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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, August 23, 2019

What Is a No-Fault Divorce?

No-fault refers to whether a “ground” is required to obtain a divorce. Each state enacts laws that define the requirements for obtaining a divorce in that state. It is important to understand the divorce laws before proceeding to protect your best interests during the entire divorce process. A Michigan divorce attorney can help you by explaining Michigan divorce laws, including no-fault divorces.

What are the Grounds for Divorce in Michigan?

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. Therefore, you do not need to prove any grounds for a divorce. Grounds are typically defined as “fault” for the breakup of the marriage. Grounds for divorce in other states might include adultery, abandonment, substance addiction, physical abuse, imprisonment, or mental abuse.

In Michigan, all divorce actions are based on the premise that the parties have irreconcilable differences. A spouse does not need to prove anything else or claim any other reason for desiring to end the marriage.

There is a mandatory waiting period for a Michigan divorce. If no minor children are involved, spouses must wait 60 days after the divorce petition is filed to request a divorce decree. If the parties have minor children, the waiting period is six months after the filing of the divorce petition. After the mandatory waiting period, either party may request a hearing to obtain a divorce, provided the parties agree on all issues related to the divorce.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces in Michigan

Even though a spouse does not need to prove grounds to obtain a divorce, a divorce action could take more than a year to settle if the parties do not agree on the terms of the divorce. In an uncontested divorce action, both spouses reach an agreement regarding custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and division of debts. There are no matters to bring before the court other than the request for a legal divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually quicker and less costly than a contested divorce.

However, if the parties disagree with any term, the divorce becomes uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, the court issues an order resolving the terms of the divorce after hearing evidence from both parties. Custody and property division are two common issues that parties fight about in court. The parties may reach an agreement before trial through mediation or negotiation.

Do Grounds Ever Matter in a Michigan Divorce?

A judge may consider grounds when he is deciding how to rule in other matters before the court. For instance, a judge may consider abuse or abandonment when deciding how to divide material property or whether to approve a request for alimony. Therefore, grounds can be important in some cases, even though the court will not consider the grounds as the reason for the divorce.

Contact an Oakland Divorce Attorney for More Information

An uncontested, no-fault divorce action may sound simple. However, spouses who agree on terms can change their minds quickly. You may have an agreement when you file the divorce petition, but your spouse may change his or her mind before the court hearing.

Because the matters decided in your divorce action have a significant impact on your future, it may be a wise investment to consult with an Oakland divorce attorney before you take any action to divorce your spouse. Schedule a consult with Michigan divorce lawyer, Cameron C. Goulding today.

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