Welcome back and thanks for joining us for the wrap up on this discussion. We’ve been breaking down the somewhat tedious process involved in filing for divorce on your own, and this is the last part of the list. So if you’ve already had all the necessary discussions with your spouse, filled out all the paperwork, filed everything with the court in your county, and served your spouse their notice, here’s what comes next…
Wait for your spouse’s response
Your divorce can’t progress properly if your spouse doesn’t respond to the notice. Here in Michigan, your spouse has 21 days to respond. However, if they live outside of Michigan and you served them by mail, then they have 28 days to respond. When your spouse files their response to your petition, they can either agree to the terms you’ve spelled out (which is what you’re hoping for), or they can deny the statements you’ve made and counterfile. That means they’re also filing for divorce, but asking the court for a different distribution of property, or a different custody agreement than the one you included in your divorce petition.
Wait for the court to enter a judgement for divorce
Now that you and your spouse have (hopefully) worked out all the details, and you’re both on the same page about what needs to happen next, you need to wait for the court to enter a judgement for divorce. For couples with children, the waiting period is 180 days. If you don’t have kids you’re required to wait 60 days before the court will enter your judgement.
Attend any required classes and meet with friend of the court
But don’t worry – you’re not likely to sit around and do nothing while you’re waiting. If you and your spouse have kids, chances are you’re going to be required to sit down with friend of the court to figure out any parenting concerns you may have. This could be due to disagreements about custody or visitation, or even as a result of problems you have with your spouse’s parenting style. Also, the Judge may order you to attend a parenting class if they believe you need the help.
Attend the final hearing
Once you’ve completed all of your court ordered classes, met with the friend of the court, and maybe even met with the Judge for a pre-trial conference, they’re likely to set a date for your final hearing. If that’s the case, then you’re only one step away from your divorce being official. If however, you’re still not able to agree on terms with your spouse, the Judge may delay your divorce final hearing and instead send you to meet with a mediator. Only once you’ve got all your ducks in a row will your final hearing be scheduled. And only once you’ve attended your final hearing, will you be officially divorced.
In the end, you’re better off hiring an attorney!
Getting divorced is so often like unpicking a tangled ball of yarn. There are countless small knots that need time and attention to unpick, and endless unexpected tangles that need to be waded through. It requires patience, skill, experience, and a keen understanding of the law and your rights. Which is why it’s just all around better if you get an expert to help you.
So if you’re considering getting divorced and you aren’t sure if you should go it along, or hire a lawyer, we hope you choose not do it alone. Our skilled and experienced family law attorneys have been helping the people of mid-Michigan with their divorces for decades. We know exactly what’s involved, and how to ensure that you don’t end up with a settlement you’ll regret in the future. So call 866 766 5245 today and get the right help, at the right time.