How to Restart the Divorce Process in Michigan With Kids

By Beverly Bird

You can either pause or stop your divorce action in Michigan if you change your mind about moving forward. If you submit a Notice of Reconciliation to the Friend of the Court -- an administrative branch of the Michigan family court system -- the court will put your proceedings on hold for a period of time. You can either resume your divorce within that time and pick up where you left off or file an Order of Dismissal instead, terminating the proceedings. If you do the latter, how you may restart your divorce depends on how long you wait to do so.

Within One Year

Step 1

Access a Petition to Reinstate Divorce Action from your county court's website. If your county doesn't offer one or doesn't have a website, you can request a petition from the Friend of the Court.

Step 2

Complete the petition. Tell the court whether you're the petitioner or the respondent. You're the petitioner if you started the initial divorce process by filing a complaint for divorce. Tell the court which parent your kids have been living with since you stopped your divorce action and attest under oath, by signing the petition form, that it's been less than one year since you did so.

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Step 3

Prepare an order reinstating your divorce action. This is a form usually available from your county court, or from the Friend of the Court. Attach it to your petition.

Step 4

File both documents with the court in the county where you first began your divorce proceedings. When a judge signs the order, your original divorce proceedings will resume, continuing from the point immediately prior to your asking the court to dismiss the action.

Step 5

Notify your spouse that you've petitioned the court to restart your divorce. Michigan allows you to do this by sending him a copy of the petition by certified mail.

After One Year

Step 1

Gather the documents you'll need to restart your divorce process. If more than one year has elapsed since you asked the court to dismiss your proceedings, you'll have to start all over again. At a minimum, you'll need a new complaint for divorce, a summons, and a statement to the Friend of the Court giving a summary of the facts of your case. You'll also need an Affidavit of Previous Suit because you filed for divorce once before. If you have trouble finding these forms, contact the court clerk for assistance.

Step 2

Complete a second affidavit telling the court about your kids, just as you did the first time you filed for divorce. This affidavit tells the court where your children have been living for the last five years and establishes that Michigan has jurisdiction over issues of custody. It also attests that the court dismissed your previous divorce and it is no longer an active case.

Step 3

File your documents with the court and serve your spouse with copies. You can do this by certified mail if your spouse signs the receipt. Michigan also allows you to hire a private process server to deliver the paperwork. If you and your spouse are in agreement to restart the divorce, you can give him a copy of the documents yourself and he can sign the back of the summons, acknowledging service.

Step 4

File proof of service with the court: either the mail receipt, signed summons or notice from the process server indicating he has completed service.

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How to Serve Divorce Papers Under Massachusetts State Law

References

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