The Basics of Filing for Divorce

The process of legally ending a marriage is started when one of the spouses files a Complaint for Divorce with the Circuit Court. To be eligible to file for divorce in Michigan, you must have resided in Michigan for at least 180 days and in the county where you want to file for at least 10 days.  

The Complaint for Divorce must state that there has been a “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.” The Complaint will also briefly describe how the spouse wants to divide the marital estate, any request for spousal support, and how they want custody and parenting time of minor children to be decided.

After the Complaint has been filed with the Court, the other spouse must be properly served with the paperwork and the other spouse may file an Answer to the Complaint.

The parties can then begin the processes of negotiating how to divide their marital estate (property, bank accounts, debts, etc.), determining spousal support, and the plan for continuing to raise any minor children. If the parties are not able to agree on these issues, the Court will decide them after a trial. 

The final step is to prepare a Judgment of Divorce. This document contains all of the agreements that the parties have made or the findings of a Judge after a trial. After a brief court hearing, the Judge assigned to the case signs the Judgment of Divorce which legally ends the marital relationship.