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How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Michigan?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Michigan?

When you file for divorce in Michigan, your life enters a transitory period. On the one hand, divorce papers are filed because your marriage appears to be in a state of disrepair. On the other, you remain married to your spouse until the court pronounces you divorced. 

While you are still married to your spouse and are waiting for your divorce case to resolve, it’s common to feel unsettled. It’s normal to want your divorce to be resolved as swiftly as possible. However, Michigan law and the state’s divorce process require some time to pass between the filing of a divorce action and the official declaration of divorce.

How Long Michigan Law Requires You to Wait

A divorce action begins when you or your spouse files a divorce petition in court. There is no amount of time that you must live apart from your spouse before you can file for divorce. You also don’t need to have been married for a certain length of time before filing. However, either you or your spouse must presently live and have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days before filing for divorce.

The other party is then served with a copy of the divorce petition, but your divorce is not over at this point. Under Michigan law, you must go through one of the two following waiting periods before a court will grant you a divorce:

  • 60 days if you have no minor children in common with your spouse
  • Six months (180 days) if you have at least one minor child in common with your spouse

Once this waiting period has passed, a court may grant you a divorce following a court hearing.

Contested Divorces Will Take Longer

These waiting periods represent the minimum amount of time it will take before your divorce can be granted. Divorces can take longer than that, though, if you and your spouse have disagreements about one or more of the issues a court must resolve in a divorce, such as:

  • What property belongs in the marital estate
  • How the marital estate should be divided
  • Child custody and child support
  • Whether one spouse should receive any spousal support from the other

If you and your spouse cannot reach agreements on these issues, the court will need to hold one or more evidentiary hearings and make decisions. These hearings will prolong the time it takes for your divorce to become final.

An Attorney Can Help Move Your Case Along

If you or your spouse have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days, have no children in common, and agree on all relevant issues, it can take 60 days for your divorce to finalize. This time period begins once a divorce petition has been filed and served on the other party.

If you haven’t lived in Michigan for long enough or have contested issues like alimony and visitation, the divorce process can be even longer. Even when you reach an agreement on these issues, though, having children in common with the other party will mean your divorce must take at least four months.

A knowledgeable Michigan divorce lawyer may not be able to circumvent these statutory timelines. However, they can help keep your case moving steadily toward a resolution by ensuring court hearings are scheduled promptly and that agreements are reached when possible.



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