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Understanding Deadlines: Review Documents in a Timely Manner
Family law is a broad area of law, encompassing everything from marriage, divorce, child custody, and paternity. In cases relating to family law, time is of the essence. While we understand that cases like this are inherently disruptive and emotionally painful, there are a number of documents you will be required to gather in record time—and deadlines to meet if you plan to take legal action.
When it comes to divorce, there are several documents used in the state of Michigan. A Grand Rapids divorce attorney is equipped to help you through this complicated and tedious legal process. On the other hand, there are a variety of different documents you will need if you are filing for child custody in Michigan.
Divorce in the State of Michigan
The most valuable asset you will have in a divorce case is a stack of income documents, including paycheck stubs from the past year—or, if you are self-employed, any work invoices, contracts, or bank statements that serve as proof of income. For business owners, tax returns for the past five years will be required of you, whether you and your spouse filed jointly or separately.
On the other end of the spectrum is the expectation that you show debt documentation. This can include the standard large debts such as mortgages and medical debt, but also any credit card debt you might have.
The time to finalize the divorce process in Michigan can vary. For a divorce without minor children involved, it takes a minimum of 60 days. However, when there are minor children involved and no “undue hardship” that can be proven, there is a waiting period of 180 days.
Child Custody in the State of Michigan
In some cases, one parent will file for sole child custody after a divorce, while other couples will come to an amicable agreement. If you feel your spouse is unfit to serve as the custodial parent, you have the right to fight for the safety and well-being of your child.
In Michigan, the family division of your county court can sometimes be referred to as the “domestic relations division.” Family law issues are handled by the judges in these cases, and in order to begin your child custody case, you must have several forms filled out, along with the summons—which notifies the other parent of your impending case. The filing fee for these documents is around $255.
And what about deadlines? Contrary to popular belief, within 91 days of your initial filing, you must arrange to have the other parent of your child served with the paperwork. Your spouse is required to respond within 21 days if served in person, or 28 days if served by mail.
These are the two most common cases we deal with as family lawyers in Michigan, but this is far from a comprehensive outline of what you might have to deal with. We strongly recommend reaching out for legal assistance.