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Michigan Family Law Blog

Filing and Serving Divorce Papers in Michigan

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Jun 01, 2021

You have to follow the procedural and substantive laws in Michigan to get a divorce. Procedural rules deal with things like the number of days you have to do something. Substantive law has to do with things like how to calculate a parent's child support obligation.

Working with a lawyer can help you avoid the problems that can arise from not being aware of these rules and laws. A Michiga divorce attorney can answer your questions about filing and serving divorce papers in Michigan.

Requirements to File for a Divorce in Michigan

Like most other states, Michigan does not require you to allege or prove fault, also called misconduct, to file for or receive a dissolution of marriage. You only need to state in the petition that the marriage is broken, and there is no reasonable likelihood that your and your spouse will reconcile.

The state of Michigan must have jurisdiction over the divorce case. For Michigan to have jurisdiction, at least one of you has to live in the state for at least six months right before you file the divorce case. The lawsuit has to get filed in the county where one of you lives.

Topics Your Divorce Pleadings Must Cover

A divorce can do much more than end a marriage, depending on your situation. The court should apportion the debts between the spouse, divide the assets into marital and separate property, and distribute those items.

People with minor children have to address who will have custody of the children, how much child support will get paid, and the parenting time schedule. The divorce should either order spousal support, also called alimony or maintenance, or specifically deny such support.

You and your spouse can save a lot of money if you can reach an agreement on all of these topics. Your attorney can draft the agreement and other papers for a non-contested divorce. These cases go through the courts more quickly and at far less cost to the parties than contested cases.

Getting Service on Your Spouse for a Michigan Divorce

Your divorce case can get dismissed if you do not get service on your spouse in time. Your lawyer might have to request an additional summons from the court if the process server has difficulty accomplishing service. Your spouse will receive a copy of the petition, also called the complaint and the summons from the court. You might need to serve additional documents on your spouse.

The process server goes in person and gives your spouse a copy of all the initial documents your lawyer filed with the court and the summons. After doing so, the process server completes and signs the Proof of Service form in front of a notary and files the form with the court. You cannot be the process server in your divorce.

In an amicable divorce, you can have your lawyer send the initial pleadings and summons to your spouse's attorney to save your spouse the embarrassment of getting served by a sheriff's deputy or another process server at work or home. Your spouse's lawyer can then file an entry of appearance with the court.

In some situations, it is possible to accomplish service by mail or by alternate service, but if you do not follow the rules precisely, the judge could dismiss your case. A Michigan divorce attorney can prepare the pleadings, file the case, and get your spouse served. Get in touch with ou office today.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...

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