Divorce

Like most other states, Michigan does have firm residency requirements for those seeking divorce. You or your spouse must have lived in Michigan for the 180 days prior to filing. Additionally, you or your spouse must have lived in the county where you are filing for divorce for the 10 days immediately prior to the filing date.

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. Some states require you to give a reason for divorce, such as abuse. In these states, you have to prove your reason for divorce and convince the court to allow it. Luckily, the process is much simpler in no-fault states like Michigan. The only “reason: you need to file for divorce is if there has been an “irreparable breakdown in the marriage.” You or your spouse do not need to have done anything “wrong” to be allowed to divorce.

If you changed your name after you got married, you can have your maiden name restored via court order. In many cases, this is done as part of the divorce judgment. From there, you simply have to change your name with the Secretary of State, the social security office, and financial institutions.

Annulment is permitted in Michigan, but only under very strict circumstances. It does not matter how long you have been married; many people falsely believe that you can get an annulment if the marriage was short-lived. You may be able to have an annulment granted if you can demonstrate:

• That you were incapable of consenting to marriage because you were below the legal age of marriage

• You and your spouse are too closely related to be legally allowed to marry

• Either party engaged in bigamy

• Physical incapacity

• Inability to consent to marriage due to a mental condition

• Fraud or force

• Foreign law violations

Legally, you are not required to have an attorney to file for divorce. You can fill out the forms and file them yourself. However, it is highly recommended that you consult an attorney familiar with Wayne County, Macomb County, and Oakland County requirements. Errors can affect you the rest of your life, leading to unintended changes in custody, division of assets, and child or spousal support. Even if you and your spouse are currently amiable and in agreement about the divorce, it’s worth having an attorney to ensure all legal protocols are properly followed.

No. Since Michigan is a no-fault state, it does not matter if your partner has mistreated you when you file for divorce You have the right to file, regardless of the reason. However, your spouses’s misconduct may affect other parts of the divorce, including child custody, division of assets, and spousal support.

No. Michigan doesn’t require both parties to consent to a divorce. Only one person must file and state that the marriage is broken beyond repair. Note, however, that they can make the process significantly more difficult for you. They can refuse to be served, contest your filing, and refuse to agree on important topics like custody and division of assets. This may delay the final divorce ruling and cost you more in legal fees. However, they cannot stop you from filing or prevent the divorce from occurring.

The state of Michigan does not require either party in a divorce to retain an attorney. However, we recommend protecting yourself with a family law attorney from The Lobb Law Firm to ensure that your divorce agreement has the intended outcome. If you misunderstand the paperwork or the phrasing used in your divorce agreement, you could unintentionally give away your rights or impact your financial well-being. Even when both parties are in complete agreement about how they want the divorce to proceed, it is helpful for each side to have their own attorney checking over all the documentation.

The process is going well for you and your spouse so far, and you currently agree about the major topics you need to cover in your divorce discussions. However, that can change at any time. If the relationship between you and your spouse changes or they have a change of heart, they can contest any part of the divorce agreement before it is signed by a judge. This often happens if one partner starts dating, reads too many divorce horror stories, or has secretly maintained hope that their agreeability would lead to reconciliation. This is why we recommend planning for the worst and hiring a divorce attorney. Even if the divorce remains amiable, you never know what could happen.

An uncontested divorce without children can be completed in as little as 60 days. An uncontested divorce with children can be finished in as little as six months. Much depends on your local court system and how quickly you are able to get a court date. Your case could be delayed if there are disagreements to work out.

You cannot force a spouse to cooperate with a divorce. Unfortunately, this will negatively impact both of you. Some people choose to draw out the divorce process because they want to convince the other party to remain in the relationship or because they want to “punish” the other party for leaving them. Careful handling of your spouse’s feelings and your communication with them may help your case. For example, if your spouse is refusing to cooperate with a divorce because they want to save the marriage, you can limit communication with them to avoid sending mixed messages. If they want to hurt you by dragging out the process, refuse to become frustrated and simply direct them to your attorney for all future discussions. Once they realize how much a contested divorce will cost them, both in time and money, they may come around.

Child Custody

Your ex-partner’s treatment of you does not impact custody arrangements or decisions, unless they were abusive. In some domestic abuse cases, child custody decisions may be affected. While you may worry about your child spending time with your ex-partner and their significant other, you cannot keep your child from seeing their other parent.

Physical custody determines who the child lives with. In cases of 50/50 custody, both parents have joint physical custody. Legal custody specifies who makes decisions for the child. This includes decisions on medical care, childcare providers, school attendance, and other issues. In many cases, parents share joint legal custody as well.

In Michigan, a parent cannot change a child’s residence by more than 100 miles without permission from either the other parent or the court overseeing the custody agreement. This is not relevant in child custody cases where one parent has sole legal custody.

This is a difficult situation that requires careful handling. If the parent does not pose a threat to your child, it is likely that they will still have some parenting time, either supervised or unsupervised. However, it is also reasonable that you would not want to come into contact with your abuser on a regular basis. You should discuss this with your attorney. Many times, you can come to an agreement that involves handing the child off to a safe third party and picking up the child from the third party. This prevents contact between the parents while still protecting the other parent’s right to time with their child.

If you have legitimate concerns about the other parent’s ability to provide care, you may be able to request that they only be permitted to have supervised parenting time. Discuss this with an attorney before taking action. In some situations, the court views a request for supervised parenting time as an attempt to punish one party or discredit them as a parent. Because of this, you must go through the proper channels and provide evidence that supports your claim. Remember, too, that supervised parenting time is rarely a permanent solution. Once the other parent completes enough supervised parenting time without incident, they may be granted unsupervised parenting time. A Detroit child custody attorney can help you develop a plan and move forward.

Some people believe they do not need an attorney, either because both parents have agreed on an unofficial custody plan or because they believe their case is so cut-and-dry that it doesn’t make sense to hire an attorney. Both approaches are risky. In the first, it just takes one disagreement between parents to turn an amiable co-parenting relationship into one full of animosity. When this occurs, the lack of a formal custody agreement can leave you without access to your children for an extended period of time. In the second situation, even a completely fit and capable parent could be painted as a careless, unfit parent by a skilled attorney. Failing to hire an attorney, especially if your co-parent has their own lawyer, can seriously limit your time with your children.

There is no age at which a minor child can officially decide which parent they want to live with. The court does take the child’s preferences into account when making decisions, but the child cannot unilaterally decide where they want to live. The older the child is, the more likely the judge is to consider their choices as part of their final decision.

Legally, failing to abide by a court-ordered custody agreement can get you charged with contempt. If you are struggling with the terms of your custody agreement, it is recommended that you speak with your attorney to find a solution that fits your family’s needs.

Child Support

Michigan uses a formula to determine how much each parent should contribute to childrearing expenses. They break down the amount based on how physical custody is divided, each parent’s income, and a host of other factors. Your attorney can help you determine what the court is likely to order based on your circumstances and income.

Child support can be paid in a variety of ways. If you have an income withholding order, the Friend of the Court has child support taken out of your check. If you do not have a withholding order, you are responsible for paying child support directly to the other parent. Make sure you use a payment method that can be traced and verified, such as checks or bank transfers. Do not make payments in cash, as the other party could claim they did not receive that money.

If your child’s other parent has an income withholding order in place, the funds will be automatically withdrawn from their check and placed into your bank account. If there is no withholding order in your case, the other party can pay you directly via check, money order, electronic bank transfer, or any other method.

The court makes decisions in the best interests of the child, not the parent. Furthermore, child support is not the custodial parent’s right; it is the child’s right. For that reason, the court does not allow you to just waive child support. However, you can advocate for a different split in child support based on the unique circumstances of your case.

If you applied for any type of public aid, it is likely that your county initiated a case for child support against your child’s other parent. They will require you to comply with their efforts to recover child support for you to receive public aid.

Child support orders can be modified if there are substantial changes in your situation. For example, if one parent’s income changes substantially, the child support order may be increased or decreased significantly. If the custody time changes considerably, child support may change accordingly. Changes must go through the court to be official.

No. Parenting time and child support are two separate issues and cannot be conflated. Even if the other parent is not compliant with the child support order, you must still permit them to take their parenting time. You can discuss the delinquent child support with your attorney for further guidance.

Spousal Support

Each spouse’s behavior during the marriage can definitely impact spousal support. It includes substance abuse, financial abuse, and other types of mistreatment.

There is no cut-and-dry answer to this question, unfortunately. Most spousal support agreements are negotiated out of court, and you may be able to influence the duration of spousal support through your attorney. Generally, the longer a marriage lasts, the longer alimony lasts. Other substantial disparities between parties, such as income level, education level, earning ability, and health, can also extend the duration of spousal support.

It is rare for an individual to receive spousal support for the rest of their lives. Generally, support agreements have a set end date and conditions that can cause the early termination of spousal support. Spousal support often ends if the receiving party begins living with a romantic partner, gets remarried, or earns a degree or certificate that should allow them to be gainfully employed. You should discuss these and other conditions with your attorney while trying to negotiate a fair spousal support arrangement.

Spousal Support can be modified in some situations. Again, this largely depends on what is negotiated and what the court accepts. In some situations, alimony is non-modifiable. This locks both parties in, regardless of income changes or other changes in circumstances. However, in many agreements, spousal support can be modified if income changes substantially on either side or if there is a significant change in the paying party’s health or ability to work.

No one ever expects to end up in the middle of a family law dispute, and as a result, many of the calls we receive are from anxious, overwhelmed people who are unsure about their next step. Our team of Southfield family lawyers knows how difficult this time is for you and we want to help, which is why we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns and create a basic plan for moving forward. Get started by checking out this list of frequently asked questions, which focuses on clients’ most pressing concerns when they first need our help. For more personalized advice relating to your specific family law needs, please contact The Lobb Law to schedule your free initial consultation.

No one ever expects to end up in the middle of a family law dispute, and as a result, many of the calls we receive are from anxious, overwhelmed people who are unsure about their next step. Our team of Southfield family lawyers knows how difficult this time is for you and we want to help, which is why we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns and create a basic plan for moving forward. Get started by checking out this list of frequently asked questions, which focuses on clients’ most pressing concerns when they first need our help. For more personalized advice relating to your specific family law needs, please contact The Lobb Law to schedule your free initial consultation.

Our Top Family Law Attorneys Are Here to Help You

Family law issues can be confusing, and the decisions made in a courtroom could affect your relationship with your children, your financial well-being, and your financial obligations moving forward. You deserve professional, compassionate assistance through this trying time. Schedule your free consultation now by calling The Lobb Law Firm today.