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Does Fault Matter in a Michigan Divorce?

Does Fault Matter in a Michigan Divorce?

Does fault matter in a Michigan divorce? Yes and no.

In the state of Michigan, you are not required to prove fault to file for divorce. As it relates to the grounds for divorce, Michigan is a no-fault state. In fact, Michigan was one of the first states to use a no-fault divorce system, which was adopted in 1971. This means that, when a couple files for divorce, neither spouse blames the other for the deterioration of the marriage.

Grounds for a no-fault divorce

Under Michigan’s no-fault divorce rules, neither spouse has to provide a specific reason for wanting a divorce. Either spouse can cite grounds for divorce that include “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.” No further explanation regarding these grounds for divorce is necessary.

Fault does matter in other aspects of a divorce

While you don’t need to prove fault to file for a divorce in Michigan, fault does factor into other aspects of a divorce proceeding. Each spouse’s behavior and the role that each spouse played in contributing to the end of the marriage can be considered when the court determines the most equitable outcome for spousal support or alimony.

Fault also is considered when the court addresses issues pertaining to the division of property. It is important to note that while Michigan follows the laws of equitable property division, what the court views as “equitable” does not necessarily mean equal. And when a judge decides which parent should receive primary custody of a child, they are guided by the best interests of the child. And a parent’s previous behavior can be taken into consideration.

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