Monday, August 16, 2010


A Family Divorce starts with the filing of divorce legally.

But between the man and wife it begins much earlier.

A divorce will ultimately be granted under the no fault standard. The first decisions will be when to file, where to file, whether to seek child support, custody ,alimony and other temporary relief.

On the filing date one party must have resided in Michigan for at least 180 days and in Genesee County for 10 days immediately before filing. Residence means the place of a permanent home where the party intends to remain. Residence has the same meaning for county and state purposes.

Mere physical presence in the county for 10 days does not establish residence. Lehaman v Lehman, 312 Mich 102, 19 NW2d 502, (1945). Residence means the place of a permanent home where a party intends to remain. Banfield v Banfield, 318 Mich 38. If both parties live in Michigan the party that files first will establish the case in the county they file in.(venue)

A Michigan resident who enters the military does not lose residency status because they are out of state McFadden v McFaddeen 336, Mich 557, 59 NW2d 1 (1953). There are limitations on what may be done while a parent is on active duty.

Legal ground for divorce in Michigan is when "There has been a breakdown in the marital relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved." MCL 552.6

The other spouse needs to be notified , called service, and given reasonable opportunity to retain counsel. Sometimes it takes a while for both parties to accept that they are divorcing.

When there are minor children and one of the parents is incarcerated the party starting the divorce must contact the Department of Corrections to confirm the prison number and location of the party and put this in the complaint for divorce. The caption of the petition or motion must state that a telephonic hearing is required. MCR 2.004(B). The court must issue an order requesting that the Department or facility where the party is located allow the inmate to participate in the proceeding by telephone. County jails are not included in this statute.

Most cases involve a series of scheduling and settlement events with the court. There may be a hearing on temporary issues to stabilize the family until a divorce judgement can be entered. There is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days for families without children and 6 months for families with children. The waiting period is for the benefit of the children. In Genesee County the series of events will begin with a temporary hearing court date to stabilize children and family finances.

The court will several months later set a pretrial date to resolve discovery timeliness and narrow the issues followed by a settlement conference with the judge and then trial. The parties may settle at any time.

Friend of the court mediation may be provided for custody and parenting time disputes. The court may at any time refer a contested issue to mediation.

Some local judges have an alternative dispute resolution or mediation process that they order their cases to.This is where a third party and attorney or an agency tries to resolve the issues without a trial.

The legal procedure concludes with entry of a judgement of divorced. Most cases get to this point without a trial. There is a great value in the parties settling their own issues of children and finances. Good parenting in divorce includes the ability of the parents to learn ways to negotiate their difference and show children that they are loved and secure.

The final document entered with the court called a judgement of divorce. To finalize the judgement a brief court hearing is required. Consent judgement are routinely approved.

No divorce judgement may be entered without a hearing in open court at which proofs are taken. The testimony of at least one party must establish the statutory grounds for divorce and


In those few cases where a trial is required entry of judgement follows a ruling by the court on the disputed issues. The parties are divorced when the judgement is signed and filed with the court.

Posted here by:By Attorney Terry Ray Bankert 810 235-1970

Divorce, Custody, Child Support, Alimony, Child Neglect, Flint Michigan USA Lawyer.

Articles on Divorce and lawyers in Flint, Genesee County Michigan USA

Do you need help now?Call 810 235-1970


Michigan Family Law Benchbook Second Edition, Institute of Continuing Legal Education 2006, Chapter 1

Michigan Family Law 6th Edition, Institute of Continuing Legal Education 2006

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