Michigan Divorce FAQs (Part 1)

People who are considering divorce, or who have already discussed parting ways with their spouses, usually have a lot of questions.  After all, divorce is not something that most people do with any regularity, and laws can change over time, making it hard to keep up with what is current. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of FAQs (Facts and Questions, for those of you who aren’t sure) pertaining to divorce, for our readers in Michigan.


What does ‘no fault’ divorce mean?

Michigan is a no fault divorce state, which means that there does not have to be ‘fault’ on the part of either party in order for the court to grant your divorce. However, fault can play a role in how the court divides assets, and assigns spousal support and child custody.


Is divorce expensive in Michigan?

The cost of a Michigan divorce depends on a number of factors. The county you live in, how much you and your spouse contest the divorce, whether child custody is an issue, the amount of assets to be divided and which attorneys you hire are all things that can affect the final cost.

Can I change my name when I get divorced?

Yes. It only takes a court order for a woman to change her name back to her maiden name, or to any other name she chooses, at the time of divorce. Once the judgement has been entered, the name change is official with the court, and you can proceed with changing your name with the appropriate agencies. This would mean changing your name at the social security office, or on your driver’s licence.


How soon can I file for divorce?

If you are already a permanent resident in Michigan you can file for divorce at your earliest convenience.  However, if you have recently moved to MIchigan, you will need to have lived in the state for a minimum of 180 days, and in the county where you are filing for a minimum of 10 days.


How long will my divorce take?

This is a tough one to answer, as it is affected by a number of factors. Some of it will depend on you, for example, how quickly you are to provide your attorney with the necessary paperwork, will affect the timeline. Other factors like how contested your divorce is will also play a role. It is also important to remember that in Michigan, any divorce has a waiting period of 60 days, and if there are children, the mandatory waiting period is 6 months before the State can grant your divorce.  In some circumstances, the waiting period can be waived upon a showing of “good cause.”  Ultimately, every divorce is different, an experienced attorney can help guide you through the divorce process as quickly as possible, however, depending on the circumstances, delays are possible.


Do I need an attorney?

Yes and no. No, you are not required to have an attorney when you get divorced. However, it is highly recommended, as filing for divorce can be a complex process. In order to ensure that your rights are protected and your best interests are properly represented, you should have an experienced family law attorney representing you, both in and out of court.


Please join us next time for the second installment in this two part series on basic questions and answers about divorce in Michigan. You learn a useful thing or two…