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Michigan Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Michigan divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
GENERAL INFORMATION
How does DivorceWriter work? 375
First, complete the basic pre-purchase portion of the online interview. Then, set up your... more
What happens after I receive my DivorceWriter documents? 1917
Just follow the step-by-step instructions included with your DivorceWriter package, which ... more
How do I make changes to my documents after I receive them? 1449
If you want to make changes to any of your documents after receiving them in the mail, you... more
Will DivorceWriter documents work in my state and/or in my situation? 1969
DivorceWriter's goal is to provide self-help divorce documents. However, DivorceWriter is ... more
I finished the online interview. How long will it take to receive my documents? 1981
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may al... more
What are the Michigan residency requirements for filing for divorce? 1280
State Residency Requirement: 180 days
At least one spouse must have resided in Michigan for at least 180 days immediately before the divorce is filed.

County Residency Requirement: 10 days
If both spouses have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days immediately before the divorce is filed, then the divorce should be filed in the county where the spouses have lived for at least 10 days. If they have not lived in the same county, this means that there could be two counties where the divorce could be filed, in which case, it doesn't matter.

If only one spouse has lived in Michigan for at least 180 days immediately before the date of filing, the divorce should be filed in the county where that spouse has resided for at least 10 days before filing.
I want to use DivorceWriter to prepare my own divorce documents. What do I do next? 1864
To get started, click on "Start the Process" above. You will be taken to our online inter... more
Can I use DivorceWriter in my state? 1979
DivorceWriter offers divorce documents for nearly every U.S. state and the District of Col... more
What if I need additional documents that were not included in my DivorceWriter package? 2000
Contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com with the name or form number of the the... more
What is the online interview? 1863
In as little as 10-15 minutes, the online interview allows you to enter the information ne... more
Can you overnight my documents to me so that I can have them right away? 2586
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may a... more
How do I change my password? 1972
To change your password you must first log back into your account using the login section ... more
How do I make changes to my existing DivorceWriter account? 1973
If you already have a DivorceWriter account and need to make changes to your online interv... more
Does DivorceWriter provide documents for annulments? 2165
No. DivorceWriter does not currently provide documents for annulments.
What is included? 3784
The DivorceWriter package includes all forms needed to complete your divorce. These state... more
Do we need to notify the court of any address changes during the divorce? 3405
Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address... more
Will my documents be completed or will I have to fill them out myself when I receive them? 3121
For the most part, your DivorceWriter documents arrive completed with the information that... more
How do I serve a spouse that lives in a different state or country? 3810
The process for serving a spouse that lives in another state or country depends on the sta... more
I need a form that is not available online or in the DivorceWriter's supplemental forms database. How can I find a sample form elsewhere? 3352
Divorce documents are public record, so it is usually possible to obtain a copy of one or ... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide property and debts? 3360
Asking the Court for to divide property and debts fairly is standard language in the Divor... more
Does it matter which spouse files for divorce? 3502
Generally speaking, both spouses should have the same rights in a divorce proceeding regar... more
What is DivorceWriter's fax number? 3419
DivorceWriter's fax number is (800) 344 9889.
What's the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat? 3634
With an Acknowledgement, the notary is certifying that the signer appeared before the nota... more
Can I create another divorce in my account?  2712
Yes, you can purchase additional divorces from your Account Summary page. Login to your a... more
We were married in a foreign country. Can we divorce in the U.S.?  2635
As long as you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce in the state where y... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide our property and/or debts? 3361
The Divorce Petitions/Divorce Complaints in most states contain language asking the Court ... more
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STATE PROCEDURES
How long does it take to finalize a divorce in Michigan? 109
In Michigan divorces where there are no children of the marriage, the divorce can be finalized in as little as 60 days. In Michigan divorces with children, there is a 6-month waiting period before the divorce can be finalized.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in Michigan? 1288
Our Michigan DivorceWriter documents include an Answer and Waiver, which is a document that the non-filing spouse will sign in front of a Notary Public. This document has a few purposes, one of which is officially notifying the Court in writing that the non-filing spouse acknowledges receipt of the Complaint for Divorce, and that he or she waives the right to formal service of the Complaint.

If any customer encounters a problem where the Clerk's office requests a Summons, he or she should first make sure that the Clerk has acknowledged that the Defendant has waived service in the Answer and Waiver. This should be sufficient, although we can provide a traditional Summons if necessary. Traditional service will require the filing spouse to find a friend (aka helper), to actually hand the documents to the defendant, and then have the Defendant sign an acknowledgement of service that is filed with the Court.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in Michigan? 1287
Step 1: Review and sign your documents.
Step 2: File your documents at the Office of the County Circuit Court Clerk.
Step 3: Plaintiff's selected helper (over 18, legally competent, not a party to the case) serves Summons and Complaint along with certain other documents on Defendant/Spouse Step 4: Plaintiff attends the final hearing.
Step 5: File the final documents.
Where are the grounds for filing for divorce in Michigan? 1281
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state.
For a Michigan no-fault divorce, the spouse must allege 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.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 104
Yes. The spouse who files the divorce (Plaintiff) must attend a hearing in order to finalize the divorce.

The non-filing spouse (Defendant) does not need to attend this hearing, assuming his or her notarized Answer and Waiver was filed when the Plaintiff filed the initial divorce documents.

DivorceWriter Filing Instructions include sample testimony for the hearing.
What is considered to be the date of separation in Michigan? 647
The term "separation date" sometimes refers to the date when the spouses stopped living at... more
Do any documents require notarization? 1982
The filing instructions included with your DivorceWriter package will provide additional i... more
How do I get a copy of the Model Friend of the Court Handbook? 111
You can obtain a copy of the Model Friend of the Court Handbook at: http://courts.michigan.gov

It is the responsibility of the spouse who files the divorce to provide the other spouse with a copy of the Friend of the Court Handbook.

What documents are included in the self-prepared Michigan DivorceWriter package? 1286
All customers will receive:
Complaint for Divorce
Answer and Waiver (or if customer selects default option, a Default Request, Affidavit, and Entry) will be sent instead
Summons and Complaint
Marital Settlement Agreement (not included if customer chooses default option)
Judgment of Divorce


All customers with children will also receive:
Verified Statement and Application for IV-D Services
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act Affidavit
Domestic Relations Judgment Information form
Proof of Mailing for service on Friend of the Court
Proof of Mailing for service on Prosecuting Attorney
Uniform Child Support Order
Uniform Spousal Support Order(if one party is receiving spousal support)
Order Regarding Income Withholding


All Wayne County customers with children will also receive:
Certificate on Behalf of Plaintiff Regarding Ex Parte Interim Support Order
Certificate of Conformity for Domestic Relations Order or Judgment
Order Data Form-Support
What are the signature requirements for the documents I will receive? 899
The state-specific filing procedures included in the DivorceWriter package indicate which ... more
What if my spouse and I don't live in the same state? 1856
As long as one spouse meets the residency requirements for the state where the divorce wil... more
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in Michigan? 1284
No Children: 60 days from the date of filing

Children: Six months the date of filing
Which spouse can file for divorce? 108
The spouse who files for divorce is the Plaintiff. The other spouse automatically becomes the Defendant.

In order to file for divorce in Michigan, at least one spouse must have resided in Michigan for at least 180 days immediately before the divorce is filed. Thus, as long as at least one spouse meets the 180-day residency requirement, either spouse is entitled to file for divorce in Michigan.

Additional information is available at MCL 552.9
In which county can the divorce be filed? 107
If both spouses have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days immediately before the divorce is filed, then the divorce can be filed in any Michigan county where either spouse has lived for at least 10 days immediately before the date of filing.

If only one spouse has lived in Michigan for at least 180 days immediately before the date of filing, the divorce can be filed in the county where that spouse has resided for at least 10 days before filing.

Additional information is available at MCL 552.9
Do I have to divorce in the state where I was married? 1801
No. You can divorce in any state where you or your spouse meet the divorce residency requi... more
Can the wife change her name back during the divorce? 1807
Yes, the wife may restore her name to the name she had before the marriage took place. If ... more
Where do I file for divorce in Michigan? 1282
Divorces are filed at the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the county of filing.
What's the difference between a DM case and a DO case in Michigan? 3815
Divorce cases involving minor children have the letters "DM" in the case number while divorce cases that do not involve minor children have the letters "DO" in the case number.
How do I determine if my income falls below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines? 3528
Some states require a person who is applying for a filing fee waiver to have an annual inc... more
Can my spouse have documents notarized in a different state? 2981
Yes. If your spouse is unable to have documents notarized by a Notary Public in the state... more
How much is the filing fee in Michigan? 3788
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The divorce filing fee is between $150.00-$250.00 in Michigan and is paid at the time of filing.

Michigan divorces with children also require a judgment fee of $80.00. Some counties require you to pay the judgment fee when you file your divorce while other counties require it to be paid on the day of your divorce hearing. The judgment fee is not required if the parties have no minor children.
How is my divorce hearing scheduled in Michigan? 2843
Step 3 of the Michigan Divorce Filing Procedures included in your DivorceWriter document package provides the following information on scheduling the divorce hearing:
  1. The Plaintiff obtains a final hearing date from the Circuit Court Clerk when the Step 3 documents are filed.
  2. After getting the hearing date from the Clerk, Plaintiff fills in the hearing date, time and location on each copy of the Notice of Hearing, which is located on the back of the Summons and Complaint.
  3. Plaintiff mails one copy of the Summons and Complaint with the completed Notice of Hearing to Defendant by U.S. Mail at least nine (9) days before the hearing date.
  4. After mailing the Notice of Hearing to Defendant, Plaintiff completes the Certificate of Mailing at the bottom of the Notice of Hearing.
  5. Plaintiff files the original and three (3) copies of the Summons and Complaint with a completed Notice of Hearing and Certificate of Service with the Circuit Court Clerk.
Sample testimony for the divorce hearing is provided in the "Additional Information" section of the Michigan Divorce Filing Procedures. If you have additional questions concerning your divorce hearing, contact the Circuit Court Clerk in your county.
How do I get a Referee's recommendation? 3814
When you go before the Judge you need to bring your Judgment of Divorce, which may be either a Consent Judgment or a Default Judgment, and also a Uniform Child Support Order for the Judge to sign after the pro con hearing. If you are opting out of Friend of the Court services, a hearing must take place with the Friend of the Court before the pro con hearing. In many counties, after the opt out hearing has been held, the Friend of the Court will prepare an Order, also known as the Referee's Recommendation, and a Uniform Child Support Order regarding the opt out. If the opt out request is granted, the Uniform Support Order will state a $0.00 support amount, although the Uniform Support Order must still be filed with the court. Both the Referee's Recommendation and the Uniform Support Order must be submitted pre-approved by Friend of the Court and submitted to the Judge before the pro con hearing.
There was an error on one or more of the documents that I filed with the Clerk. Now that I have fixed the error(s) on the document(s), is there anything else I have to do to it before I file an amended version of the document with the Clerk? 2934
Generally, if an error has been made in a document that was filed with the Clerk, the corr... more
My documents ask for the "Cause Number" instead of a "Case Number." Is this correct? 3231
Yes. In a number of U.S. states, the Courts use the term "Cause Number" instead of "Case ... more
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
How is child support calculated in Michigan? 156
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found here.
What is the difference between child support and spousal support? 338
Spousal support is paid to one spouse by the other for the support and care of the receivi... more
We have agreed that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. What are some options? 1585
Two common ways for one spouse to receive spousal support payments from the other are (1) ... more
Can we specify how we will claim our child(ren) for income tax purposes? 2086
The DivorceWriter online interview allows you to designate which spouse will claim your mi... more
We have received our documents, but have decided that we do not want any parenting time schedule. Is this possible? 2239
The DivorceWriter online interview, which you completed previously, was designed to accomm... more
We have children. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 1802
Yes, you can use DivorceWriter to create your divorce forms even if you have children. Th... more
Do I have to pay income tax on spousal support payments that I receive? 1984
For federal income tax purposes, spousal support is commonly considered taxable income for... more
When can a child support order be modified in Michigan? 1289
Modification of a support order can by done in two ways:
You may choose to file a motion to change the support order more often than every three years if there is a substantial change in income for either party.
In public assistance cases, every 36 months the Friend of the Court does an automatic review of child support orders.

Additional information on child support modification is available at MCL 552.517.
How is child support collected and disbursed? 157
Information on the collection and disbursement of child support in Michigan is available at: MCL 552.603

and https://www.misdu.com/secure
What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and child custody? 3651
If you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning child suppo... more
What is the home state of the children under UCCJEA? 3543
While you are entitled to file for divorce in any state where the residency requirements a... more
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PROPERTY AND DEBTS
Can I receive a portion of my spouse's retirement plan even though his/her retirement is several years away? 46
The most common way for one spouse to secure the right to a portion of the other spouse's ... more
Do we have to list the debts we have agreed to divide? 1989
About 30% of DivorceWriter customers list debts. The debts listed will appear on the sett... more
We want to transfer real estate into only one spouse's name. Do we need a Quit Claim Deed? 311
Generally, if you want to transfer jointly held real estate into the name of only one spou... more
Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate? 597
The DivorceWriter online interview allows customers to list not only the street address, c... more
Can we divide/list as many items of personal property as we want? 1764
Choose to list all, some, or no property. The customer decides which property, if any, to ... more
Do I need to list the legal description of my real estate? 757
It is generally sufficient to just list the physical address of the property (street, city... more
What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate? 2780
The legal description is usually a one to two paragraph description of land that includes ... more
When can I record the quit claim deed my spouse signed? 3811
One spouse may choose to sign a quit claim deed transferring his or her interest in the ma... more
Why do my DivorceWriter documents say that we do not have life insurance or other property that we actually do have? 2726
Some states require divorcing spouses to provide information on several different types of... more
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
What if one spouse is living in another state or in a foreign country? 1041
The self-prepared DivorceWriter package contains instructions for choosing someone to hand... more
I received my DivorceWriter package today, but I'm not sure I want to file for divorce right away. How how long are these papers good for? 2229
Unsigned divorce documents do not have an expiration date per se. Applicable time periods... more
I can't find my spouse. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 2452
DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who ... more
I am not sure my marriage was legal. Do I even need a divorce? 1970
DivorceWriter is for people who want to end their marriages. If you have any questions reg... more
What if I have an out of state driver's license or no license at all? 995
If the spouse who files for divorce does not have a valid in-state driver's license, it ma... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. Can we still use DivorceWriter? 2234
DivorceWriter documents must be signed by both husband and wife. As long as your spouse is... more
What if one spouse is in the military? 803
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in t... more
How do we get documents notarized in a foreign country? 2449
The meaning of the term "notary" varies widely from country to country. To find a Notary ... more
Can same-sex couples divorce in the state where they were married if they can't get a divorce in the state where they live? 3813
If you are a same-sex couple living in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, you can d... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use? 2745
You may use the address at the facility where your spouse is currently incarcerated. Divo... more
Does DivorceWriter provide gender-neutral documents for divorce in states where same-sex marriage is not specifically legalized, but is recognized when performed in another state? 3230
DivorceWriter's current policy is to gender-neutralize our online interview and documents ... more
Which states allow same-sex divorce? 3530
Same-sex couples who live in the following states may seek a divorce there regardless of w... more
How do I end a civil union or domestic partnership? 3446
When recognized in the state, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships can be entered int... more
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Where can I find the full-text version of the Michigan divorce statutes online? 155
Additional information on divorce in Michigan is available at: Divorce Statutes, MCL 552.1-552.45 .
Where can I find additional help? 2410
Additional help is available. Click here to find legal help from the American Bar Associat... more
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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