Family law proceedings can quickly become stressful and contentious. Some of the issues that may be determined during a divorce include where the children will live, how much spousal support and child support must be paid, and how a couple's property will be divided. At McCroskey Law, our Muskegon family law attorneys also help people with guardianship issues and changes of domicile, or moving with children. We also maintain offices in Grand Rapids and Battle Creek, from which we can serve individuals in many areas of Michigan. If you need a child custody attorney or guidance with any other aspect of a divorce proceeding, we can vigorously protect your interests.Dissolving a Marriage in Michigan
If you are filing for a divorce in Michigan, you or your spouse must have resided in the state for 180 days immediately before filing the divorce complaint and within the county where you are filing for the 10 immediately preceding days. These residency requirements need to be met in order for the court to accept the case.
Unlike some states that grant divorces based on fault, in which one spouse has committed adultery or otherwise adversely affected the marriage, Michigan offers no-fault divorces. This means that at least one of the spouses will need to testify that there has been a breakdown of the marriage such that the purpose of the marriage has been destroyed and there is no likelihood that the marriage can be repaired. However, the court can consider fault when dividing property or deciding whether alimony is appropriate.
If you and your spouse do not have minor children, you will have a 60-day waiting period before the divorce is granted. However, if you do have minor children, the waiting period is usually six months. Often, child custody issues make a divorce more complex, and in some cases, a court will refer a case to the friend of the court office for recommendations.
In some cases, particularly with the help of attorneys and a mediator, spouses can agree on a custody and parenting time plan. The court will approve a plan if it decides that the plan is in the best interests of the child. However, if you cannot come to an agreement, the court will decide, again based on the best interests of the child. Both parents may have to testify, and in some cases, teachers, family members, and experts will also testify.
Michigan follows the rules of equitable distribution when dividing a couple’s property. "Equitable" does not necessarily imply an equal division. Instead, it is a consideration of what is fair in light of various factors. When distributing property, a Michigan court is required to consider the party's conduct and past relations, how long the marriage lasted, the needs of the parties, each party's ability to earn a living, the source of each asset, the age and health of each party, the reason for the divorce, general principles of equity, and any other relevant factors. While fault will not be relevant to granting the divorce, it may be considered as a factor in property distribution.
In the interests of fairness, court can make a judgment to restore to either spouse real or personal property that came to either spouse because they married, or it can award to either party the equivalent value of the property to be paid in money. The court can also award to either spouse a portion of the property owned by the other spouse, based on what is equitable in light of all the circumstances. For example, if one spouse contributed to the acquisition or improvement of the property, it may be appropriate to grant that spouse some or all of the property or an equivalent value.Enlist a Family Law Attorney in Muskegon or Beyond
For many families, divorce and all the issues that come with it give rise to strong emotions. It is crucial to retain a divorce attorney you can trust to handle your case with the experience, tenacity, and compassion it deserves. At McCroskey Law, our Muskegon family law lawyers have strong ties to the community, and we work hard to pursue the best possible outcomes for our clients. Also maintaining offices in Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, we can represent people in many Michigan communities, including Kalamazoo, Niles, Jackson, Ludington, and Holland. Call us at 800-442-0237 or use our online form to set up a free consultation with an alimony attorney or seek representation in any other matter related to a divorce.