On average, a divorce in Michigan takes from three to six months to complete. An uncontested divorce may range from 9 to 12 weeks. A contested divorce can take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the number of disagreements in the marriage and the complexity of the case. For example, having child-related disputes or asset- and debt-related disagreements may significantly prolong the case.
In this article, we will take a look at the “average” divorce timeline for each divorce case and the factors that influence the length of a divorce.
Waiting Period for Divorce in Michigan
According to the Michigan divorce law, the waiting period is 60 days for cases without minor children and six months for cases when children are involved. It starts from the moment when the petitioner files for divorce. The waiting period allows spouses to consider reconciliation and decide on issues related to child custody, support, and property division.
It is essential to remember that, as a rule, divorce takes longer than the minimum waiting period. The total duration depends on many factors, like case complexity and number of contested issues for contested divorces or busy court schedule for uncontested ones.
Exceptions to the Michigan Divorce Waiting Period
In some cases, waiving a 6-month waiting period is possible; however, it can only be reduced to 60 days. The judge may shorten it for compelling reasons, such as domestic violence or in situations when waiting 6 months will cause hardship to a spouse or children. The 60-day waiting period cannot be waived in any case, though.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Michigan?
Michigan divorce timeline for uncontested cases is from three to six months. If both parties agree to a divorce and don’t have any contested issues to resolve, they can file for an uncontested marriage termination. It is possible when parties have reached a consensus on divorce-related questions, like spousal support, property and debt division, etc. It is the fastest way to terminate the marriage in Michigan.
The average divorce length for uncontested divorces can vary depending on different circumstances, such as the court schedule or the time needed to serve the documents. When a couple files for an uncontested no-fault divorce in Michigan, they can choose a do-it-yourself divorce without a lawyer. As a rule, it saves spouses time and money they would otherwise spend on legal representation and sessions with a lawyer.
How Long Does Contested Divorce Take in Michigan?
Depending on the case specifics, a contested divorce in Michigan may take from six months to a year or even more to complete. The more issues are contested, the longer the divorce process lasts.
Before getting divorced in Michigan, spouses may consider participation in mediation, arbitration, informal negotiation, etc., to resolve their disputes. All these processes are aimed at helping spouses save time on trial and come to an agreement outside the courtroom.
If mediation or other ways to negotiate the disputed issues does not help, the contested case is likely to result in lengthy and costly court litigation, where many hearings are required. Therefore, it is recommended that spouses try to reach a consensus to avoid time-consuming and expensive court battles that may take years to finalize.
How Long Does a Divorce with Kids Take?
Divorce in Michigan with a child may last from six months to a year or more, depending on the circumstances of the case.
- Firstly, there is a mandatory waiting period of six months, which means the divorce cannot be finalized faster.
- Another reason a divorce with a child takes longer than cases without kids involved is that the court must ensure that children’s best interests are met. The court may oblige spouses to attend parenting classes before a divorce can be granted.
- If parents cannot agree on child custody, parenting time, and child support, they may need to take part in lengthy court battles. If spouses are not cooperative, their lawyers will need more time to prepare for hearings to come to a mutually beneficial solution.
- Moreover, the court will also require a child custody and parenting time evaluation report, which can take quite a long time to complete.
How Long Does It Take to Process Divorce Papers in Michigan?
The divorce process in Michigan starts with filing the petition with the clerk’s office. The next step is to serve the other party with copies of the original petition and other paperwork to ensure they are aware of the divorce and have an opportunity to respond.
Many people wonder, “How long does it take to serve divorce papers in Michigan?”
In general, this time varies from a few days to several weeks and depends on the method of service. In Michigan, it can be done via personal service or through service by certified mail.
- Personal service is the fastest method of handling documents, as it involves physically giving papers to the other party. It can be done by any person older than 18 years except for the petitioner. If the other party can be located and is willing to accept the documents, personal service can be completed within a few days.
- Service by certified mail involves sending the papers to the other party by mail with a return receipt requested. The other party must sign the receipt to confirm that they received the documents. Service by certified mail can take several days to a week, depending on the location of the other party.
|Personal Service||Service by Certified Mail|
|Fastest method||Takes several days to a week|
|Involves physically giving papers||Involves sending papers by mail|
|Can be completed within a few days||Requires the other party to sign the receipt|
|Any person older than 18 years can do it||Depends on the location of the other party|
|Excludes the petitioner||Provides confirmation of document receipt|
How Long Does It Take to Get Your Divorce Finalized?
An average divorce time in Michigan is 3-6 months for uncontested cases without minor children and from six to twelve months for contested cases or divorces with children. However, some complex cases with many contested issues may take even several years to finalize.
The final stage of divorce in Michigan is attending the hearing and getting the final judgment of divorce issued by the court. If the parties sign a settlement agreement, it will be incorporated into the final judgement. This court order formally ends the marriage and sets out the divorce terms, such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. If there is no settlement agreement, the judge will decide on these issues during a trial.
Once the judge signs the final judgment of divorce, both parties are bound by its terms. It signifies the end of the divorce process.
Why Does Divorce Take So Long
Spouses who decide to end their marriage and don’t know how long it will take should remember that all divorces in Michigan differ in terms of duration. Some of the most common reasons why divorce may take longer than you’ve expected are the following:
- Custody Battles. Custody battles typically occur when parents cannot agree on who should have legal or physical custody of their children. It is advised that parents try to work out a custody agreement outside the court. It can be done through mediation or with the help of experts in divorces with children. This way, spouses may reach the best possible outcome for everyone involved, minimizing the stress for kids and the overall duration of the divorce.
- Dividing Property and Marital Assets. Another factor that can increase the total length of divorce is disagreements related to property division. If spouses cannot solve this issue cooperatively, the judge will decide on it based on the financial and other evidence provided by spouses.
- Searching for Legal Assistance. In some cases, using a lawyer’s service may prolong the total duration of divorce. In contested divorces, attorneys need much time to work towards an amicable resolution of disputes outside the court or prepare for lengthy court battles between spouses.
What’s the Fastest Way to Get Divorced in Michigan?
The fastest way to get divorced in Michigan is to file for an uncontested no-fault divorce which may take from 60 days to finalize if no minor children are involved. Spouses looking for a fast marriage termination should consider online divorce in Michigan. This reliable online service assists spouses during the pre-filing stage of divorce. If you qualify for an uncontested no-fault divorce, this is the optimal solution to get the court-approved and accurately prepared forms relevant to your case and detailed filing instructions. With this online service, you will be able to obtain a quick divorce in Michigan.
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.