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Livingston County Divorce Attorney

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Divorce is never easy, and is often complicated and contentious. Even the most amicable divorce can be difficult from an emotional standpoint.According to an April 2021 release from the United States Census Bureau, approximately 34% of adults 20 years and older who have married have been divorced. The rate was higher for those ages 55 to 64 at 43%. Those in Howell, Brighton, Lakeland, Gregory, and other cities in southeast Michigan may want to consider visiting with a Livingston County divorce attorney. Melissa Pearce & Associates, PLC provides legal guidance to those who are divorcing or legally separating. Whether your divorce will be contested or not, our team is available at 248-397-9606.

How to File for Divorce in Livingston County

In order to get a divorce in Michigan, one spouse must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months (180 days) prior to filing for divorce. Those living in Livingston County should file in the circuit court, however it is also possible to file in the county where the other spouse lives. Michigan is a “no-fault” state, which means neither spouse has to do anything wrong in order to get a divorce (cheating, abuse, or other unacceptable behavior). It is possible to file for divorce even when living together. Filing for divorce involves:

  • Testifying the marriage relationship has broken down to the point it has been destroyed and cannot reasonably be preserved pursuant to Michigan divorce Statute 552.6
  • File a complaint, summons, and other required documents with the county circuit court
  • Serve the papers on your spouse either in person, or via certified/registered mail (service is generally done by someone else)
  • The spouse then files an answer – if they do not, the divorce is uncontested

The complaint includes the filing spouse’s requests, which the answering spouse can agree or disagree with. When spouses fail to agree on major issues, consider consulting with an experienced Livingston County divorce attorney.

How Long Should My Divorce Take?

The length of time it takes for a divorce to become final can vary depending on a number of factors. The average time is approximately two months, but factors that may impact the timeline include:

  • Whether the couple has children
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Division of assets and marital property

Some couples who divorce can agree on all of the issues involved, however this is not generally the case. When the terms of a divorce must be negotiated and require legal intervention, it may take six months or even a year for the divorce to be finalized. It will take a minimum of 60 days regardless of whether spouses have children.

Services a Livingston County Divorce Attorney Provides

While some couples prefer a legal separation when they are not certain whether a divorce is the solution, others simply want a divorce. Our services include:

Legal Separations

Legal separation, also referred to as separate maintenance, is used by couples for various reasons. For example, one spouse may be unemployed and covered by their partner’s employer health care. Some may be hesitant to divorce due to religious beliefs. Legal separations allow spouses to separate personal property, real property, and accounts while preserving insurance beneficiary rights and inheritance in each other’s property. It is important to note that should one spouse or the other decide to remarry, those who are legally separated must go through the divorce process.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce. This may include child custody and visitation, child support, and the division of assets and debts, real estate, marital property, retirement accounts, and more. The important thing to consider with an uncontested divorce is that while both spouses may agree in the moment, this often changes in the future. An uncontested divorce generally takes two months to become final. Couples often believe they do not need a Livingston County divorce attorney with an uncontested divorce, however this is not necessarily the case. A skilled lawyer can analyze all of the terms of the divorce with consideration for the current and future needs of the children and client. Most people do not fully understand legal jargon, which can result in an unexpected and disappointing outcome.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce in Michigan is one that is disputed and must be settled in court. Spouses may disagree on one or all of the issues regarding property division, children, assets and debts, and more. If one or both spouses have a business such as a professional practice, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, the divorce can become far more complicated. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means property will be divided in a manner that is fair or “just” when spouses cannot come to an agreement. Some of the most common reasons a divorce is contested include:

  • Property division
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Alimony (spousal support)
  • Parenting time (visitation)
  • Division of assets and liabilities

Contested divorces can be nasty and acrimonious. When spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, the process may be drawn out for a year or even longer. A contested divorce is costlier than an uncontested divorce and far more stressful. The majority of contested divorce cases eventually settle, however some go to trial. A trial may add to the length of time it takes to get divorced, as well as the cost.

Consider Visiting with Melissa Pearce & Associates, PLC

Divorce is difficult no matter the situation. Trying to go through the process without legal guidance makes getting divorced even more difficult and stressful. When children are involved or a family business hangs in the balance it can seem overwhelming. Those who are considering a legal separation or divorce are encouraged to seek legal counsel, which can be a huge relief in difficult times. Livingston County divorce attorney Melissa Pearce with Melissa Pearce & Associates, PLC is available at 248-397-9606 for those in need of skilled legal guidance. Consider contacting us to schedule a pre-engagement meeting today.

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