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James B. Rooney

Attorney at Law

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What are the grounds for divorce in Michigan?

Michigan is a "No Fault" state. The Plaintiff must merely state 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. However, the issue of fault can effect other issues, such as property division, or alimony/spousal support.

How long does a divorce take?

In a divorce with no minor children, the court cannot enter a judgment until at least 60 days have elapsed. This is a "cooling off" period, to give parties an opportunity to resolve their differences. In a divorce with minor children, the waiting period is six months. However, if the parties reach an agreement and are willing to waive the six month provision, some judges will allow you to enter a judgment in less than six months, although it still must be after 60 days. These are the shortest periods of time that a divorce may be completed if there is an agreement. Of course, if there is no agreement and the case proceeds to trial, the time frame will be substantially longer.

How will the court determine which party will receive custody of the children?

Typically, both parties will receive legal custody, with one party receiving physical custody, although either party can request joint physical custody as well. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will decide custody based on the following factors:

  • The love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parents 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, if any.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties 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.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
  • The moral fitness of the parties.
  • The mental and physical health of the parties.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the Court considers the child to be a sufficient age to express preference.
  • 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 the parents.
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
  • Any other factor the Court considers relevant to a particular child custody dispute.
  • How much does a divorce cost?

    Because the length of a divorce proceeding is unpredictable, an hourly rate will normally be charged. My hourly rate is $200 per hour, plus costs. However, in an uncontested divorce, a flat fee can be arranged.

    DISCLAIMER: The above is offered for information purposes only, and is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney before making any legal decision.