Divorce is always extremely challenging, regardless of whether you were the first one to file for divorce or were served papers by your spouse. Along with the emotional turmoil the divorce process brings, you will also likely have many questions about the process, and what you can expect. An Ottawa County divorce lawyer can provide the listening ear you will often need, as well as aggressively fight for your rights and give you the best chance of securing a fair settlement or obtaining a verdict in your favor.
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. This means that when you file for divorce in Ottawa County, you must only prove that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship and that there is little chance of reconciliation. This means that the two spouses do not have to agree to the divorce. If one person wants a divorce, they just have to file papers with the court.
Even though Michigan is considered a no-fault divorce state, the fault may be part of the proceedings. For example, if one spouse had an affair, the court may award the other spouse more in property division hearings if marital funds were spent on that affair.
No divorce is granted as soon as a person files, even if both spouses agree to the divorce and all of its terms. There is always a waiting period. When the couple does not have minor children together, this waiting period is 60 days. If minor children are involved in the divorce, the waiting period is extended to 180 days. No matter the length of the waiting period, it begins on the day the Summons and Complaint is filed with the court.
Marital property, or property that was acquired during the marriage, is subject to property division in Ottawa County. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided fairly. This does not mean that property is always divided equally. Separate property is any property acquired before the marriage and is not part of property division hearings.
Any divorce that involves children will also involve child custody and child support hearings. The two types of custody in Ottawa County are legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is awarded to the parent that will make major decisions for the child, including where they will go to school and what religion the children will follow. Physical custody is awarded to the parent that the child will live with primarily. The courts typically try to award equal legal and physical custody, although this is not always possible.
Both parents are considered financially responsible for their children until they are 18 years old. Typically, the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay child support.
If you are going through a divorce, our Ottawa County divorce lawyers at Van Den Heuvel Law Office are here to help. We will negotiate effectively with the other side and bring your case to a resolution as quickly as possible. Do not go through your divorce alone. Call us today or contact us online to learn how we can help with your case.