Michigan Divorce Law

Divorce – State Law Summary – Michigan

Notes:  This summary is not intended to be an all-inclusive summary of the laws of divorce in the State of Michigan, but does contain basic and other procedures.

Grounds for Divorce
The only grounds upon which a divorce may be granted in the State of Michigan is 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. 552.6

Residency Requirements
At least one of the parties to an action for divorce must have resided in the State of Michigan for at least 180 days immediately prior to the filing of the complaint and must have resided in the county of filing for at least 10 days immediately prior to the filing of the complaint.  This requirement may be waived, however, if the defendant was born in or is a citizen of a foreign country and the parties have minor children that are at risk of being taken out of the U.S..  552.9

Name of court and title of action/parties
An action for divorce is filed in Circuit Court.  The title of the action initiating the divorce is the Complaint for Divorce, while the title of the action granting the divorce is referred to as the Judgement of Divorce.  The party filing the action for divorce is the Plaintiff, while the other party to the action is referred to as the Defendant. 552.6

Legal Separation
A judgement of legal separation may be granted in the State of Michigan upon the same grounds as for a judgement of divorce.  552.7

Either party may be ordered to pay alimony to the other party in an amount and for a term that the court deems reasonable.  552.13

Distribution of Property
The court will divide the property of the parties as it deems equitable under the particular circumstances of the case.  All of a party’s property is subject to division if the court determines that the other party contributed to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of the property.  552.401

Child Custody
Custody will be awarded by the courts after consideration of the child’s best interests.  Factors the court will consider in determining the child’s best interests include:

(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.

(b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.

(c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

(f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.

(g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.

(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.

(j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.

(k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

(l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute.

Child Support
The State of Michigan has enacted child support guidelines which establish the amount of support which is presumed to be correct.  The court may deviate from the guidelines however, upon a written finding that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate.  In addition, if reasonable available, health care coverage must be obtained for the child subject to a support order.  552.16

Name Change
Upon request, the court may restore the woman to the use of a former or maiden name if the request is not for any fraudulent or evil purpose. 552.391

Inside Michigan Divorce Law