Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested Divorce Lets Michigan Couples Move On Without Expensive Court Costs

Most families do not need a long or bitter divorce proceeding to divide up their property, arrange for their children, and go their separate ways. Especially, when the couple and both of their attorneys put problems in front of them rather than between them to come up with options and solutions. When both parties are dedicated to a litigation-free resolution, an uncontested divorce may be a good option.

Attorneys from our law firm championed Michigan’s relatively new uncontested divorce process, which is often referred to as a “Party A/Party B” divorce. This process removes the “Plaintiff versus Defendant” language found in the traditional title of the court filings required to formalize the divorce. This process is shorter, and often less expensive than traditional litigation, making it an easy way to end a marriage.

It can be less expensive because several steps required in traditional litigation are removed, including: filing the traditional complaint for divorce and answer, attending the pretrial conference, and filing witness and exhibit lists. With an uncontested divorce, one of the attorneys files a petition for entry of a previously-signed Judgment of Divorce, a few additional required forms, and the court sends a notice of the single court date necessary to finalize the process. It is much more streamlined and efficient than the traditional way of divorcing.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse both agree that it is time to move on, and have resolved all the issues that generally come up during the divorce process, or are able to do so using mediation before either of you files for divorce:

For couples who have worked out all the required details before filing for a divorce, Michigan’s uncontested divorce streamlines the process, often allowing couples to move from married to single faster and with less time spent in court.

The statutory waiting period for divorces, 60 days without minor children and 180 days with minor children, does not change but judges frequently accelerate the waiting period and allow for the divorce to be finalized after 60 days even with minor children when the parties use the uncontested divorce process. There is no way to avoid waiting at least 60 days from the date of filing the joint petition to enter the signed Judgment of Divorce.

Who Can Use Uncontested Divorce in Michigan?

Anyone who meets the residency requirements for divorce in Michigan can choose to file a petition for uncontested divorce instead of a complaint for divorce. That means before you and your spouse can ask the court to end your marriage you must have lived in:

  • Michigan for at least 180 days
  • The county where you file for at least 10 days

The bigger hurdle for most couples is coming to agreement on all the terms in the proposed judgment of divorce. That is because, unlike in a traditional divorce, you and your spouse must sign off on a proposed judgment before the petition is filed. If you can’t both agree on what goes into that judgment, you will need to use the traditional litigation method.

There are many required provisions, so before you and your spouse conclude you have worked everything out, check with your attorneys to make sure you have not neglected any required provisions or failed to spot a significant issue, such as the tax consequences of some financial action you may wish to take.

How the Michigan Uncontested Divorce Process Works

The benefit of uncontested divorce is that it can be faster, and involves fewer steps than traditional divorce litigation. To get an uncontested divorce, you will need to:

  • Identify the right county’s court based on where you or your spouse live
  • Complete all the necessary paperwork including a petition for uncontested divorce, Friend of the Court paperwork regarding any children, and a proposed judgment of divorce
  • Have both parties (and their attorneys if they have them) sign the paperwork
  • File the paperwork with the court and pay a filing fee
  • Get a notice of hearing from the court
  • Attend the court hearing (usually both parties must attend) and ask the court to enter the judgment

In most cases, if your paperwork has been completed properly, you will only need to attend one court hearing.

Contested or Uncontested, We Can Help

Uncontested divorce is a great option for families who have already separated and are living independently, or child-free couples who don’t have enough assets to argue over dividing. However, divorce attorneys and mediators also use the uncontested divorce process after helping clients resolve their differences through:

  • Collaborative Divorce: Where each party works with a team of certified collaborative professionals to create a holistic plan for resolving their case out of court

You can use either of these options to resolve any outstanding issues between you and your spouse and still take advantage of the shorter, less adversarial uncontested divorce process once an agreement is reached.

Get Help From Our Experienced Divorce Lawyers

Our family law firm can provide individuals and families near Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan with the forms and instructions they need to complete an uncontested divorce. We will meet with you to help you decide if an uncontested divorce is right for you, and discuss the additional services available that may suit your family’s situation. We will also stand beside you in court at the divorce hearing, if you prefer, to make sure everything goes smoothly. Contact us to schedule a consultation with an attorney today.