Do I Need an Official Reason to File for Divorce?

Do I Need an Official Reason to File for Divorce?

Do I Need an Official Reason to File for Divorce?

Posted in Divorce, Family Law
by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

Divorce isn’t simply a legal process, nor is it strictly relational. Divorce stirs up many legal, financial, and relationship questions and concerns. Suppose you have never been divorced in Michigan, or it’s been quite some time since you have gone through the process. In that case, it’s wise to meet with a knowledgeable Grand Rapids divorce attorney to learn about your rights. The sooner you can meet with them, the better. One of the most common questions our law office receives is if a divorcing spouse needs an official reason to get divorced. 

No Fault-Based Reason Required in Michigan

In previous decades, couples wishing to dissolve their marriage in Michigan had to give an official reason for their split, blaming the other spouse. They needed to prove fault or their reason, which could include infidelity, addiction, or abuse. Today, no fault-based reason needs to be given, and divorcing couples aren’t required to prove anything. Doing away with the requirement helps make the divorce process less stressful, complicated, and time-consuming. 

To get divorced under Michigan state law, at least one spouse needs to attest 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.” In simple terms, there only needs to be a marital breakdown that is severe and permanent with the extreme unlikelihood that the relationship could ever be restored. 

Behavior Matters

Even though spouses don’t need to give a specific reason for the divorce, it’s essential to note that the behavior of each spouse can impact other matters in the divorce. Michigan family courts can consider fault in making decisions about spousal support (alimony) and dividing property. For example, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse was abusive towards you or your children, it will likely impact their visitation time with the kids. If they hid assets from you or carelessly spent money, it might affect how much they receive in the divorce or if they will pay alimony. 

Michigan Divorce Requirements

Your Grand Rapids divorce lawyer can help you ensure that your divorce meets all requirements. Generally, to file for a divorce, you or your spouse must have lived in this state for a minimum of six months. It must be filed in the circuit court in the county where one spouse has resided for at least ten days before filing. Most spouses filing for divorce will file in the county where they live, but they have the option to file where the other spouse lives too.

If you have children together, there is a six-month waiting period before your divorce can be finalized. Even if you were separated before filing for divorce, the waiting period begins when you file for divorce. However, the court has the authority to reduce the mandatory waiting period if you can prove that it would create an undue hardship for you or your children. Your Grand Rapids divorce attorney can help you file a motion to request this if necessary.

Get Help from an Experienced Grand Rapids Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce is often a difficult process, yet it’s crucial that it’s done according to the law and with care. When you seek the help of an experienced Grand Rapids divorce lawyer from the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, you can be assured that we will fight for your rights and pave the way for you to begin the best new life possible. Contact us today to schedule a confidential case review with one of our attorneys.



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