gavel laying on top of divorce documents

Michigan is a no-fault state for divorce, so if a person wants to end their marriage, they may file for divorce without naming the specific grounds for such a decision. It is enough to indicate that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be saved. However, if one of the partners is guilty of marriage termination, and their behavior made a wife/husband experience physical or emotional pain, it is necessary to be able to present proof to the judge. Such faults may play a role when a judge divides property or awards spousal maintenance.

No-fault Grounds for Divorce in Michigan

Since Michigan is a purely no-fault divorce state, the court does not require the filing spouse to prove that the marriage ended due to the other spouse’s misconduct. You only need to show that:

  • there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and
  • there is no possibility of reconciliation.

Are There Valid Fault Grounds for Divorce in Michigan?

As specified above, the only official ground for starting a divorce procedure in Michigan is an irretrievable breakdown without the possibility of preserving the marriage. Still, the wrongdoings of one of the spouses that lead to marriage termination may impact some aspects of the divorce case, such as property division and alimony. Let’s take physical abuse as an example. The abused spouse may request the court to award them more property to compensate for the financial losses they incurred. For instance, this may have happened if they were unable to work due to health issues caused by an abusive partner.

The list of fault grounds for divorce in Michigan that a judge may take into consideration includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Adultery – a married person engages in voluntary sexual intercourse with someone who isn’t their spouse.
  2. Abandonment – a person deserts and abandons their spouse for no reason and lives in another place for more than one year.
  3. Cruel Treatment – one spouse uses physical, sexual, or emotional abuse toward the partner, making the marital life unbearable.
  4. Other grounds. Faults such as bigamy and imprisonment of one spouse may also be considered by the court while making the final decision on the divorce case.
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