Making the decision to get a divorce is one of the most stressful decisions that one can face in life. There are always a lot of questions about how it will affect you financially and emotionally, if you have children, then the questions expand exponentially. This blog is intended to simply address the procedure for starting a divorce case in Michigan. Of course, we always recommend that before you actually initiate a divorce, even if you do not intend to use an attorney throughout the process, that you at least schedule a consultation with a Michigan divorce lawyer to protect your best interests.
How Do I Get the Case Started?
In order to get a case started, you must file a complaint for divorce and a summons with the appropriate court. In Michigan, divorces are handled by the Family Division of the Circuit Court. In Oakland County, the court is located at 1200 Telegraph, Pontiac; Macomb County, 40 North Main Street, Mt. Clemens; and Wayne, the Coleman A. Young Memorial Center. You will be the Plaintiff if you start the case, and your spouse will be the Defendant. You must have a copy of the summons and the complaint served on the Defendant and file a Proof of Service with the court stating when, how and with what you served the Defendant.
If you have children, you will have to file some additional documents, including but not limited to a Verified Statement form that requires you to provide information to the court and friend of the court about your family. The court will schedule an Early Intervention Conference and a Settlement Conference at the time you file the complaint and all courts in Michigan should provide you with a Friend of the Court Handbook. You are required to serve all of these documents on the Defendant and provide a proof of service to the court that you have done so.
That is the basic procedure for starting a case in Michigan. However, the best thing to do when you are considering a divorce is to meet with a local attorney that practices in the area of family law. This should be done sooner rather than later so the attorney can provide you with some information and some guidance that can help you with the decision. You should do this even if you believe that your divorce will be amicable so that you at least know your rights and how the courts may view your case differently.
Contact a Michigan Divorce Lawyer for More Information
If you have questions about family law, contact our Michigan divorce lawyers for a confidential consultation. We are here to help you with family law matters, including divorce, alimony, custody and support payments.