A divorce can be an intense and emotional process that can affect a large network of people around you. Charles P. Farrar PLLC in Waterford, MI, is your family divorce attorney. With over 20 years of experience in family law, he has helped hundreds of families achieve the best results during separation. With a sensitive approach, he will help you make the decisions necessary to protect your future.

Offering Expert Guidance for Your Unique Case

Every family is different, which makes every separation unique. The beginning of a divorce can be filled with many emotions. Each decision made can create lifelong ripples, and complications can include controversial division of property, expensive fees, and additional tension between family members.

Justice gavel and legal scales

Frequently Asked Questions

Do my spouse or I have to prove fault to get a divorce in Michigan?
No. Michigan is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means you don’t have to prove cheating, abandonment, cruelty or anything else to get a divorce.

The only reason for a divorce in Michigan is that “there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and their remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.” A divorce will be granted regardless of the fault of either party, and you need not concern yourself with providing your attorney with proof or evidence of fault.

Will my spouse have to continue providing health insurance for me after our divorce?
No. Although Michigan law requires parents to provide health insurance for their children, there are no such laws for a spouse. At the time of filing for divorce we can ask the court to require your spouse to maintain your health insurance coverage.
Can I change my name at the time of a divorce?
Yes. A woman’s maiden surname can be restored by court order. Usually the restoration of a maiden name is included in your final judgment of divorce. After the judgment is filed with the court, you can proceed with changing your name.
Can I get an annulment in Michigan?

Yes, but only in limited circumstances. An annulment is a court decision that your marriage is not valid. You can only get an annulment in the following circumstances:

  • Bigamy
  • Incompetence
  • You or your spouse were too young for marriage
  • You and your spouse are close relatives
  • Your spouse used force or fraud to get your agreement to marry
How long do I have to live in Michigan before I can file for divorce?
A divorce can be filed after living in Michigan for 180 days and in the county of where the divorce is filed for at least 10 days.
What if I live in Michigan and my spouse lives in a different state, can my divorce be filed in Michigan?
The person filing the divorce must live in Michigan for at least 180 days, and in the county where the divorce is filed for at least 10 days.
Do my spouse and I have to be separated to get a divorce?
No. You don’t have to be separated or living in separate residences to get a divorce.
Do I need a lawyer to help me with my divorce?
The more complicated the issues in your divorce are, the more important in may be to hire a lawyer, you should consider hiring a lawyer if: you own real estate; you have a pension or retirement accounts; you have minor children that were born while you were married; you need spousal support (alimony); your spouse has been abusive (emotionally, verbally, or physically); or you and your spouse disagree on one or more major issues in your divorce.
I wasn’t married in the United States. Can I still get a divorce in Michigan?
Yes. You can get divorced in Michigan if:
Your marriage is valid in the place where you were married; and
You or your spouse has lived in Michigan for at least six months.
I’m not a U.S. Citizen, can I get a divorce in Michigan?
Yes. Neither spouse is required to be a U.S. citizen to get a divorce in Michigan. You can get a divorce in Michigan as long as one of you have lived in Michigan for at least six months. However, if your right to live in the United States depends on your marriage, divorce may affect that right. If you are in this situation, you should consider hiring an attorney to assist you.
Are there alternatives to divorce, can I get a legal separation instead of a divorce?
Yes. Separate maintenance is like divorce, but you remain legally married at the end of the case. The process is very similar; there will still be a division of property and if minor children were born during the marriage, custody, parenting time and child support matters will be addressed and ultimately orders will be entered with the court. It should be noted that if you file a separate maintenance case, and your spouse files a counterclaim for divorce, the court must treat the case as a divorce.
What if I do not know where my spouse is residing, or I am unable to locate him?
Your spouse must be served with the divorce papers to give your spouse legal notice that you filed for divorce. If attempts to locate and serve your spouse are not successfully, you can request permission from the court to complete service another way. There are several alternate ways to provide legal notice; if you are in this situation it his advisable to contact an attorney as the process can be complicated.
What if my spouse is on active military duty?
Having a spouse on active military duty can complicate your divorce case. It may be difficult to find and serve papers if your spouse stationed overseas. There are also state and federal laws that give people on active duty extra protections in civil cases. For example, the court won’t enter a default judgment against an active-duty spouse without first appointing a lawyer for them.

If your spouse is on active military duty, you should consider hiring a lawyer.

How long will it take for my divorce to be finalized?
The length of your divorce will depend greatly on how contested the issues in your divorce are. For example, if you and your spouse are unable to make decisions regarding division of assets and debts, or child custody and support, you may need to undergo mediation. Every divorce in Michigan has a sixty (60) day waiting period, and a divorce with minor children has a six (6) month waiting period. It is not uncommon for a divorce with minor children to be resolved in a period greater than six months.
What if my spouse does not want a divorce?
Because Michigan is a “no-fault” state, only one party has to allege that the marriage is broken. Of course, a spouse who does not want a divorce may cause the process to be more difficult, or take a longer period of time to resolve; he or she cannot stop a divorce from happening.
My spouse makes more money that I do, will I be able to get spousal support or alimony?

You and your spouse may agree that you should get spousal support as part of your divorce. However, if you don’t agree, the judge must decide the issue at a trial. When deciding whether to order spousal support, the judge will consider several things including (but not limited to):

  • The length of the marriage; whether or not each party can work
  • The ages of the parties
  • How much and/or what kind of property each party is awarded in the settlement
  • The education level and employment history of the parties;
  • Whether or not minor children born during the marriage require child care;
  • The health of each party.
How will custody and parenting time with the minor children determined?
The best interests of the child(ren) should always be at the forefront in determining custody and parenting time issues.

In some instances, the parties will decide the issue of custody and determine a parenting time schedule without issue. However, in many instances the Friend of the Court will be utilized to evaluate the situation and provide a recommendation for the parties. If one or both of the parties disagree about the recommendation, an objection must be filed within 21 days after you are served, or the recommendation may become an order.

In heavily contested situations, a trial may be conducted, and the final decision will be made by the judge assigned to your case. It is important that the best interest of the child(ren) are always considered when making important decisions such as custody, parenting time a child support.

Child custody and parenting time issues can become complex; there are many court rules and procedures that are often best handled by an experienced attorney familiar with family law and civil procedure.

How much child support will I receive, or have to pay?
Every case is different. Child support is a parent’s court-ordered payment to help with the costs of raising a child. Child support includes a base support amount. It may also include money for health care and childcare costs. Child support is usually determined using the Michigan Child Support formula. The formula is based on factors such as: the parents’ income; the number of children; health care costs, the number of parenting time overnights the children have with each parent.
Can child custody be changed?
Yes. A child custody order is not set in stone. In order to change custody, a motion must be filed with the court asking for a change. The parent asking for the change must prove that there is a reason and/or need for a change and alleging the change is in the best interest of the child(ren).
Measuring the Child’s Preference in Custody Disputes
Family Law Attorney in Waterford, MI


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