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Are there any alternatives to divorce in Michigan?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Divorce

If you no longer want to be married, divorce is the standard option. You have to go to court, and there might be a waiting period. Couples without children typically require at least 60 days to go from filing initial paperwork to a divorce decree, and couples with children usually need to complete a six-month separation before they can move forward with the divorce.

The idea of divorce court leads to some people delaying a filing for months, maybe longer. You may worry about what talking about your marital issues in court might mean for your reputation or your relationship with your children. You might also belong to a more conservative religion and worry about the implications of a divorce for your fate and church membership.

Are there alternatives to standard divorce available in Michigan?

Some people qualify for an annulment

There are situations in which the marriage is invalid and therefore does not require a divorce. People can sometimes pursue an annulment, which involves providing to the courts that the marital contract was invalid.

For those who want to avoid divorce for religious purposes, an annulment could be a viable alternative. The Michigan courts will, in some rare cases, agree that a marital relationship was invalid from the earliest days. Fraud and bigamy, which involves one spouse not disclosing an existing marriage, are among the common reasons that people pursue an annulment rather than a divorce.

Legal separation does not truly exist

Couples in Michigan can negotiate a separate maintenance agreement, which is essentially a separation agreement. This document can discuss the division of their property, financial support and custody matters.

However, there is no legally distinct condition for separation as opposed to marriage. Those who want to sever their relationship with their spouse will typically need to proceed with a divorce. Thankfully, litigation is not always necessary.

Mediation could be an alternative standard divorce for some couples. You could sit down with the neutral professional and resolve your own property division and custody disagreements, thereby avoiding the drama and expense of litigating your divorce in the Michigan family courts.

Understanding what options you have when you feel like your marriage is no longer healthy assist you with making the decision to divorce or explore alternatives.