What to Expect at a Pretrial for Divorce in Michigan

By Victoria McGrath

A judge uses a pretrial conference to review the status of your divorce case and plan out the next steps for your divorce. Status conferences keep your divorce proceedings on track and help simplify the legal issues that must be resolved at trial, such as property division, child custody, child support and spousal support. A complicated divorce with many unresolved issues often requires more than one pretrial hearing.

A judge uses a pretrial conference to review the status of your divorce case and plan out the next steps for your divorce. Status conferences keep your divorce proceedings on track and help simplify the legal issues that must be resolved at trial, such as property division, child custody, child support and spousal support. A complicated divorce with many unresolved issues often requires more than one pretrial hearing.

Preliminary and Future Pretrial Hearings

The State of Michigan establishes a specific protocol for pretrial hearings and status conferences. A simple, uncontested divorce may have only one pretrial conference to present the marital settlement agreement to the judge for review and approval. After the judge approves the agreement, it can be merged into the court order to terminate the marriage. A highly contested divorce may include many pretrial motions that require additional pretrial hearings. After your preliminary pretrial conference to establish a case schedule, future pretrial hearings may resolve one or more legal issues.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Early Pretrial Conference

The court may require you and your spouse to be present at the early scheduling conference, even if you are represented by an attorney. At this hearing, the court addresses procedural issues and the possibility of reaching a settlement agreement. At an early pretrial hearing, the court may hear motions regarding the court’s jurisdiction over the case or a request for a change of location due to improper venue. If the judge finds that the court has authority to rule on the case and it was filed in the proper location, the case proceeds. The judge assesses the complexity of the case and sets a timeline for the divorce proceedings to follow.

Pretrial Schedule Order

At the pretrial conference, the judge again assesses the case and reviews the timeline for the divorce proceedings. The court establishes a schedule to complete court-ordered mediation, amend pleadings, file motions, conclude discovery and exchange witness lists. The judge may also estimate the length of the case and schedule pretrial and trial dates based on available court dates. The parties may raise concerns over the scheduling dates and request additional time in the process. For example, a party may need more time due to the extent of discovery, problems locating a missing spouse or difficulty scheduling an expert witness.

Pretrial Negotiations

At a pretrial hearing, the court encourages both parties to obtain voluntary admissions of fact, limit the number of expert witnesses and reach settlement agreements. When parties agree to negotiate a settlement, the judge may order mediation or alternative dispute resolution. The judge can set a deadline for the spouses to attend the court-ordered mediation and schedule a future pretrial hearing to review any settlement agreement. If the parties reach a settlement before or during the pretrial hearing, the judge may issue a court order based on those agreements. If the parties fail to agree on material issues, the judge hears those unresolved matters at the trial.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Represent Yourself At a Divorce Trial In the State of Florida

References

Related articles

The Time Between the Preliminary Hearing & the Final Hearing for Divorce in South Carolina

The divorce process in South Carolina can range anywhere from six to 18 months, from start to finish. No two cases are alike; therefore, the time frame of your case will depend on your particular set of circumstances. If your case is uncontested and you and your spouse have signed an agreement, your divorce will move through the divorce process much faster than a contested case.

What Is a Preliminary Divorce Hearing?

A preliminary divorce hearing is your first appearance before a judge after filing for divorce. Unless you and your spouse agree on everything, the judge does not typically make rulings at this hearing. Instead, it is used for basic scheduling and to explain the procedures of the family court in your area. State laws vary substantially and some states use preliminary hearings to encourage or order mediation. Others conduct preliminary hearings in front of a judicial officer or mediator rather than a judge. Because family law is complicated and you will need someone to represent your interests if you and your spouse disagree on custody, child support and division of property, consider hiring a divorce attorney before going to your preliminary hearing.

Step-by-Step Divorce Process in Oregon

Oregon offers a summary divorce, but the summary process is limited to couples with certain qualifications, so most Oregon couples use the standard divorce process. Oregon divorce begins when one spouse files for divorce in the appropriate court and proceeds through an information gathering phase to a final trial or hearing. Then, the court grants a divorce decree, concluding the process.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

The Procedures During a Divorce in Colorado

If you're divorcing in Colorado, the process is going to take at least three months because the state will not grant a ...

How Long Does it Take for a Divorce in Kansas

Divorce cases can vary from quick and smooth when spouses agree to long and difficult when they don’t. A Kansas ...

What Is a Stipulated Divorce Hearing?

In a stipulated divorce hearing, a judge reviews a divorce settlement and decides whether to approve it. Some states ...

Contested Divorce Procedures

The exact procedures of divorce vary between states, but divorce can be a fairly simple process if you have an ...

Browse by category