When Planning a Divorce, Take Note of Michigan’s Residency Requirement!

Are you a Michigan resident? If not, that may derail your divorce plans!


There are many things to keep in mind when planning a divorce. How to divide up your assets, what the best custody arrangement would be, child support amounts, disentangling your finances and a whole lot more. But while those details are all very personal, and very important, there are a host of technical details you need to be aware of as well. And one of those is Michigan’s residency requirement for divorce.


What is a residency requirement?


A residency requirement refers to the fact that you and your spouse need to have lived in Michigan for a certain period of time in order to file for divorce here. What requirements, you say? Simple. There are only two. In order to get divorced in Michigan, the law says that you or your spouse need to have:

  • Been residents of Michigan for at least 180 before the date you file, and
  • Been residents of the county where you’re filing for divorce for at least 10 days before the filing date.


Are there any exceptions to that rule?


Yes, there are two exceptions to those rules. Namely, if either you or your spouse are not US citizens, or if you have children and your spouse is likely to take them out of the country against your will. In other words, if your spouse has family in another country, or citizenship in another country, and you’re afraid they will take your children and leave the US in order to keep the kids entirely for themselves. In these two situations, the court will grant you permission to file for divorce. However, you will need to provide evidence to back up your claims.


Why would Michigan need a residency requirement?


Having residency requirements for divorce may seem like an unnecessary regulation. However, there’s actually a good reason for it, namely – subject matter jurisdiction. What does that mean? Well, subject matter jurisdiction is actually a requirement in the United States Constitution, and what it means is that in order for a court to have authority over a particular matter, that matter must be within its jurisdiction. Translation: If you don’t live here, the court here doesn’t have the authority to grant you a divorce.


As a result, Michigan law requires that at least one of the two people involved in the divorce be residents of the state of MIchigan. Michigan courts don’t have subject matter jurisdiction over residents of other states, and so they wouldn’t be able to enforce any of the court orders (like child custody or spousal support) made during the course of the divorce. This is why you’re required to prove that you’re a Michigan resident before you file for divorce in Michigan!


Do you need help preparing for your Michigan divorce?


If you or a loved one are considering divorce in Michigan, and you’r already residents of the state, we recommend that you get help from an experienced divorce attorney. The divorce process can be daunting and confusing, made even more difficult because the law is fluid, and requirements can chance. So call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5245, and discuss your situation with a skilled family law attorney. We are here to help!