • Whether or not there is a history of any type of domestic abuse

Either parent may be required to pay child support to contribute to the financial support of the child. The amount of child support awarded is based on the Michigan Child Support Formula. The child support may be awarded until the child graduates from high school as long as the child is on track to graduate before the age of 19.