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Divorce in a No-Fault Divorce State
In January of 1971, Michigan became what is known as a no-fault divorce state. This means that the state does not require either party to allege a reason for divorce, be it adultery, abuse, or any other form of misconduct. In fact, Michigan was one of the first states that implemented this law. This also means that if one spouse wants a divorce, that court must grant the divorce even if the other spouse doesn’t want the divorce.
If you are concerned that your divorce may be contested (costing you time, money, and energy that you’d rather not spend), read on for an explanation for some common misconceptions we have encountered during our time as Grand Rapids divorce attorneys.
Is Michigan Really a No-Fault Divorce State?
Yes! Michigan does not require proof of misconduct for divorce. You may divorce your spouse for any reason in the state of Michigan. To get very technical, the definition of cause for divorce in our state is 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.”
This is a broad definition that allows for a variety of interpretations from family courts. As Grand Rapids divorce attorneys, we are familiar with many different kinds of divorces, from very amicable to extremely contentious.
The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce
While one party can file for divorce without issue, the real complications—and potential animosity—can arise when the parties don’t agree on some or all of the factors involved in their divorce. This can range from child custody arrangements to mandatory disclosure issues to division of property and business.
In the best-case scenario, both spouses can reach an agreement with the help of their lawyer and settle their disputes at some point during the divorce proceedings. This is known an uncontested divorce. In messier situations, they will need to appear in court and have a judge resolve the issue for them. Ideally, this should be avoided, as it can be costly and time-consuming.
Simply put, it is much easier to go through with an uncontested divorce, but we understand the complications—emotional and financial—that divorce brings up in even the more civil couples.
If you are trying to navigate the confusing labyrinth that is divorce law in Michigan, you need the help of a reputable and reliable Grand Rapids attorney with experience in family law, like Beth Striegle.