Welcome back and thanks for joining us again. We’ve been talking about the fact that divorce can be difficult, and the process can be very confusing. Everyday we get clients who walk in with questions about what to expect, or what to do next. It’s perfectly natural. However, with that in mind, we’ve decided to answer some of the more common questions we get in this three part series. So if you’re just joining us now, we recommend you take a moment to get caught up. However if you’ve already read our first two installments, let’s pick up where we left off last time…
How soon can I get married again?
You can remarry as soon as your Judgement of Divorce has been signed by the judge, and entered with the Circuit Court clerk. So technically, if you choose to go down to the Justice of the Peace a few minutes after you receive your divorce papers, then legally that is your right. However, be aware that this could be frowned on by many people, and could make for some socially awkward situations. Also, most therapists would caution you to wait a while before starting a new relationship. However, it’s worth noting that for couples who’ve been separated for years, they may decide to get divorced in order to remarry. In which case they is little to no social stigma to worry about.
Can I change my child’s last name after the divorce?
No, you may not. The law in Michigan states that a parent may not change their child’s name without the approval of the child’s other parent. And yes, this applies even if you have sole physical custody of your child after the divorce is final. If you want to change your child’s name, you would need to file a petition with the court, and notify all interested parties, providing them enough time to object if they choose. Your child’s other parent may object, and that is their right.
How do I keep my children after the divorce?
This is a tricky question, and one that you will find rarely has a clear cut one-size-fits-all answer. In Michigan, custody is not assigned based simply on what a parent wants. This is partly because in many cases, both parents want sole custody and there is no way a judge can grant that. Also, it has been proven that children do better when they have relationships with both their fathers and their mothers.
In Michigan, there are a number of factors that the court takes into account when deciding custody. Obviously, the “best interests of the child” supersedes everything else, but there are actually 12 factors that the judge usually refers to in making their decision. These include:
- The love, affection, and emotional ties between the child and the parents
- The involvement of each parent in the day-to-day life of the child
- The ability and willingness of each parent to meet the child’s basic physical and medical needs
- The safety and security of each parent’s home
- The moral fitness of the parents
Do I have to have an attorney to get divorced?
No you don’t. You’re not legally required to have an attorney represent you through the divorce process. However, filing for divorce can be a pretty complex process,and a lot can go wrong that has lasting consequences. To ensure that your best interests are properly represented, and unnecessary delays are avoided, you should have an experienced family law attorney representing you, both in and out of court.
If you or a loved one are considering a divorce in Michigan, and have questions about the process or what to expect next, call us 24/7 at 866 766 5245. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you every step of the way.