Do-It-Yourself Divorce Documents for Michigan

By Brette Sember, J.D.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce Documents for Michigan

By Brette Sember, J.D.

It's possible to your own divorce paperwork in Michigan without using an attorney. Filing your own divorce is very feasible if you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on such issues as division of marital property, child custody, and child support. If you do not agree, you can still file documents yourself, but you will also have to represent yourself in court. It's possible to create your own divorce documents, but it's usually a good idea to use the forms provided by the state or from a reputable online document service.

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Determine if you qualify for a divorce in Michigan.

Before you can file any documents, you need to determine if you are eligible to file for divorce in Michigan. The state has several requirements that must be met, such as residency.

In order to file for divorce in Michigan, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for a minimum of 180 days before you file for divorce. You also need to have lived in the county you are filing in for at least 10 days before filing. There is an exception for foreign citizens whose minor children are at risk of being taken out of the country if they are unable to file right away.

Understand your grounds for a divorce.

In addition to meeting the residency requirement, you also must have legal grounds for divorce. Michigan has no-fault divorce, so you meet the requirement if you can state that there has been "a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved."

Note that most of the forms mentioned below must be obtained from Michigan Legal Help via the Law Help Interactive site, where you must create an account then walk through the process of filling out the forms on the site. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Create a complaint or petition with the court asking for a divorce. You must state that you meet the grounds requirement, although at this point you do not need to give details beyond this statement. List basic information such as both of your names, current residences, names of children of the marriage, and the date and place of the marriage. Then list the relief you are asking the court for, such as division of marital property or custody of your children. Getting help from an attorney may be beneficial if you are unsure how to fill out the online form. Get help from an attorney if you are unsure how to fill out the online form.
  2. If you have minor children, you need to fill out a form called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) Affidavit.
  3. Complete the following forms, then sign them and have them notarized:
  4. File all of the above forms with the court and make three copies: one copy for the court, one copy for you, and one copy for your spouse. You must pay a fee to file the documents, although you can file a separate form asking for a fee waiver if you cannot afford it.
  5. The court will either provide you with a summons or direct you to create one. The summons tells your spouse when and where to file a reply to your complaint.
  6. Serve your spouse with one copy of all of the documents you have filed, as well as a copy of the Friend of the Court Handbook. You have 91 days to serve your spouse. Service can be by a process server or via certified or registered mail with receipt.
  7. File a copy of the receipt for service with the court.
  8. You may be required to schedule a conciliation meeting with the court, a Friend of the Court meeting, or a Start Making It Livable for Everyone (SMILE) program mediation. If you are directed to do so, schedule it and attend. You may be required to file a financial affidavit and serve it on your spouse.
  9. If a pretrial hearing is scheduled, you will be notified and will have to attend. If your case settles, you must complete and file a Judgment of Divorce, which will be signed by the court, as well as a Uniform Child Support Order, a Domestic Relations Judgement Information, and a Record of Divorce or Annulment.
  10. If your case does not settle, then you must file a Notice of Hearing and Motion to schedule a trial and serve your spouse. File proof of service with the court.
  11. At trial, you and your spouse can present evidence and witnesses to the judge. You prepare the judgment, which is then signed by the judge. You must also prepare and file the Uniform Child Support Order, a Domestic Relations Judgement Information, and a Record of Divorce or Annulment. Serve your spouse with copies of everything and file the proof of service.
  12. Your divorce will then be final.

There are many steps to getting a divorce in Michigan, but once you work through the paperwork and file documents on time, you can have a hearing and have your divorce finalized.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.