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Divorce Law in Michigan

How to Find a Michigan Divorce Attorney

Did you know that an average day in Michigan witnesses 90 divorces? This means that, on average, 180 people are going through what you’re going through everyday, just in the state of Michigan. However, if you’re the one going through divorce, it likely feels anything but “average”.

If you are considering divorce and are researching Michigan divorce lawyers, this article is for you. But, because you are not average (no one is) and your situation is unique, it’s imperative to consult with a qualified divorce attorney to get good advice about your individual situation.

In this article (which is based upon Michigan divorce law), we’ll discuss:

  • Michigan specific divorce law requirements;
  • What you need to know about divorce, in general;
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a Michigan divorce attorney;
  • How to find and select a qualified lawyer; and
  • How to prepare to work with your lawyer.

Michigan Divorce Law Specifics

  • Either you or your spouse must have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days, immediately prior to the divorce filing.
  • Plus, one of you must have lived in the county of filing for at least 10 days, immediately prior to the divorce filing.
  • Michigan law requires that divorce filings use the statutory language indicating 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.
  • Unfortunately, Michigan divorce law terms, which identify you and your spouse, are archaic and the terms, “plaintiff” and “defendant” are used. Try not to let it bother you; neither term means you did anything wrong. Other states use terms such as “petitioner” and “respondent”.
  • Divorce filings are made in the Judicial Circuit Court for the county where either you or your spouse resides.
  • Property distribution will be equitable, which means, “fair”, not necessarily equal.
  • Spousal support (i.e. alimony) may be awarded in some cases and child support in based upon the Income Shares Model.

What You Need to Know About Divorce in a Nutshell

If you want to get through your divorce with some semblance of dignity, sanity, and cash, here’s how to do it.

  • Get good legal advice and hire a divorce lawyer who will work cooperatively and encourage you and your spouse to work out a marital settlement agreement.
  • Keep in mind that if you cooperate, compromise, and follow your attorney’s direction, you will pay lower legal fees and get more of what you want in the divorce.
  • Going to court is a complete loss of control, further antagonizes all parties involved, causes increased stress, and costs a lot of money.
  • Your divorce lawyer and your children are not your therapists.

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a Michigan Divorce Lawyer?


Think about how much just one mistake would cost you. Will it be tens of thousands of dollars? Hundreds of thousands of dollars? Time with your children? Marital rights?

You have the legal right to represent yourself throughout a Michigan divorce; it’s not likely the best choice for you or anyone else. Even attorneys who go through divorce hire divorce lawyers.

How to Find and Select a Michigan Divorce Attorney

The easiest way to find an attorney is to do a virtual search for “How to Find a Michigan Divorce Attorney” or ask friends and family for referrals.

Here are 4 important attorney qualifications to help you narrow down the list and make your selection. Look for an attorney who:

  • Focuses his or her practice on divorce and family law. This may also be called matrimonial law.
  • Is experienced in working collaboratively. An attorney who offers to “rip your spouse to shreds”, or the like, may initially sound appealing, but it is sure to cost you big time in the end.
  • Will answer your questions and let you know how best to communicate with him or her. For example, will you have a weekly telephone conference or the like?
  • Will help you keep your legal fees and stress level to a minimum.

How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney

You can best prepare by getting in the right mindset and gathering financial documents.

  • First, consider reconciliation. Is your marriage irretrievably broken for the long run? What if your anger dissipates in 6 weeks or 6 months?
  • Second, meet with a therapist to deal with the emotional aspects of divorce.
  • Third, know that cooperation, communication, collaboration, and compromise are the paths to the ultimate goals of keeping your sanity, getting a fresh start, protecting your children, and not wasting all of your money on legal fees and anger.
  • Fourth, gather financial documents showing all income, expenses, debts, and assets.
  • Fifth, make a wish list of everything you would like in the divorce. Indicate which items “must” stay and which can be compromised.
  • Sixth, make a list of questions to address with your lawyer at your next telephone conference.

There are, on average, 54,000 divorces in Michigan each year. This means that you are not alone; it does not mean that you are average.

There is just one life for each of us:В  our own.


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