At Melissa Pearce & Associates, we treat each divorce case with the care and attention it deserves. Each family is unique, and while divorce can be difficult and emotionally draining, we believe it does not need to be a traumatic experience, either for the spouses or children. For a pre-engagement evaluation with our experienced Oakland County divorce attorney, contact Melissa Pearce & Associates.
In Michigan, the only way to get a divorce is to establish a breakdown in the marriage that is unlikely to be preserved. Michigan Statutes Section 552.6. Although Michigan does not have fault grounds, like some other states, note that bad behavior by one of the spouses can still impact the judge’s decisions about how to divide assets, order spousal support, and possibly even assign parenting time.
The process to obtain a divorce in Oakland County is essentially the same as the rest of Michigan. There is a residency requirement, which provides that either or both spouses must have lived in Michigan for six months prior to filing for divorce in Michigan. Similarly, if you want to file for divorce in Oakland County, at least one of the parties generally must have been a resident of Oakland County for the last ten days before filing.
To initiate a divorce proceeding, one spouse must file a complaint, summons, and other documentation with the court. The initiating party also has to serve these documents on the other party, which involves a sheriff or a process server delivering the divorce papers to the other spouse. The fee to file a divorce in Oakland County is $175 without minor children, or $255 with minor children. Consider speaking with an experienced Oakland County divorce attorney to ensure all of the documents are properly filed and served, and all applicable fees paid.
Oakland County, like the rest of Michigan, enforces a waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. Couples must wait two months if they have no minor children, or six months if they do have minor children.
After being served, the other spouse must respond to the complaint or leave it uncontested. The parties then proceed into discovery, where both spouses must make disclosures as to their financial assets and debts.
The parties must also agree to a settlement that addresses issues like division of assets, parenting time schedules, and spousal support. There should be a temporary agreement to set forth the terms while the divorce is pending, but the parties must also negotiate a more permanent divorce settlement. If the parties cannot agree to a settlement, the court will be left to make critical decisions.
The legal process of a divorce is cumbersome enough, but there are many more elements involved in finalizing a divorce. At Melissa Pearce & Associates, we represent our clients from beginning to end, ensuring that all of the facets of their divorce are taken care of.
Giving up your hard-earned property or family home is one of the hardest parts of facing a divorce. Melissa Pearce & Associates negotiates on our clients’ behalf to keep what is rightfully theirs. Many of our clients have a significant amount of property to divide: family homes, businesses, cars, savings, and countless items of shared personal property. Work with an experienced Oakland County lawyer to help inventory your assets and negotiate for a fair and equitable split.
Spousal support is intended to allow both ex-spouses to maintain the quality of life they were accustomed to during the marriage, but sometimes it unfairly burdens one spouse over the other. The reality in many marriages is that one spouse is the primary earner, while the other spouse earns less or not at all. While the courts do not want to place the lower-earning spouse at a financial disadvantage when their marriage is dissolved, it may be difficult or disheartening to have to contribute a significant portion of income to an ex-spouse.
One of our top priorities is making the process as seamless as possible for any minor children who are caught in between a divorce. We work with our clients and their ex-spouse to set up a parenting time plan that works for everyone, especially the child or children. It is important to keep a sense of routine and stability for children as they experience the divorce of their parents, not only during the divorce, but long after the divorce is finalized.
People’s lives and circumstances change. Court orders are intended to bind the parties to an agreement, but that does not mean they are set in stone. There are procedures for adding, modifying, and removing court orders related to a divorce. Common situations where a spousal support or child custody order needs to be modified include:
In uncommon and particularly painful cases, where there are instances of abuse or neglect, child custody may need to be terminated altogether. We take each unique case and work to find a solution that meets our clients’ needs.
We believe divorce is an opportunity to redefine your family. When you are facing a divorce, it is helpful to have an experienced attorney by your side to provide sound legal advice, look out for your interests, and maintain a calm demeanor during a time when it is easy to become tense and heated. Contact Melissa Pearce & Associates or call us at (248) 397-9606 to schedule your pre-engagement meeting.