Divorce is complicated and comes with a lot of emotional ups and downs. There’s a lot to deal with, from property division to custody, child support, spouse support, and more. It can take its toll on you. The complexity of a divorce case becomes more apparent when there are unresolved issues. In this case, the divorce is referred to as a contested divorce. However, when the spouses can resolve all matters relating to child support, property division, and others, it becomes an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is usually easier and more affordable than a contested one. So, when it comes to getting divorced in Michigan, is it better to hire a lawyer or get a divorce online?
How to Get a Divorce in Michigan
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. This means that regardless of the reason why you want a divorce, it will be granted. In the state of Michigan, it’s possible to go through a divorce process without hiring a lawyer. However, the services of a professional are the best way to ensure that your needs are well-protected. For this, you can get a divorce online. There are many divorce companies online such as onlinemichigandivorce.com that you can consider for your divorce process. If your case is more complex, there are many types of professional services that can offer the tools you need to build your divorce case without engaging an attorney’s assistance. Although you can do it yourself, it’s critical to have proper guidance. And if your spouse has a lawyer handling their case, it’s crucial that you do, too.
When filing for divorce in Michigan, you don’t necessarily have to go to court. Couples going through an uncontested divorce may complete the process without going to court. Since there is nothing to contest, the process is relatively smooth. In many cases, the couple’s attorneys draw up a written agreement, and the spouses sign the divorce papers outside of court. In more straightforward cases, the couples can even draw up a settlement agreement without using attorneys. However, when the spouses do not agree on some issues, there will be a need for legal action, which will usually require a visit to court and legal representation.
Now, it is essential to point out that not all contested divorce cases require a Divorce Trial. Some couples may choose Divorce Mediation where a neutral 3rd-party helps the spouses reach a compromise. This can be done with or without engaging attorneys to help with the paperwork and proceeding.
Is it Possible to Divorce over the Internet?
Choosing to get a divorce over the internet will depend on your situation. If you are the petitioner and your spouse is not contesting the divorce, you can easily opt for online divorce to minimize the stress. In this case, you won’t need the service of an attorney. You can handle most of the divorce proceedings as a DIY divorce. You will only need the assistance of a professional to ensure that your interests are covered. If children are not involved in the marriage, it will also be easy to apply for a divorce online. If properties are involved, and you also have to deal with alimony, child custody, and child support, it is recommended that you engage the service of a lawyer. The main thing is that an application for divorce online is only recommended for an uncontested divorce where the couple has agreed on all the terms, and nothing will have to be changed later.
How Long Does a Divorce Process Take in Michigan?
The timeframe for completing a divorce in Michigan depends on the resolved and unresolved issues in the marriage. It also depends on whether or not children are involved in the case. If there are no minor children of the marriage, the waiting period to get a final divorce decree can be sixty days. However, if children are involved, it may take at least six months to complete getting a divorce from the date of filing.
Another issue to consider when you want to apply for a divorce is the cost involved. Depending on whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce, the cost can be inexpensive or huge. For instance, an uncontested divorce can cost anywhere from $500 to $2500, including the legal documents and the court filing fees. For a contested divorce, the cost can significantly increase, starting from about $5,000 per spouse and going up to over $15,000.
Many factors can increase the cost, with attorney fees being the biggest factor. If your attorney has to deal with issues related to property division, business division, child custody, child support, and spousal support, the cost of the service will dramatically increase.
No-Fault Divorce in Michigan Explained
As stated earlier, the state of Michigan is a strictly no-fault divorce state. This means you can divorce a spouse without proving any wrongdoing. You won’t have to prove that your partner has done anything wrong to break up your marriage. You can simply quote ‘irreconcilable differences’ as the reason for the divorce. All other reasons people get divorced, including adultery, mental cruelty, and abuse, abandonment, or alcohol/drug abuse, are covered under this ground.
It’s important to mention that a no-fault divorce does not mean that a fault cannot be assigned when any issues arise in the court case. For instance, the court may consider specific faults when deciding the final judgment or making decisions concerning child support, property division, or alimony.
Property Division in a Michigan Divorce
When it comes to property division in a divorce, Michigan has a clear law that guides the process. Under the Michigan divorce law, properties in a marriage should be equitably divided between the spouses. Properties that are considered for division when going through a divorce process include houses, vacation homes, vehicles, and cash assets. Other properties that may be considered are investment accounts such as bonds and stocks, health insurance, and retirement accounts, including pensions and 401ks. Suffice to mention that the equitable distribution of assets has some exceptions. Assets brought into the marriage by one individual or inherited by just one spouse during the marriage are not considered separate property and is not divided. This is where the service of a professional may be necessary. Using a professional’s assistance will ensure that your personal property is well protected during the divorce process.
How to Minimize the Costs in a Michigan Divorce
Whether contested or uncontested, the cost of divorce is not cheap. However, a contested divorce can get especially expensive if care is not taken. So, how can you reduce the cost of a contested divorce? The truth is that there is no straight-cut answer to this question, but there are some ways you can minimize the cost of your divorce to make it more affordable.
For starters, you should request that your lawyer provides you with an upfront quote with the estimate for your case. With this, you can know what to expect. Once you agree on the quotation and start the process, make sure you optimize your time and meetings with the attorney. During in-person meetings, phone calls, and email sharing, ensure you ask all questions at once instead of sending them in bits. With this, you can significantly reduce the charges that accumulate during your divorce process.
If you can, you should try to reach an agreement with your spouse on different areas without going to trial. This will make it possible for you to have a web divorce without going to court. It will also make the whole process fast and quick. You can complete your divorce within six months if children are involved or 60 days without children. Both parties may not agree on some things. However, instead of going through a trial, you may explore other options, such as using a mediator.
Can You have Legal Separation instead of Divorce?
Legal separation, also known as separate maintenance, is when a couple agrees to legally divide custody, parenting time, and assets while lawfully staying married. People choose legal separation for different reasons, including personal and religious beliefs. Unlike a divorce, legal separation is not a dissolution of marriage. Neither spouse can remarry, and one still bears the other’s name. The advantage of legal separation is that it allows couples to rethink the situation and get back together if they do work out their differences. It’s impossible to get back together under the same marriage decree after a divorce has become final.
In summary, the choice of hiring lawyers vs. getting a divorce online in Michigan depends on different factors. If the divorce is contested, it is recommended that you hire a lawyer to help with the proceedings. However, if it is uncontested, you can opt for divorce online and have all forms and documents handled by a divorce company.