One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is the uncertainty it may bring to your life. Where will you live? Where will your children live? How will you divide your marital property?

Answering common questions about the Michigan divorce process can remove some of the fear surrounding the decision to end your marriage and help you move forward to make informed choices for your next steps.

How do I file for divorce?

If you have lived in Michigan for at least six months, submit your divorce petition with the family court in your county (or in your spouse’s county if you live separately and prefer to file outside your jurisdiction). You do not need to prove fault in the petition. In no-fault states like Michigan, either partner can ask for a divorce for any reason, even if they still live together.

Can I keep my home?

Michigan requires equitable division of marital property. This does not mean things will divided equally. Instead, the goal is to make the division fair to both parties. If you owned the house before marriage, it constitutes separate property and will remain yours unless your spouse claims he or she contributed significant financial or physical upkeep.

Where will our child live and with whom?

Ideally, parents will share joint physical and legal custody after a divorce. Physical custody describes the child’s actual home location while legal custody is the right to have a say about your child’s education, health care and other important decisions. Sometimes, parents agree on custody and submit their joint parenting plan to the court. Otherwise, the judge rules on custody based on the health and well-being of your child and his or her best interests.

When will the divorce be final?

Sixty days is a reasonable timeframe for a simple divorce with limited assets and no dependent children. When parents are unable to agree on child custody, asset division and other contentious matters, the process can last for several months. Mediation services can facilitate agreement between you and your former spouse to shorten the divorce process and lower your court costs.

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