To file for divorce in Mason County, Michigan, either spouse has to live in the state for at least 180 days (6 months) and reside in the county for a minimum of 10 days. If you have children, Michigan should be their home state. All of this would be mandatory for the court to review your case and make decisions that involve your kids.
Couples who reach an agreement before filing can get a Mason County divorce in under 3 months. It is possible as long as spouses follow the proper court process and go through each step as soon as legally possible. Those with children will have to wait for around 6 months unless the court allows them not to.
How to File for Divorce in Mason County?
The common steps to a divorce process in Michigan are:
- Prepare the forms. This involves filling them out, making copies, signing and dating each one, as well as notarizing some of them.
- File the forms with the circuit court. Bring the whole set to a clerk along with the copies, pay the filing fees, and get the copies back.
- Ask someone to help you with the service. Hire a process server, pay a sheriff, or ask a friend to:
- Give copies of the documents along with supplementary forms to your spouse.
- Complete and file the Proof of Service form and give you a copy.
You are legally required not to do any of the above on your own. The only thing you may do is file the filled-out Proof of Service instead of the person who helped you with the process.
- Get the Answer. Your spouse can either bring the Answer form to the court themselves or give it to you to file.
- Exchange the notarized financial forms. Ask the clerk if you need to file the document proving the exchange.
- Take additional steps if you have children. These include filing copies of some paperwork with a Friend of the Court and completing an educational program.
- Go to a pre-trial hearing. A court will notify you if it is required, and your attendance will be mandatory.
- Schedule the final hearing. It will be set for a date at least 2 months after you filed or at least 6 months if you have kids.
- Let your spouse know about the date. Provide them with a Notice at least 9 days before the scheduled date and file the form proving you have done that.
- Make the final arrangements. Check if your final paperwork is in order and give it to the court clerk.
- Finalize your divorce. Attend the hearing and file the Final Judgement with the clerk after a judge signs it.
Note that some of these steps are time-sensitive. For instance, once you file, you have 91 days to notify your spouse that you did so through the service process. They, on the other hand, will have 21 days to provide you with the Answer. Moreover, there will be only 28 days for both of you to give each other the financial documents if this step is required in your case.
Mason County Divorce Forms
In agreed-upon cases, the main Mason County divorce papers required to end a marriage are:
- Complaint for Divorce
- Nonmilitary Affidavit
- Notice of Hearing
- Proof of Service
- Judgment of Divorce
Additional Mason County circuit court forms for spouses with children are:
- Application for Child Support Services
- Verified Statement
- UCCJEA Affidavit
- Friend of the Court Handbook
The types of forms you need will depend not only on whether you have kids but also on how you want to proceed with your divorce. You may also qualify for certain reliefs or speed up the process based on your family situation, and there will be documents required for such cases.
Mason County Divorce Filing Fees
To get a Mason County divorce, you need to pay a filing fee of about $175. There will be an additional judgment fee of $80 for spouses with children. If you require other services from the court, such as mediation or service of process, you will have to pay for them separately.
If the initial filing fees are too high for you, it is possible to ask the court to waive them. The clerk may do it right away if you prove that you receive public assistance or legal help based on your low income. In other cases, a judge will have to review the paperwork to decide on the matter.
Divorce Courts in Mason County, Michigan
The Mason County divorce court location, phone number, and courthouse hours are:
Mason County, MI Divorce Court Information
Court Name: 51st Circuit Court for Mason County
Court Title: In the Circuit Court of Mason County, Alabama
Circuit Court Location: 304 E. Ludington Ave., Ludington, Michigan 49431
Court Phone: 231-843-8202
Court Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Who can help fill out divorce papers? It should not necessarily be a lawyer you would pay thousands to. Pass a quick questionnaire to see if you can get affordable help with your divorce papers.
Erik Smith is a well-known divorce specialist and writer at midivorcepapers.com with a background in marriage counseling and therapy. Having worked with countless couples, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his writing.