Why do people get divorced? If you are searching for answers to this question, then you are likely concerned about your marriage and want to know if your concerns rise to the level of divorce. Divorce can result when one spouse enters the marriage for the wrong reasons or loses individual identity in the marriage, or time erodes the relationship, or one spouse no longer shares a vision for success, or lost intimacy, or experienced financial hardship, or lack communication, or simply changed priorities and interests, or lack an inability to resolve conflicts. The reality is that divorce happens for as many reasons as the basis for marriage. The question becomes, what do I do about my situation?

In my professional opinion, Divorce is a problem-solving process, not a problem-starting process. The best divorce outcomes are from marriages that seek to resolve the fight by divorce, not start a fight because of divorce. The goal is to solve the important problems of the household and family dynamic. The task is to identify problems, but focus on practical solutions that will work for your family.

Initiating A Divorce

If you cross the threshold into divorce, then you will want to know how to start that process and what the effects will be on your life as you know it today. A divorce works like a lawsuit and starts by filing a complaint for divorce in court. For more information about the necessities and specifics of filing for divorce don’t miss this article.

For all divorces in Michigan, there is a waiting period from the time the complaint is filed and the court is permitted to issue a Judgment of Divorce. During those waiting periods, your attorney is gathering up financials, understanding the current needs of spouses and/or children, and distilling the case down to the major issues that need to be resolved before the case can complete successfully. This may also require motion hearings before the court to implement temporary conditions such as child custody or other pressing concerns that cannot wait. The process for determination of custody is explained in greater detail in this article.

Custody and parenting time are the hotbed issues in most divorce cases, in which the court seeks to establish or preserve a custodial environment and parenting time plan that complies with the best interests of the children set forth in MCL 722.23. Below are a few other articles that may shed some light on this process, and the decisions behind it:

Distribution Of Assets

Michigan is not a community-property state, which means all assets and debts derived during the course of the marriage remains marital property, but assets and debts separate from the marriage may be preserved as separate property. A division of property may include the marital home, investment properties, and vacation homes. This article explains in depth what may happen with your vacation homes or rental properties. Concerns may also arise over bank accounts and retirement accounts. Here we discuss a little more about retirement accounts and 401k interests. In all divorce cases in Michigan, the legal standard is the “fair and equitable distribution” of property.

Divorce in Michigan should not cause either party to become impoverished on the other side. Children are entitled to support from their parents. One spouse may be required to pay alimony/spousal support. Below is a selection of our content that addresses some of the more specific concerns of child and spousal support:

There Are Alternatives To Divorce

So far, this article has raised issues that require a client’s attention during Divorce. But, divorce is not your only option. If you are second-guessing whether your circumstances motivate you enough to commit to resolving these issues through a divorce, then consider alternatives to divorce. You can learn more about the possibilities of mediation here, and more about the dynamics of children involved in these issues in this articleIn some cases, an annulment may be possible and preferable instead of divorce. Above all, the best way to resolve an unhappy marriage starts by speaking to your spouse, with the help of a trusted friend, clergy, counselor, or mediator if necessary. Get to the root of disputes by understanding your spouse’s position, even if you don’t agree with any of it.

If you make the calculated decision to seek a divorce, I strongly recommend that you hire an experienced divorce attorney. Get the divorce completed by an attorney, and make sure it resolves all the major concerns from the start. If you are a person who typically wants things done cheap and quick, I caution you. A cheap divorce is like buying a cheap printer where the cost of ink is outrageous because you will spend thousands of avoidable dollars dealing with years of post-judgment modifications if you don’t get it right from the start.