A DIVORCE HOW TO...
THE FIRST THING YOU NEED TO KNOW:
How much is it going to cost me?
That depends on many factors. A person filing for divorce pays two things:
1. Your attorneys time (hourly rate) and,
2. The costs to file the divorce papers and other out- of-pocket expenses, such as serving your spouse, filing motions at court, phone and fax expenses, mileage to court etc.
This can be expensive. But money, or lack of it, should not mean you do not get a divorce. Ask about my rate plans and installment payment plans.
The minimum retainer starts at $250.00, which includes the $160.00 filing fees and $20.00 service fees estimated.
*divorces with children are always more, and require more money.
REQUIREMENTS TO FILE:
The Plaintiff, who files the divorce, has resided in the State of Michigan for 180 days and in the County of (Washtenaw -for Ann Arbor residents as an example) for more than 10 days immediately preceding the filing of this Complaint.
If you live and plan to file in WASHTENAW COUNTY, (other counties do not require the residency requirement) then you should be aware there is MANDATORY ATTENDANCE AT A MEDIATION ORIENTATION COURSE put on by the courts within 30 days of filing the divorce.
What is mediation?
A mechanism where the parties voluntarily try to settle the divorce issues with a neutral third party - trained to handle such situations, before going to court.
You DO NOT have to attend this if you allege/have a history of domestic violence.
Also, you do not have to attend if you have a settlement already.
In Michigan, you can get a divorce without blaming your spouse for misconduct, i.e., it can simply be you are no longer in love.
The "No-Fault" divorce requires only that you state to the court that the marriage is finished and that there is no chance you and your spouse will get back together.
Once this is done, the divorce centers on property division (your home, car, money, spousal support/alimony etc.) and custody of any children born during the marriage. If there is fault by your spouse, the division of property can be greater than 50-50. If no fault, typically the property is divided 50-50. With custody comes the fight for who has possession of the kids and who pays child support. When you can not agree with your spouse, then the divorce can turn bitter with each side fighting for custody of the kids. It also becomes expensive: the attorneys must draft many documents and go to court frequently. The Friend of the Court (FOC) handles many of these conflicts before you actually get to see the judge. The FOC also collects the child and spousal support money and keeps track of court orders on visitation and possession/custody matters.
A divorce filed without kids takes 2 months to complete, at a minimum.
With kids the minimum time set by law is 6 months.
Once all the property and children's issues are settled, the judge hears one parties testimony on the divorce and signs a judgment. It is this document that contains the terms of the divorce (who gets what) and states that you are now legally divorced.
You can e-mail me with further questions or make an appointment regarding your divorce for further information.
(While the above is not an exhaustive "how to" I hope that it does provide some useful information to get you started thinking about your divorce. Please do not rely on it but consult the advice of a trained professional like me before taking any action.)
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