The following is a step-by-step guide on how to obtain an uncontested divorce in Michigan:
Before you can file for a divorce in Michigan, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 180 days. Also, one spouse must have lived in the county where the divorce papers are filed for at least ten days.
COMPLETE THE DIVORCE DOCUMENTS
You can obtain the divorce documents from the courthouse in the county in which you reside. Or, some counties have the divorce documents available to complete and file online. All parties that are filing for divorce will need to complete a Summons, Complaint for Divorce, and Record of Divorce. If you have minor children of the marriage, you will also need to complete and file a Uniform Child Custody Act Affidavit, Verified Statement and Application for IV-D Services.
FILE YOUR DIVORCE DOCUMENTS WITH THE COURT
You must file your divorce in the county in which you have resided for the last 10 days. When you file your divorce documents, you will be required to pay a filing fee to the clerk of court.
SERVICE OF THE DIVORCE DOCUMENTS
Your spouse must be served with the divorce documents that were filed. The following are your choices for service:
- Your spouse may accept service voluntarily. If they do so, they must complete the acknowledgement of service section found on the second page of the Summons.
- Any person over the age of 18 (and not a party to the case) may service your spouse. This means you are not allowed to serve your spouse. Once that person has served your spouse, they must complete the Affidavit of Service section found on the second page of the Summons.
- You may hire a process service to complete service. You will be responsible for payment of the process server’s fees.
- You may serve your spouse through certified mail. Once you have the return card back from the post office, you must file that card with the clerk of court.
FILING AN ANSWER
Your spouse will have 21 days to file an answer to the Complaint for Divorce (28 days if served by mail).
COMPLETE AND EXCHANGE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES
The Michigan courts require you to provide full disclosure of your financial situation. You and your spouse must each complete the Domestic Relations Verified Financial Information Form (to be signed in front of a notary). The Domestic Relations Verified Financial Information Form is not filed with the court but must be exchanged between the parties.
COMPLETING THE JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE
As you are going through an uncontested divorce, it is assumed you and your spouse are not contesting any issues of your divorce such as custody, parenting time, child support, or property/asset/debt division. You and your spouse must agree on all matters of your divorce and complete a Judgment of Divorce outlining your agreements. Once you have this completed, you can move on to setting the final hearing.
MANDATORY WAITING PERIOD
If you and your spouse do not have children together, there is a two-month waiting period before the court can finalize your divorce. If you do have children together, there is a six-month waiting period. This waiting period begins on the day that the complaint for divorce is filed with the court.
SCHEDULE THE FINAL HEARING
Once you and your spouse have signed the Judgment of Divorce, a final hearing can be scheduled. Because hearing date availability can be weeks out, you should contact the court as soon as you both have signed the Judgment of Divorce. Even if your mandatory waiting period has not passed, you can schedule the final hearing. But the actual final hearing date must be on or after the mandatory waiting period. Once you have obtained a final hearing date from the court, you will need to complete a notice of hearing and proof of service. The original documents must be filed with the court, and copies mailed to your spouse.
ATTEND THE FINAL HEARING
At the final hearing, the person who filed the complaint will be required to answer a few questions from the judge. After that, the judge may review your agreement, ensure the terms of the divorce are fair and equitable, and the judge will sign a judgment of divorce.
GRAND RAPIDS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY SERVING KENT, OTTAWA, AND ALLEGAN COUNTY.
If you need to know more about a Michigan divorce, including how to file for a divorce, contact an experienced attorney, Laurie Schmitt at Schmitt Law, PLLC. At Schmitt Law, PLLC, we are here for you each step of the way in your divorce. From planning your first steps, to approaching your separation, to helping you understand your rights, to signing the final documents. We can help you navigate the separation and divorce process.
Schedule your consultation today with a dedicated attorney. We look forward to speaking to you and being your advocate during this crucial time in reframing your life. Contact Schmitt Law, PLLC online or call (616) 608-4634 to arrange a consultation. Our office is located at 401 Hall Street SW, Suite 112D, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.