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Legal Resources



The legal process is often confusing. You are most likely wondering,
“What happens now that I have hired my Attorney?”

Initial Filing: Our office will prepare your paperwork for you. Your Petition, (if you are initiating the dissolution of marriage/legal separation) or your Response to the Petition (if your spouse initiated the dissolution of marriage/legal separation), will be completely prepared with all necessary forms. You will be contacted by one of our staff members when the forms are ready for your review and signature. We will have your documents filed with the Court.

: Your Attorney will discuss the most immediate issues in your case which need to be resolved, e.g.: child custody/visitation, child support, spousal support, disposition of the family residence, or any other temporary orders that must be addressed at the very beginning of your case. Your Attorney may file a “motion” to obtain a Court date in the event that you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on the issues in dispute.

Negotiations: Your Attorney will attempt to resolve the issues raised in a motion with the opposing counsel (or the opposing party if he/she is unrepresented) prior to the scheduled court hearing date. Your Attorney will negotiate on your behalf until a reasonable offer is attained. Your Attorney will always relay all reasonable settlement offers to you. You and you alone can accep

t or reject an offer.

Do You Have Any Immediate Concerns? / Do You Need Temporary Orders?

Frequently Asked Questions about Michigan Child Support Services

Who handles child support cases in Michigan?
Michigan child support is handled by Child Support Services – a division of the Department of Human Services. The Friend of the Court office performs all administrative functions involving Michigan child support. You can view their website at: http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,1607,7-124-5453_5528---,00.html

Who is eligible for services?
You have to be eligible to receive child support services through the Department of Human Services in Michigan. The criteria for eligibility include:

  • People who receive public assistance for the care of a minor child
  • Parents of minor children, when one parent does not live with the child
  • Parents who are required to pay child support by a court order
  • People who have custody of a minor child


How do I modify a child support court order?
If you would like to increase or decrease the amount you are paying or receiving in child support, you can make a request for modification if there has been a substantial change in the financial situation of either you or your child’s other parent. The Friend of the Court reviews child support orders once every 36 months. If you are not on public assistance, you must make your request prior to the 36 month review time.  After your review, your child support order may or may not be modified.

What do I do if the non-custodial parent is not paying child support?
If a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, there are many steps the Friend of the Court can take to penalize the delinquent parent and attempt to collect past due payments:

  • Income withholding
  • Credit Bureau reporting
  • Intercepting tax refunds, lottery winnings, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation
  • Denying passports
  • Suspending driver’s license
  • Placing a lien against real or personal property
  • Contempt of court
  • Felony prosecution

 How much will I have to pay in child support?

Child support payments are determined based on Michigan state guidelines. Your financial situation, the number of children in the household, and other details are factored into the formula to determine how much you will have to pay. If you would like to receive an estimate of what your Michigan child support payment may be, check out the child support calculator at www.miestimator.com. Whether you live in Warren, Lansing, Flint, Grand Rapids, Sterling Heights, Detroit, or elsewhere in the state, this free tool can help give you an estimate of your monthly child support payment. 

Michigan Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about the divorce process in Michigan.

If you're getting a divorce in Michigan, you'll need to know how the process works. You'll find answers to commonly asked questions about divorce in Michigan below. For all of our articles on Michigan divorce, see our Michigan Divorce and Family Law page. 

How long does it take to get divorced in Michigan?

If there are no children involved, a divorce may be granted in 60 days. When children are involved, a divorce cannot be granted until six months have passed. However, these are minimum waiting periods; depending on the circumstances, a particular divorce case could take far longer. 

Are there residency requirements to file for divorce?

Yes. Michigan law requires that the person filing the divorce petition must have been a state resident for at least 180 days immediately before filing. He or she must also have been a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at least ten days, unless there's a risk of the other parent taking the children out of the U.S. and to another country of which the parent is a citizen or native. 

What are the grounds for divorce in Michigan?

Michigan is a no-fault state. The only ground for divorce in 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." The court has the power to terminate the relationship between the parties regardless of who did what to whom. Fault does play a role however, in the court's determination of child custody, property rights and spousal support.

What if my spouse lives in another state?

No problem. Michigan's "long-arm" statute gives effect to service of the divorce papers even when served out of state. The out of state spouse is simply given a bit more time to respond to the Summons and Complaint.

Is there a trial in every case?

No. Most divorce cases settle out of court. There are many reasons for this. Cost is a factor. Mediation is often successful in bringing the parties to an agreement. And almost no one wants their future, the future of their children, and their property rights determined by a third party. It's far better for many couples to reach an agreement both can live with, whether through direct negotiations, mediation, or settlement discussions through their lawyers.

Before you decide you want a trial, go to the courthouse and watch how your divorce judge handles a divorce case. For most people, this is enough to convince them to return to the negotiating table and keep their case out of court. 

Do I have a right to a jury trial?

No. Cases are heard by judges only, in specialized family law courts. 

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