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How long do you have to be separated to file for divorce in MI?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Divorce |

Sometimes marriages do not work out and end in separation and divorce.

In Michigan, the duration of separation before filing for divorce depends on whether the couple has children or not.

For couples without children

According to the CDC, the divorce in Michigan is 2.3 per 1,000 couples. If a couple is childless, the law stipulates a minimum separation period of 180 days before filing for divorce. The spouses must live apart for at least six months before initiating the legal process to dissolve their marriage.

During this separation period, both parties must maintain separate finances. Living apart entails physically residing in different locations and not sharing living expenses or financial responsibilities.

The 180-day separation requirement serves as a cooling-off period, allowing couples time to reflect on their decision. It also ensures that the couple has made the decision to divorce with careful consideration and not impulsively.

For couples with children

For couples with children, the separation period is one year before they can file for divorce in Michigan. Like couples without children, this time frame aims to provide ample opportunity for reflection and potential reconciliation.

During this separation period, parents should prioritize the well-being of their children. Even though there is strain in the marriage, maintaining civility and cooperation in co-parenting arrangements is necessary for the children’s emotional stability.

Finalizing the divorce

After the requisite separation period, either spouse can file for divorce in the Michigan circuit court where either resides. The divorce petition must outline the grounds for divorce, such as irreconcilable differences or fault-based grounds like adultery or cruelty.

Once they have filed the divorce petition, the legal process begins. This typically involves negotiations, mediation, and, if necessary, court hearings to resolve issues like property division, spousal support, child custody and child support.

Divorce is a serious decision, and couples need to take the time to make sure they want to dissolve their marriage.