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How to File for Divorce in Michigan

— April 15, 2021

Divorce is disappointing, but if you take the right steps, you can make a smooth transition into your new life. 

The concept of marriage is about 4,350 years old. It was originally a business deal ensuring the man would have heirs and a housekeeper. Love was not even part of the idea of marriage until the middle ages. The first divorce in American history happened in 1643 on the grounds of adultery. You could not get a no-contest divorce in the United States until the late 1960s, but soon as they were legal, they became very popular. 

Today, there is a divorce about every 13 seconds, and there are specifically divorce attorneys for women. If your marriage is about to end, and you are in the state of Michigan, you should know the basic steps for filing a divorce.

Make Sure You Really Want to Divorce

Divorce is expensive and time-consuming. It is not uncommon for people to file the paperwork, pay the fee and then change their minds. You may want to have a few sessions with a marriage and family counselor before you actually file your paperwork. Even if you are sure you want to get a divorce, a counselor can help you decide on things like child custody and what your relationship will be after you split.

Gather Paperwork

There is some information the courts will need when processing your divorce. You will want to document your social security number, the address where you will reside during the divorce proceedings, and a contact phone number.

You will need to prove state residency. Either you or your spouse must be a resident in the state for at least six months before you file.

You should bring proof of income and employment. You should also bring along your last few tax returns. Documentation of joint bank accounts and records of any property or debts that you have acquired during the marriage should also be gathered.

Hire an Attorney

Once you are sure you want a divorce and you have gathered your paperwork, you will want to hire an attorney. If the divorce is uncontested and amicable, you can both use one attorney to help you with the paperwork. If the divorce is contested, you will each have your own attorneys. 

Filing Forms

Divorce certificate - Image by Tumisu, via
Divorce certificate – Image by Tumisu, via

One of you will file the complaint for divorce and will be considered the plaintiff in the case. The other party will be considered the defendant. The paperwork will be filed with the Clerk of the Court’s office. The defendant will be served with a summons and they will either agree to the terms of the divorce or file an answer to go to court. 


When you file for a divorce in the Wolverine State, and you have children, you will pay $230. If there are no children, you will pay $150.You will have to pay a fee to a summons server as well. It is very important to let your attorneys work out the terms of your divorce as court appearances can cost thousands of dollars. 

Divorce is disappointing, but if you take the right steps, you can make a smooth transition into your new life. 

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