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Is Michigan A No-Fault Divorce State?

Is Michigan a No-Fault Divorce State?

Divorce takes an emotional toll on everyone involved. Moving forward with divorce can feel overwhelming, making it hard to separate emotions from facts. While numerous factors can explain why couples choose to separate, Michigan operates under “no-fault” divorce laws, meaning couples can seek divorce without accusing one another of breaking down the marriage.

How does no-fault factor into the divorce process? At Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC, our Macomb County family law attorneys want to help you understand Michigan’s no-fault divorce laws.

Is Michigan a No-Fault Divorce State?

Yes, Michigan has no-fault divorce laws. That means you do not need to prove your spouse cheated, abandoned your relationship, or otherwise caused the disintegration of your marriage. To file for a no-fault divorce, you must testify that there has been a breakdown in the marriage to the point where preserving the relationship is impossible.

In fault-based states, you often must present clear and convincing evidence that a spouse is to blame for the breakdown of a marriage. Generally, fault-based divorce states require a spouse to show evidence of adultery, abandonment, abuse, domestic violence, mental incapacitation, or cruel treatment. When seeking a divorce in Michigan, you do not need to prove that someone caused the failure of the marriage. Additionally, in Michigan, under no-fault laws, you do not need your spouse’s consent to end the marriage.

Filing for divorce using Michigan’s no-fault divorce state rules may sound simple. However, there are residency requirements that come into play. You must be a Michigan resident for 180 days before filing for divorce, and you or your spouse must be a resident of the county in which you’re filing for at least ten days prior to filing, in most cases. It is always best to consult a knowledgeable Michigan divorce attorney who can outline your options.

When “Fault” Plays a Role in Divorce

Michigan follows no-fault divorce. However, that does not mean wrongdoing on the part of a partner doesn’t play a role in divorce proceedings. An initial divorce complaint does not outline fault. Yet, a partner’s actions can be scrutinized during divorce hearings, potentially impacting the division of assets or alimony payments. Fault is one factor that a judge can assess when determining the fair division of property and when awarding alimony or spousal support.

Consider cases of adultery. Suppose one partner commits adultery and spends lavishly on an affair before a divorce. In that case, a judge may award the other partner more of the marital property to compensate for the loss of those marital funds. However, numerous factors can play into the outcome of divorce, and it is vital to involve a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney in your case early on.

Other Options in Michigan

In addition to no-fault divorce laws, Michigan offers couples other options to divorce. Michigan allows couples to file for separate maintenance, a form of legal separation similar to divorce. However, at the end of the process, you are still married, but marital property and debts have been divided. Under certain circumstances, couples may seek an annulment, which is essentially a court decision saying the marriage never happened.  

Contact a Skilled Family Law Attorney for Help Today

Do you have questions about no-fault divorce in Michigan? Are you looking to start a new chapter for yourself and your family? It’s time to speak with an experienced Macomb County family law attorney about your situation. At Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC, we want to help you navigate this challenging time with compassion and grace.

Contact us online or call our office at 586-465-3701 to arrange a confidential legal consultation. We want to help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible so you can move forward with your life.

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