Under Michigan law, there is a minimum amount of time from the date of filing the Complaint for Divorce to the entry of the Judgment of Divorce. If a couple is getting divorced without kids, there is a 60 day wait period and, if there are children, there is a 6 month wait in Michigan. The clock starts running upon the filing of the Complaint.
Typically, a divorce will be completed within these time frames only if the parties agree on everything. However, this isn’t typical. Remember, you are getting divorced for a reason and that lack of communication and understanding usually carries over into the divorce. Not always, but usually. A divorce can also be completed within the statutory minimums if a Judgment is entered by default.
Default occurs when a Defendant fails to appear, answer, or defend the divorce after they are served with the Complaint. After the wait period, the Plaintiff files a Motion for Entry of Default Judgment. It is served on the Defendant. At a hearing before the Judge, if the terms of the Judgment are fair and equitable, the Judge will grant the Judgment.
If a case is settled early, the Judge can waive the waiting period if there is a showing of undue hardship or compelling necessity. Contrary to popular belief (even amongst divorce lawyers), it has nothing to do with the best interests of the children. Some examples may be an inability to keep missing work or moving out of state. A Judge makes the decision on a case by case basis and there is no hard and fast rule.
Realistically, a divorce in Michigan will take anywhere from six to nine months. If it is heavily contested, you can expect to have a trial scheduled and completed within a year as Judges have certain time standards to complete a divorce case.
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Chris McAvoy is a Taylor, Michigan attorney who helps people with bankruptcy, family law, and estate planning. To find out more or set up an appointment, click here for contact info. Our attorneys help people in Taylor, Allen Park, Southgate, Lincoln Park, Riverview, Trenton, Flat Rock, Wyandotte, Brownstown, Belleville, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, and the Downriver, Michigan area.