No Fault Divorce Law in Michigan Eliminates Misconduct Requirement for Divorce
Sherri had struggled for nearly three years to keep her marriage with Dave intact, but it was time to throw in the towel. The couple had gone through phases of bitter arguments, attempted reconciliations and counseling, but the marriage was now punctuated by stretches of cold silence.
Neither Sherri nor Dave would say their spouse was a bad person -- they just were incompatible when it came to major decisions that affected them as a couple. They got married in a rush, riding the excitement of courtship. But it became obvious to family and friends, and finally to themselves, that the marriage was a mistake made by two very different people.
Seeking counsel from her family law attorney, Sherri was relieved to learn that the old requirements of divorce in Michigan that her parents had suffered through were eliminated by the No-Fault Divorce law enacted in 1972. Prior to the current No-Fault Divorce law, a reason for the divorce had to be given: adultery, abuse, abandonment, or another form of misconduct.
When her parents divorced in 1970, the old law forced them to make accusations and air dirty laundry that they would have preferred to keep private.
Under the new law, No-Fault means that the party filing the Complaint for Divorce does not have to state a reason other than the following statutory statement: “There has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship such that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.”
Sherri’s attorney advised her that the case probably wouldn’t be tied up in court for an extended since the couple didn’t have children and both were working full-time jobs. There would be no custody issues and the question of spousal support seemed straightforward.
There is a 60-day waiting period after the Complaint for Divorce is filed before a final Judgment of Divorce can be entered, the attorney said. The judgment would allow her to restore her maiden name with the Social Security Administration and the Michigan Secretary of State.
In general, the attorney would file a Complaint for Divorce with the court, and Dave would be served with a summons, either in person or by mail. Sherri thought it probably wouldn’t come as a shock to Dave, and he would likely cooperate to dissolve the marriage so they both could get on with their lives. After careful consideration, Sherri instructed her attorney to start preparing the Complaint for Divorce.