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How long does it take to get a divorce in Michigan?

If you are considering divorce, it is essential to understand how long the divorce process takes in Michigan. Depending on what kind of divorce action you are filing, the divorce process can take anywhere from two months to a year or more.

If no children are involved in the Divorce in Michigan, the mandatory waiting period is 60 days. If minor children remain in the marriage at the time of filing, the minimum mandatory waiting period is at least six months before your divorce can be finalized. These are the mandatory waiting periods set under Michigan Law. There are some exceptions for which a Michigan divorce attorney could be of assistance.

The minimum mandatory waiting period is only relevant in cases where you have an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the major decisions regarding property and the minor children are generally agreed upon between the married parties.

michigan mandatory waiting period divorce

The Statutory Mandatory Waiting Period in Michigan

In Michigan, the 60 day waiting period is statutory and is located in MCL 552.9(f). In addition, the six-month statutory waiting period when there is a minor child present is also presented in the same section of the statute. MCL552.9(f) states in part:

No proofs or testimony shall be taken in any case for Divorce until the expiration of 60 days from the time of filing the bill of complaint, except where the cause for Divorce is desertion, or when the testimony is taken conditionally for the purpose of perpetuating such testimony. In every case where there are dependent minor children under the age of 18 years, no proofs or testimony shall be taken in such cases for Divorce until the expiration of 6 months from the day the bill of complaint is filed. In cases of unusual hardship or such compelling necessity as shall appeal to the conscience of the court, upon petition and proper showing, it may take testimony at any time after the expiration of 60 days from the time of filing the bill of complaint. Testimony may be taken conditionally at any time for the purpose of perpetuating such testimony. When the defendant in any case for Divorce is not domiciled in this state at the time of commencing the suit or shall not have been domiciled herein at the time the cause for Divorce arose, before any decree of Divorce shall be granted the complainant must prove that the parties have actually lived and cohabited together as husband and wife within this state, or that the complainant has in good faith resided in this state for 1 year immediately preceding the filing of the bill of complaint for Divorce.

MCL 552.9(f)

The waiting period for a divorce with minor children in Michigan is six months. However, there are exceptions to this requirement that can be filed by the parties and approved upon review by the court

In many circumstances, a court will waive the six-month statutory waiting period for Divorce in Michigan with minor children. In addition, many judges liberally apply an exception to this law called “unusual hardship or such compelling necessity,” which means that these cases can be completed after 60 days and before the six months have elapsed.

A showing of unusual hardship or other compelling necessity varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. A local divorce attorney will be able to advise you as to the likelihood of a waiver being granted in your County. Contact a law firm where you are planning on filing to see if this exception is available.

How long does a divorce take? 

As you can see, the time it takes for a divorce depends on many factors; divorce time varies widely depending on the complexity of each case. It also takes into account whether there are children involved. Therefore, each Divorce is different, and there are many factors involved in how long it takes to Divorce.

A determinant in how long a divorce will take is whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce. The difference between the two is whether there is an agreement between the parties. If there is no agreement, the Divorce will likely exceed the minimum waiting periods.

divorce how long does it take

A contested divorce

Michigan contested divorces are not always easy to handle. Contention often centers around the same major issues, including a division of marital assets and alimony payments or child custody agreements that need resolution before you can finalize your divorce proceedings.

Divorce is always hard, but it can be particularly tricky when you don’t agree on some finer points. For example, you might have trouble deciding how your retirement funds should get split up or where to live after a break-up? Is a spouse hiding assets.

Divorce is always a difficult time for families. The typical hot button issues during a contested divorce include sensitive topics such as:

  • child custody, parenting time, and child support
  • division of assets and debt allocation
  • alimony payments or spousal support amounts

These are just some examples of why divorces often become more complicated than we want them to be for ourselves and friends and family members.

An Uncontested Divorce

The concept of an “uncontested divorce” is a bit more complex than it sounds. However, an agreement can be made where all issues between the parties have been resolved without going through litigation or mediation, leaving only those things that were amicably worked out in courtrooms for couples who want their marriage dissolved quickly and simply with no hassle.

If you are looking to get a quick and straightforward divorce, uncontested divorces may be the way for your family. The advantages in speed, simplicity, and the convenience of an uncontested procedure. It could save time and money that would otherwise have been spent on lawyers’ fees or court proceedings.

Do I need an agreement before I retain a divorce lawyer?

Hiring an experienced divorce attorney should be your first step in divorce proceedings. An expert perspective from the legal field will pinpoint any potential problems while drafting any settlement with your spouse.

Both sides need to have representation throughout negotiations. In addition, having a lawyer for legal advice will help to make lasting divorce settlements.

The clock starts when the divorce papers are filed with the Court

Any mandatory waiting period starts with the filing of the divorce papers with the Circuit Court. The start time for either the 60 days or six month waiting period commences upon the filing of the

how long does a divorce take

What is the Michigan Divorce Process?

The divorce process begins when one spouse file for Divorce with a summons and complaint in the local Circuit Court where the parties reside. It is here where a divorce filing fee is paid. This is also when divorce papers are filed with the Court. In Michigan, the state’s residency requirements require one of the parties to live in the State for six months and the County for ten days to file.

After the divorce petition or complaint is filed, the divorce papers must be served on the opposing party. This service can be done by having a third party give a copy to the opposing party or having your spouse acknowledge assistance in front of a notary public.

These steps occur in both a contested and uncontested divorce. The time requirements for these steps are minimal. The key to determining the amount of time a divorce will take is whether or not the divorce decisions are made by the agreement of the parties or by the family law court.

Will you have a divorce trial to decide your final settlement?

If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse on property division and your children, the Court will assign a Judge to make these decisions. Each step on the way to trial adds considerable time before your divorce can be finalized. If you foresee a divorce trial in your case, it can be a year or more until your case is finished.

Temporary Orders

The court can issue temporary orders that outline specific actions that must take place immediately and last until the final divorce hearing. These court orders usually include such matters as child support, spousal support or custody of your children, or even parenting time orders.

These temporary orders are usually a result of a motion being filed by your divorce attorney. A hearing is held, and the Judge will issue a temporary decision. These temporary decisions are orders that must be followed until made permanent in a final divorce settlement or changed by a subsequent court order.

Divorce Discover

The discovery process is a legal mechanism designed to gather information about either party in the event of Divorce. Discovery is how a side collects evidence on the other side to be used in a divorce case. Four steps typically happen during the divorce discovery process:

  • Request for Production: This is when attorneys request documents such as bank statements, statements of income, and other information that they feel will benefit their clients.
  • Interrogatories: These are a list of questions that attorneys send to the other side.
  • Requests for Admission: This is a list of questions that one should either admit to or deny.
  • Disclosures: In Michigan, most Courts require disclosing financial information to the other side in a divorce proceeding.

Divorce Mediation

If there remain differences, the parties can attend mediation. Mediation is often a service of the local Friend of the Court or conducted by professional mediators. Judges will usually order mediation before a trial to attempt to resolve issues.

Divorce Trial

Lastly, if an agreement cannot be reached, the Judge will order a trial. A trial is where the parties present evidence as to the issues of a divorce. Then, the trial judge will decide on all the unresolved problems. The final trial can often be over a year after the case was initially filed.

If you have questions about how long a divorce takes in Michigan or any other questions related to the divorce process, it is a good idea to consult with a divorce lawyer.

Bruce Law Firm offers a free consultation to discuss divorce and other family law-related matters. However, every divorce case is different, and it is essential to get expert guidance if you are considering filing for Divorce.