Divorce can be a difficult time for anyone. During this time, it is important to know your options. For the purposes of this article, we will be operating under the assumption that there are no marital children and that this is a Michigan Divorce.
So, you have just been served by your spouse after years of marriage. You thought things were going well or, maybe you knew they weren’t great but never thought you were at the point of divorce. Unfortunately, you are not alone. If you were served by your spouse, you would have received what is called a Complaint for Divorce. A Complaint for Divorce is the first step in a Michigan divorce case. A Complaint for Divorce is an official notice that there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. Your next steps from here are critical. After being served you must file what is called an Answer. An Answer is your response to the allegations mentioned by your spouse in the Complaint for Divorce. There are specific statutory guidelines that indicate how quickly a response must be filed. Depending on your personal feelings about the current Divorce, you may want to file what is called a Counter-Complaint. A Counter-Complaint preserves your ability to continue with the Michigan Divorce if your spouse changes his/her mind. If a Counter-Complaint is not filed and your spouse changes her/his mind then you could be required to refile and pay the filing fee again if you wish to continue with the Divorce.
The next major step in the Michigan Divorce process is called Discovery. Discovery is a process where each side is requesting specific information. This information can be requested in the form of Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents or Requests for Admissions. There are specific statutory guidelines that indicate when this information should be provided and responded to by each party.
After Discovery is completed, and there is no settlement reached then the next step is Mediation. Mediation is a process wherein both parties agree to meet with a neutral party to discuss and resolve any issues that may be present in the Divorce.
After Mediation, if all issues have been resolved, the parties enter into an agreement called a Consent Judgment of Divorce. Once the terms of the Consent Judgement of Divorce have been drafted and signed by both parties, the Michigan Divorce is not finalized. The final step is that statutory proofs must be taken in open Court and a Judge needs to sign the Judgment as an Order. An Order is official instructions by a Judge to do a specific thing or refrain from a specific action.
Even though divorce is difficult, the process does not have to be. If you have the right team of legal professionals assisting you, that can make the process much more manageable. Please keep in mind your specific situation may be somewhat different from the norm. The information provided in this article is a guide to the basics of the Michigan Divorce process. Please call, 734.927.9782, Michigan Divorce Attorneys at Stelmock Law Firm, PC to discuss your matter and additional items you will need for your Michigan divorce checklist. We represent clients in the Metro Detroit area (Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Livonia, Westland, Ann Arbor, Novi) and throughout Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Livingston counties. The firm’s office is located at 8556 N. Canton Center Road, Canton, Michigan 48187