In most cases, it is clear where someone should file their divorce case or custody case because the parties both reside in the same county in Michigan. However, given our highly mobile society and situations where one parent is working on assignment in another state or another country, the following question can arise: "where should I file for divorce or seek custody of my child?"
Where to File if Both Parties Live in Michigan
If both parties reside together in the same county, then the appropriate place to start the case will be in the family division of the circuit court for that county. If they reside in different counties, then once either party has resided in one of the counties for at least ten days, the case may be started in either county although there is some question as to whether it should technically be filed in the county where the defendant resides. The plaintiff is the person that starts the case, the defendant is the person that "defends" against the divorce.
Where to File if the Parties Live in Different States?
If the parties have no children, then either party can file wherever they have resided for at least one hundred and eighty days immediately preceding the filing. If neither party has resided in a state for at least one hundred and eighty days, then either party may file in their own state and most likely the non-filing party will contest jurisdiction. Most likely whomever files first in that situation would prevail and the case would move forward in that state.
If the parties have a child together, then the court will have to examine the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to determine which state is the "home state" of the child or children. The home state is determined by an examination of several factors that the court must weigh in making the decision. Often each parent will file a case in his or her own state, then the judges of the two courts are to contact one another to make a decision regarding where the case shall proceed. The courts may require the parties to submit evidence and testimony at a hearing in order to make this determination and the hearing could proceed in either state.
Contact a Michigan Divorce Attorney for Help
It is always a very good idea to hire an attorney to represent you if you are dealing with a divorce or custody matter. Navigating the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act is extremely complicated and it is immensely beneficial to have a custody case proceed in one's own state . For that reason, you need a Michigan divorce attorney to advise you during the process. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.