Divorce FAQ

How much does a divorce cost?
 
The cost for a divorce varies on a case by case basis based upon complexity. Your initial retainer fee will typically be in the range of $2,500-$3,500. The attorney will charge an hourly rate, currently $300 per hour but subject to change, until your initial retainer is used up. Costs advanced on your behalf will also be taken out of the initial retainer fee. Cases that proceed smoothly can typically be completed without exhausting the above fee.
 
What are the grounds for divorce in Michigan?
 
The Michigan no-fault divorce statute provides as follows:
  • A complaint for divorce may be filed in the circuit court upon the allegation that there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.
 
As a practical matter, the courts will grant a divorce if either party seeks one. The reconciliation test is whether there is a "reasonable likelihood," not a mere possibility, of a reconciliation. Every case must be heard in open court. The court may consider fault in determining division of marital property. However, it is error to place excessive weight on the factor of fault and make it the punitive basis for an inequitable division of property.
 
What if my spouse lives out of state?
 
Michigan law provides that a divorce can be granted if the plaintiff or defendant has resided in Michigan for 180 days immediately before the filing for divorce. Therefore, a divorce can be granted in Michigan even if your spouse has moved out of state.
 
Will I have to pay alimony?
 
Maybe. Courts have historically looked to many factors to determine if one spouse has to pay alimony. These factors include the following:
  • Past relations and conduct of the parties
  • Length of the marriage
  • Ability of the parties to work
  • Source and amount of property awarded to the parties
  • Age of the parties
  • Ability of the parties to pay alimony
  • Present situation of the parties
  • Needs of the parties
  • Health of the parties
  • Prior standard of living of the parties and whether either is responsible for the support of others
  • General principles of equity
  • Who will get custody of the children?
Custody in Michigan is determined according to what is commonly called the "best interest of the child" standard. The following factors are used in evaluating this standard:
  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties to provide the child with food, clothing and medical care
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable environment and the desirability of maintaining this continuity
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home
  • The moral fitness of the parties involved
  • The home, school, and community record of the child
  • The reasonable preference of the child
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child
  • Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant
The court will evaluate all of these factors to determine the custodial arrangement of any minor children.
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