Michigan Divorce FAQ: Ways to Get Divorced

In Michigan, people can get divorced by ONLY two ways:

  1. By their own written agreement where together they resolve all of the issues of the divorce and marriage, such as child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, distribution or allocation of all of the assets and liabilities of the marriage.  OR
  2. After a trial presided over by a judge or a private binding arbitration.  Evidence must be presented to the judge/arbitrator via testimony or various forms of documentation which must all comply with the Michigan Rules of Evidence.  Judges cannot legally make final decisions in a divorce without a trial. 

The trial happens at the very end of the case and the judge will have tried to push the parties to settle way before holding a trial.  Trials do not necessarily take place all in one day or week, but can be very sporadic.  A judge may have a half day here and another half day there, and the days can be months apart because of a crowded docket schedule. 

A trial is extremely expensive both financially and emotionally.  Unless people have a blooming money tree in their backyard, the cost of a trial can run into tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars straight out of the finite marital pot the couple is hoping to split.  Emotionally, each spouse will be trying to prove their “side of the story,” so testimony is damaging and can never be retracted, much like a bullet once it leaves the chamber of a gun.

So, those people anxious about finalizing the divorce will be well advised to find a process which allows them to work with their spouse toward a constructive and meaningful agreement, get the proper assistance with the emotional part of divorce and help with the future of parenting children as well as focus on their own future and not fan the flames of the emotional upheaval of the divorce itself. 

Otherwise, a trial will ruin your future life and that of your children.

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