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Is Michigan a no-fault divorce state?

| Feb 10, 2021 | Divorce

A significant number of marriages end in divorce, and spouses headed toward a dissolution may wonder about the requirements for divorce in Michigan. In previous decades, spouses sued based on fault. Today, Michigan follows no such conditions as the state provides for “no-fault” divorce. However, there may be statutory requirements that married couples need to follow to file for the divorce.

No-fault divorce in Michigan

Under Michigan law, spouses may file for divorce based on “irretrievable breakdown” or the “breakdown of [the] marriage relationship.” In short, these general terms suggest that couples who no longer find any reason to remain married may file for divorce. Infidelity, cruelty or other grounds for divorce are not necessary to prove.

That said, when it comes to dividing the property during a divorce settlement, one spouse’s fault for the divorce may impact things. If one spouse is more at fault, and possibly egregiously at fault, the distribution might not be 50/50. However, each case is unique, and questions about fault related to property division might be best directed toward a family law attorney.

Statutory requirements for divorce in Michigan

Couples seeking a divorce in Michigan must adhere to state statutory requirements. One essential requirement specifies that one spouse must be a resident of Michigan for at least 180 days before the filing. Also, barring extenuating circumstances, one spouse must reside in the county of the filing for at least 10 days. Spouses who do not meet these minimum requirements may need to speak with an attorney about available options.

Annulment remains an option in Michigan but only under specific circumstances that render a marriage invalid. A marriage “never happened” with annulment decrees although child custody, property distribution and other settlement decisions may occur. Fraud would be one reason to grant an annulment, and incapacity is another. Unlike other grounds for annulment, incapacity comes with a statute of limitations: two years within the marriage date.

Michigan remains a no-fault divorce state, but divorce could become complicated based on concerns over child support, alimony and other issues. An individual may benefit from discussing their options with an attorney.