In some cases, a divorce represents the formality of a marriage that ended long ago. For others, the initiation of a divorce is a surprising and painful journey. In either scenario, Michigan law requires a minimum waiting period for divorce actions. The waiting periods, as outlined below, turn on whether or not minor children are involved.
Waiting periods– divorce without minor children
Under statutory law (MCL 552.9(f)), the minimum waiting period for a divorce that has no minor children is 60 days from the date of filing the complaint. Thus, to initiate the waiting period, the complaint needs to be actually filed with the court. Michigan courts often schedule the first hearing past 60 days from the date of filing. From a practical standpoint, this serves two functions. First, if the case is settled, the first hearing date has the potential for finalizing the matter as the minimum waiting period has been met. Secondly, if the case is not settled, the timeframe allows parties to gain understanding as to outstanding issues in the case and to begin to work through them.
The 60-day waiting period cannot be waived except for the very narrow exception of desertion. While the law carved out this narrow exception, this is very rare and hardly utilized in Michigan law. Furthermore, it is important to note, while a 60-day waiting period is a minimum, it is not a maximum. Often cases will extend beyond 60 days but not usually beyond 1 year.
Waiting periods – divorce with minor children
For divorce cases that involve minor children, the statutory waiting period, is 180 days (6 months) from the date of filing the complaint. To characterize a case as one with minor children, there must be at least one child born to the parties or adopted who is under 18 years of age at the time of filing the action. Unlike the waiting period in cases where there are no minor children, a divorce can be finalized sooner than the waiting period. A court may grant a divorce sooner than 6 months if “unusual hardship” or “compelling necessity” can be demonstrated by the parties. The best interests of the minor children are key considerations in whether the waiting period will be waived. Notwithstanding, the waiting period for a divorce with minor children cannot be shorter than 60 days. Additionally, some cases take longer than 6 months to resolve but generally not beyond 1 year.
We can help while you wait
Whether you are waiting to file or already in the midst of a case, Findling Law is ready and able to assist you with your matter. While you wait for your matter to get underway or finalized, there are several key steps to address during the divorce process. Talk with an attorney at Findling Law today to learn how to address those steps and protect your interests.
About Findling Law
Findling Law, PLC – 414 W. 5th St. Royal Oak, Michigan 48067
I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles. We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.
By: Daniel Findling