Any divorce is a complicated process which requires both emotional, financial, and time investments. It is not surprising that divorcing couples often wonder how they can ease the procedure. There are various ways to arrange marriage dissolution which depend on the particular circumstances. Whether the couple has minor children or not, whether they have a lot of property and debts or not, whether they want to separate amicably or insist on litigation – all these factors make possible different divorce options. However, anyway, the rule of law, above all, and each divorce case proceeds through the court. State law determines the residency requirements to file for divorce, official grounds for divorce, the possible length of the process, the cost of divorce filing fee, and many other conditions. And the starting point of dissolution of any type is filling out the divorce forms, and submitting them with the court. As Michigan divorce is not an exception, let’s sort out what are the required legal forms, and how to file for divorce, what are the main filing rules worth to remember to get a fast and easy divorce in the Great Lakes State.
Contest or not to contest?
Anyone whose marriage breakdown occurred in Michigan, and who has been a resident of Michigan for at least 180 days (as well as has lived in a particular county for at least ten days) is eligible to file for divorce within the state.
If the spouses separated outside the state, either of them must be a resident of Michigan for one year, or there must be evidence that the parties lived together as husband and wife within the state.
If the couples meet these residency requirements, they can file for divorce in the Circuit Court in the county where either plaintiff or defendant currently resides.
Then, there two ways to arrange a divorce – to contest the case or not.
A contested divorce is a proceeding which implies litigation, numerous court hearings, and making decisions by the judge. Typically, both spouses hire attorneys to represent their interests before the court.
An uncontested divorce is a far more straightforward procedure, and it is prevalent now in Michigan and all over the US. Given the fact that Michigan is a no-fault state, and the only official ground for divorce assumed by the state family law is Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (meaning that the spouses just cannot get along anymore; any details are not required), Michigan courts favor uncontested divorces. So, an uncontested divorce means that the spouses can dissolve quite amicably, avoiding court battles.
Their main task in such case is to reach an agreement about the most disputable divorce issues like child custody (if needed), property division, alimony, and so on. All these decisions must be outlined in a Marital Settlement Agreement; the document must be signed and notarized.
Divorce process basics
1. Michigan divorce officially starts with preparing a “Complaint for Divorce” form and “the Summons” filled out by either party. So, this party is called a plaintiff in a lawsuit.
If we talk about uncontested divorce, a Marital Settlement Agreement should be added as well. Other divorce forms may be needed depending on the situation too. Anyway, after gathering and filing the forms with a proper Circuit Court, the plaintiff must “serve” the other spouse with copies of submitted divorce papers within 91 days after filing.
2. Serving process is an official procedure of handling the paperwork to the defendant.
Plaintiff themselves cannot transfer the documents directly to the defendant, even if there is an uncontested divorce, and both spouses agree to divorce.
There are several established by Michigan divorce laws ways you can deliver the papers to your spouse. They are:
to ask an adult (over 18 years old) friend or relative who is not involved in a case;
to pay the local sheriff’s department, police department, or a process server.
The server must personally give a copy of legal papers or mail them to the defendant, and then, to fill out and sign “the Proof of Service” on the back of one copy of the Summons form before the notary.
3. With the day of filing, a so-called cooling-off period starts. This is the waiting period, which determines the minimum possible length of divorce according to Michigan divorce laws. If the couple does not have underage children, a divorce may be granted in 60 days. If kids are involved, a divorce cannot be granted until 6 months have passed. Besides, depending on the circumstances, a particular divorce case could take longer.
4. And finally, after the waiting period passes, the spouses should attend a court hearing (the only one, if the case is uncontested). Uncontested hearings typically are brief and non-stressful. The judge needs to review all the paperwork and marital agreement, to consider whether all the decisions are fair, maybe ask a few questions. Then, the judge signs a Court Order and enters a Judgment of Divorce. Thus, marriage is officially terminated.
Divorce legal forms. How to get and complete
All the Michigan divorce forms except Notice of Taking Records Deposition are the same both for a contested and uncontested divorce and should be submitted and approved by the court due to the same principles.
However, you may face some difficulties with gathering the necessary papers. Let’s find out how to avoid hassle and save money at the same time.
Surely, when the spouses resort to the lawyer help for their uncontested divorce, they have nothing to worry about – a qualified attorney does all the job. However, the lawyer’s service is costly, even if it is just about the preparation of the documents. An alternative is a do-it-yourself divorce, which means that the spouses gather and fill out all the needed legal forms by themselves. In Michigan, you really can get free divorce forms online, using the website of Michigan Courts. These forms are definitely not fake and reliable. What is the problem? In fact, divorce forms can be pretty tricky, and also, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may need a lot of various forms at the same time.
Default Request, Affidavit, Entry and Judgment, Answer and Waiver
Request for Certificate of Military Service Status, Notice of Hearing, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act Affidavit, Order for Alternative Service, Order for Service by Publication/Posting and Notice of Action, Notice of Taking Records Deposition – are only part of what forms may be needed in different divorce scenarios.
A person without a legal background, who, at the same time, experiences divorce stress along with a lot of related challenges may just have no time to sort out the filing rules and other paperwork details. And even a tiny mistake in documents may lead to the fact that the court will not accept your documents and you will have to start all over again.
Online divorce as the best way out
That is why more and more divorcing couples in Michigan choose online divorce as a revolutionary way to file for divorce without hiring a lawyer, attending the clerk’s office and wasting time on bureaucracy issues.
With the help of https://www.onlinedivorce.com/divorce/michigan/, you can get a completed divorce paperwork kit in the shortest terms via the internet.
To prepare your divorce forms using an online divorce provider you should choose one of the companies, login to the site and respond a brief online questionnaire. Your answers will allow the system to create a divorce paperwork package and adapt it to your unique circumstances and also to the laws and regulations of your state and county. As a result, you can be sure that your documents will be completed automatically and completed correctly. Typically, the customer receives the ready-made forms via email within two days.
Wherein, the average cost of online divorce services starts from $130, while the lawyers’ flat fees for uncontested cases are about $600 in Michigan.
Cheap and quick divorce in Michigan is possible!
You can get free divorce forms in your local court and arrange a process by yourself. Along with it, you may ease the process and entrust the preparation of the legal forms to professionals by using an advanced and reliable online divorce service.