If you want a divorce in Michigan, there are certain steps you have to take. You will have to file the appropriate paperwork with the courts. Typically, this will include your preferences on a property division settlement and child custody arrangements.
You will then have to serve your spouse with paperwork regarding the divorce. It is their obligation to respond to your filing. They could agree with the terms that you listed, allowing you to move forward with an uncontested divorce. They might also disagree and force you into mediation or litigation. In other cases, they won’t answer at all.
What does that mean for your divorce?
You will likely receive a divorce by default
If your spouse does not respond to their legal service with divorce paperwork in a timely manner, they may lose their right to contest your terms. In Michigan, the spouse filing for divorce can request a default judgment if there has been no response after 21 days.
At that point, you can ask a Michigan court to step in and move forward with your divorce. There will still be a waiting period that applies before the court will finalize your divorce. If you have children, you will need to wait at least six months. If you do not share children, you will only need to wait 60 days.
Your spouse’s failure to respond does not prevent the divorce from moving forward but rather increases the likelihood that the property division and custody terms you asked for will be what the courts eventually order. Understanding the rules about divorce in Michigan can help you plan for your filing.