Michigan is considered a “no fault” divorce state. This means that a Court will grant a divorce to a party who seeks a divorce. The Court does not ask for reasons why the parties are divorcing, and the divorce will be finalized as long as one spouse seeks the divorce.
Once a client has made the decision to proceed with divorce, they often have questions and concerns about the process. The first step is signing and filing a Complaint for Divorce in Court. After filing in Court, the filing party has up to 90 days to ‘serve’ their spouse. Service can be accomplished by (1) having a courier deliver the Complaint directly or (2) the spouse agreeing to accept the Complaint by signing an acknowledgment that s/he is in receipt. Either method is sufficient and a signature is not necessary if the Complaint is delivered through courier.
After receiving the Complaint (by courier or agreement) the spouse has 21 days to file a formal response, or Answer, to the Complaint in Court. Often times a spouse will hire an attorney during this time period.
After an Answer is filed, the parties may begin working towards resolution. If the parties do not have an understanding and mutually agreeable resolution, they may begin the Discovery phase of the case by investigating assets, liabilities, and other issues that may be relevant to issues of parenting time or financial support. Discovery often provides the basis for negotiating a resolution of the case.
While discovery is ongoing, the parties may have to appear for an initial Court date. If the case is not resolved, the initial Court date is typically in place so the Court can set a schedule and deadlines for litigating and resolving the case. Typically the Judge will Order the parties to attend mediation to attempt to work out any differences and reach a mutually agreeable resolution. If a resolution cannot be reached in Mediation, the parties will have a trial.
Gowda Legal handles divorce matters in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, and Washtenaw County.