Michigan Divorce FAQs (Part 2)

In the first installment in this two part series on commonly asked questions about divorce in Michigan, and their corresponding answers, we covered the first six items on our list. Moving on, we are going to wrap up this FAQs segment with the last five questions, and provide you with the answers.


How do I get the divorce complaint to my spouse?

The divorce complaint has to be served to your spouse, because the law requires that they be formally notified that you have filed for divorce. However, it may not be served by you, as the law clearly states that it can be served by any adult NOT directly involved in the action. So you could have a friend or family member serve your spouse, or your could hire a professional to serve the papers. It’s completely up to you, as long as it isn’t you.  If you are concerned about how your spouse may react to being served, ask your attorney for the best method to serve him or her.


How soon can I remarry?

You may remarry as soon as your Judgement of Divorce has been signed by the judge and entered with the Circuit Court clerk. If you choose to go down to the Justice of the Peace mere minutes after you receive your divorce papers, then legally that is your right. But be aware that in most situations, this is socially frowned upon behavior, and most mental health professionals would encourage you to wait a while before remarrying.


What if my spouse doesn’t want to get divorced?

Under Michigan law, only one party in the marriage has to claim that the marriage is ‘broken’ for the court to grant a divorce. Michigan is a no-fault state, and doesn’t require that people claim a reason for the divorce other than that the bonds of matrimony have been destroyed. If your spouse doesn’t want a divorce, their efforts may frustrate and slow the process, but they cannot stop it from happening.


How do I divorce my common law spouse?

Common law marriages are marriages that a state may choose to recognize as legally binding, if a couple has lived together “as man and wife” for a long time, and own joint assets. However, Michigan no longer recognizes common law marriage. So whether you have been living with your partner for five years, fifteen years, or forty years, your union is not a legal marriage. You have only to pack your things and go for the relationship to be considered over.  While you can’t legally go through a divorce, you may have other legal recourse if you are having trouble dividing assets between you and someone you’ve lived with as man and wife.


May I change my child’s last name after the divorce?

No, the law states that a parent may not change their child’s name without the approval of the child’s other parent. So even if you have sole custody of your child after the divorce is final, you will still need to file a petition with the court, and then notify all interested parties, providing them enough time to object if they choose.


We hope that this question and answer series has been helpful for you, if you are considering filing for divorce in Michigan. However, if you have any other questions, or are in need of good legal representation during your divorce, please contact our experienced family law attorneys. We are here to help.