family law faqs
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Can I file for divorce in Michigan?
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Michigan?
Do I need to hire an attorney?
Does fault matter?
How long does a divorce in Michigan take?
Can we just get divorced and worry about the financial issues later?
I filed for divorce but now I am not sure I want to proceed, what can I do?
When can my child have “a say” in custody/parenting time?
1. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child;
2. The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance
and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any;
3. The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing,
medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place
of medical care, and other material needs;
4. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of
5. The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes;
6. The moral fitness of the parties involved;
7. The mental and physical health of the parties involved;
8. The home, school, and community record of the child;
9. The reasonable preference of the child. If the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to
10. The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and
continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the
11. Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the
12. Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
These factors are the law and can be found at MCL 722.23.
A divorce will typically include the following documents:
2. Summons. The summons notifies the other spouse that he or she has been sued and tells him or her where and when to answer and that a default may be entered if he or she does not appear and answer. The summons is served by mail (certified), by the defendant appearing at our office and signing for service, or by a private process server (private investigator or sheriff).
3. Affidavit of service/return of service. This document shows that the defendant has been provided a copy of the papers filed with the court.
4. Verified statement to the Friend of the Court. This statement informs the Friend of the Court of facts about child or spousal support. The statement is not necessary if you and your spouse do not have any minor children from your marriage to each other, unless you are seeking spousal support.
5. Record of divorce. This document is a statistical record required by the Michigan Department of Health.
6. Ex parte orders. Ex parte orders are issued without prior notice to the defendant. The order must be served on the other party, who may then file objections. An ex parte order must contain an affidavit that is a sworn statement that affirms the facts stated.
7. Notice of hearing, motions, and filing fee. A motion is a request to the court for some type of relief. A motion asks that the matter be set for hearing, and the notice of hearing says where and when. Each motion that is filed costs $20, plus you will be charged attorney time for the preparation of the motion and time at the court hearing. Examples of motions include requests for exclusive use of the house, child support, spousal support, or the return of tangible property. Any time you want the court to do something, we must file a motion asking the court to decide the issue and make a decision in the form of an order.
8. Temporary orders. These orders control the case until your divorce is final. An order is the document that is entered with the court after the motion. The motion is the request to the court and the order is the court’s decision regarding the request. There are generally three types of orders: (a) ex parte, (b) an order from a motion hearing, and (c) stipulated orders meaning the parties reached an agreement without the need of a hearing. Temporary orders may be requested at any time after your case is started and before a judgment of divorce is entered. Only the lawyers are allowed to speak at motion hearings unless the judge asks you a specific question.
9. Judgment of divorce. This is the document that grants you a divorce. It also provides for custody, parenting time, support, and property division. YOUR DIVORCE IS NOT FINAL UNTIL THE JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE IS ENTERED WITH THE COURT AND SIGNED BY THE JUDGE. A SETTLEMENT PLACED ON THE RECORD IS NOT A JUDGMENT. THE JUDGMENT IS THE FINAL WRITTEN DOCUMENT IN YOUR CASE. IF WE ENTER A CONSENT JUDGMENT (AGREED ON BY THE PARTIES), IT IS A CONTRACT BETWEEN YOU AND THE OPPOSING PARTY. ONCE THE JUDGMENT HAS BEEN ENTERED WITH THE COURT IT CAN BE MODIFIED ONLY UNDER VERY LIMITED CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS FRAUD, DURESS, MISTAKE, ETC. THEREFORE, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND ALL OF THE TERMS OF THE JUDGMENT BEFORE YOU SIGN AND IT IS ENTERED WITH THE COURT.
Who’s Who and What They Do
The Defendant is the opposing party.
The divorce is resolved by the Family Court Division of the Circuit Court.
The Friend of the Court is an office of the family court that investigates and provides recommendations about child support, child custody, and parenting time; collects and distributes support payments; and may request the enforcement of court orders for support and parenting time.
The Judge is the individual assigned to hear and decide your case if you and your spouse do not come to a settlement. We have no control over the judge selection as it is a random selection made by the clerk’s office. Once assigned, the judge will be assigned to your case for pre- and postjudgment issues. Unless one of the parties knows the judge selected, we cannot change the initial judge selection. Every judge is different and has different views. Once selected, we will be able to provide you with some of the preferences of your judge.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU, NO MATTER HOW BIG OR SMALL YOUR NEEDS MAY BE.
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