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What You Need to Know About Divorces with Minor Children in Michigan

Divorce Ann Arbor

Family Law cases can be complicated because emotions tend to run high.  Divorces, custody battles and parenting time cases involve those we love most and always require an adjustment to how we live our daily lives.  The three main areas of dispute usually involve divorce with children, divorce without children, and parenting time or custody matters.

Divorce With Minor Children

Divorces with children require many of the same steps to initiate a case that divorces without children require.   

If you want to be granted a divorce in Michigan, you must fulfill the residency requirements. At least one spouse must reside in the state of Michigan for a minimum of 180 days and be a resident of the county in which they’re filing at least 10 days prior to filing for divorce.  If both spouses file for divorce in Michigan, the first to file will take priority, while the subsequent filing will be dismissed.  Michigan is also a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that there doesn’t need to be any reason for the divorce other than “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 be preserved.”  

Unlike a divorce without minor children, when minor children are involved there’s a minimum waiting period of 6 months before the Court will grant a divorce. During the divorce process, you’ll settle issues regarding spousal support, property division, and division of marital debt, as well as custody issues and child support regarding the minor child(ren).  There are two types of custody: physical and legal.  Physical custody determines who the children reside with, while legal custody grants the right to make important decisions regarding the child(ren), including medical, educational and religious decisions.  Both custody matters can be granted to one parent (sole custody) or shared between both parents (joint custody).  

Child support is then determined based on the custody determination and as well as each party’s financial status and ability to provide for the minor child(ren). Referrals are usually made to the Friend of the Court to assist in determining these issues.  

The Friend of the Court is an agency that assists the court by consulting and enforcing cases involving custody, parenting time, and (spousal and child) support disputes. The Friend of the Court will assist the parties in coming to a mutual agreement that’s beneficial to both, with a focus on the best interests of the minor children.  Friend of the Court offers many services, including mediation, support enforcement, assistance with review hearings, show cause hearings and more. If both parties agree, they can “opt out” of Friend of the Court services, which means that they won’t be able to utilize the services or enforcement powers the Friend of the Court offers. 

It's always nice to have someone in your corner to help guide you through this emotional time.  If you would like to learn more about divorce in Ann Arbor, or the surrounding areas, contact us today! Schedule an initial consultation. (734) 665-4441

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