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How Does Divorce Work if My Spouse Doesn’t Live in Michigan?

By Jeffrey M. Salassa

Sign pointing to Michigan as viewed by a Clinton Township divorce attorney handling an out of state divorce

Typically when a couple decides to divorce they are both still residing in the same state. However, this is not always the case, as sometimes couples choose to live apart before they officially decide to end their marriage. Additionally, some couples may find themselves living in a different city or State as a result of employment and/or family obligations and, as such, these long distance arrangements can take a toll on the marriage.

So, how does residency affect divorce in Michigan? To obtain a divorce in Michigan, there are residency requirements which must be met, or the Court will not accept the case. If the court does not have proper jurisdiction it will reject the filing outright, or, if the Court improperly accepts the filing, jurisdiction can be challenged at a later date, potentially resulting in the dismissal of the case. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you satisfy the residency requirements prior to filing.

In order to properly file for a divorce in Michigan, one of the two spouses must have lived within the State for a minimum of 180 days before the divorce complaint is filed. Additionally, one of the spouses must have lived in the county where the Complaint is filed for at least 10 days immediately prior to the filing of the Complaint. Thus, so long as one spouse meets these two requirements it does not matter where the other spouse is currently residing, nor does it matter where the marriage was conducted. However, if your spouse has never lived in Michigan, the actions a Judge can take may be more limited. More specifically, while a Court in Michigan can grant you a divorce if the residency requirements are met, it may not be able to rule on other matters such as child custody, child support, and parenting time.

In order to ensure that the Michigan residency laws will not negatively impact your divorce, please contact the Law Office of Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. in Michigan by clicking here or by calling us at (586) 263-1600.

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