How Do You Initiate a Divorce in Michigan?
Interviewer: Let’s start off with the question—how does somebody get a divorce?
One Spouse Sues the Other for a Divorce
Paul Tafelski: That’s a good question and basically, what happens is you sue your spouse for divorce. It’s a lawsuit that’s filed in the circuit court in the county where one of you resides.
It has to contain certain types of allegations to meet the statutory requirements for divorce but otherwise, it’s a fairly simple document. That document is then filed in the courthouse, you pay a filing fee, and then it is served on the other party and that starts the divorce process.
Typically, you can file in the county that either party lives in. You have to live in the state of Michigan for at least 180 days before you can file your complaint for divorce and then you need to live in the county where you want to file for at least 10 days before you file or you can file where the other party has been living for at least 10 days.
In other words, you can file in the county that you reside in as long as you have resided there for at least 10 days or you can file where the other person is living.
How Much Can It Cost to File for Divorce?
Interviewer: What are the fees associated with filing for divorce?
An Uncontested Divorce May Have Associated Fees in the Range of $1,500 to $2,000
Paul Tafelski: Divorce cases are one of the most difficult types of cases to estimate a fee. I can use the example of a very simple, straightforward divorce case where the parties have worked out all of the terms of the settlement. They may just need the lawyer for preparing the documents, such as the judgment of the divorce and calculating the child support. In that example, the fees are in the area of $1,500 to $2,000.
Divorces with Property and Custody Issues Entail Higher Costs to the Parties
The prices can vary greatly depending upon how complicated the issues are. For example, is there a business that needs to be valued and divided? Or, is there going to be a custody fight over parenting time or are there hidden assets or is there dispute concerning what property belongs to which person?
An Experienced Attorney Can Advise His or Her Client about Which Issues Are worth Fighting for and Which Are Not
Any of those issues can cause more time to be spent by the lawyer and therefore make the case more expensive. Certainly, cost containment is something that client should be concerned about. They should make sure that they hire a lawyer that has experience.
But at the same time, you have to be able to use your experience and your knowledge to know when it is important to push harder or dig further on certain issues and when those issues are not worth fighting over. That’s where the experience of the attorney really comes into play.