Information and FAQ
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 Alimony Either party may be ordered to pay alimony to
the other party in an amount and for a term that the court deems
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,
(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
(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
(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