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Divorce in Michigan Checklist | Michigan Divorce Information

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This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of Michigan. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.

With 3StepDivorce TM you can complete and print your Michigan divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file your Michigan divorce papers in a timely, professional, and hassle-free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy. If you're not ready to file for divorce, learn more about getting your Separation Agreement or learn more about the basics of divorce in Michigan and how to do your own divorce in Michigan . Also, If you have any questions try visiting our Michigan Divorce Online Help Center .


Online Divorce FAQ: Michigan

Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.

Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.

If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in Michigan.

How Does Online Divorce Work in Michigan?

Michigan 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, Michigan 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.

Can I File for Divorce in Michigan?

Michigan has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason (“grounds”) for ending your marriage.

What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Michigan?

To get a divorce in Michigan, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for 180 days immediately before filing the complaint. Also, one of the spouses must have lived in the county where the complaint is filed for 10 days immediately before filing. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 552.9 (2022).)

What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Michigan?

Michigan is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the filing spouse doesn’t have to prove that the other was at fault for ending the marriage. Instead, the divorce complaint will state that there “has been 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.” (Mich. Comp. Laws § 552.6(1) (2022).)

In other words, the court requires a statement by one of the spouses that the marriage is over and there’s no chance of reconciliation.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in Michigan?

Many Michigan residents are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing for an “uncontested divorce” in the state. That means that they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:

If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.

Can I Use Michigan 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?

You may use Michigan 3StepDivorce™ as long as you have an uncontested divorce and meet the state’s residency requirement. You’ll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. Michigan 3StepDivorce™ will guide you through the process of creating this agreement, based on your answers to the questionnaire.

Michigan 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren’t ready to file for divorce, but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you’re separated but still legally married.

What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?

Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use Michigan 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.

Can I Get an Online Divorce in Michigan If I Have Children?

Generally, you can use Michigan 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. Michigan 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.

However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with Michigan 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, this means that the child lived with a parent in Michigan for at least six months before the divorce papers were filed. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.1201 (2022).) If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule.

How Will My Online Divorce in Michigan Deal With Child Support?

In Michigan, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, Michigan has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.

3StepDivorce™ provides the Michigan Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will review your agreement to determine if the amount of support is in your children’s best interests.

In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.

Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?

After your divorce in Michigan is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you’ll need to show that your circumstances have changed significantly. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.

If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own. You’ll need to submit your agreement to the court and have a judge sign a new support order.

How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?

When you fill out your questionnaire for Michigan 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.

What About the Family Home?

If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:

  • selling the house and splitting the proceeds
  • transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
  • continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).

What About Retirement Accounts?

In your Michigan 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.

If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.

Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.

The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)

Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in Michigan?

You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your Michigan divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.

How Do I File My Divorce Papers in Michigan?

When you get your completed forms with Michigan 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to file your paperwork in the family division of the circuit court (also called a “trial court”) in the county where either spouse has lived for at least 10 days.

In most courts, you can file your divorce paperwork in person. Some courts, however, require you to file your initial paperwork or subsequent filings electronically. You can look up your court’s electronic filing policy on this spreadsheet provided by the courts.

How Much Is Michigan’s Filing Fee for Divorce?

The filing fee as of 2022 for a divorce is $175 (a $150 new case fee plus a $25 required electronic filing system fee). If you have a minor child or children, you’ll have to pay additional fees totaling up to $295: $80 for a case involving child custody or parenting time, and $40 for a case involving child support.

What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?

In Michigan, if you can’t afford to pay the filing fees, you can ask the judge to waive the fees by filing a Fee Waiver Request. If the court grants your request to waive fees, you won’t have to pay any court costs during your divorce.

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Michigan?

Michigan law requires courts to wait a period of time before your divorce can be finalized:

  • Divorces involving children. Judges can’t hold hearings on divorces involving children until six months have passed after the filing of the complaint.
  • Divorces not involving children. Judges can’t hold hearings on divorces not involving children until 60 days have passed after filing the complaint.

(Mich. Comp. Laws § 552.9f (2022).)

How Can I Get More Help With Michigan Online Divorce?

Michigan 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our Michigan Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).

Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about Michigan law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.

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