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Family Law & Divorce Law FAQ


Divorce is difficult, but the right attorney can make it easier on you. At Amaze Legal Services, we're here to support you throughout the family law proceedings and divorce proceedings. Let us file documentation, offer advice, accompany you in court, or whatever else you may need.

As with any legal matter, you're bound to have many questions on your mind — and we have the answers. Here’s what to know before divorce, what happens after you file for divorce, and more.

Worried about divorce cost? Save time and money with a free consultation from Amaze Legal Services. To speak with an experienced family and divorce lawyer in Novi, Michigan and receive a free consultation, contact us now or call (248) 443-0786.


What is a family Lawyer?

Family lawyers deal with legal issues involving family relationships. This includes marriage, divorce, prenuptial agreements, alimony and child support, paternity determination, adoption, child custody, emancipation of minors, and more.

What is the first step to getting divorce?

Michigan is a "no-fault" divorce state. This means you don't have to prove any wrongdoing in order to justify a divorce, and your spouse doesn't have to agree to the divorce either.

A divorce officially begins when the Plaintiff files a summons or complaint with the court. Michigan does not have any requirements as to how long a couple must be separated or living apart before they can divorce.

What us a contested divorce?
A contented divorcehappens when the two parties cannot agree on specific terms of the divorce. They may clash over assets, spousal support, child custody, or other topics. A contested divorce takes longer and is usually more expensive and stressful for everyone involved. For these reasons, filing for divorce in Michigan without a lawyer can be complicated. You may be referred to a mediator, arbitrator, or other neutral third party for legal counsel during this time.
What are considered assets in a divorce? What is marital property?
Marital property refers to any property or debt acquired during the marriage. Marital property may be divided between two divorcing spouses. Homes and vehicles you purchased together, as well as retirement accounts, are all considered marital property. It does not matter whose name is on the title or deed; everything is marital property unless it was a gift or inheritance. Any property you acquired prior to the marriage relationship is called "separate property."
What is a spouse entitled to in a divorce?
In the state of Michigan, property division proceedings follow the rule of equitable distribution. This means the court aims for fair — but not necessarily equal — allocation of the property. When getting a divorce, who gets what is determined by factors such as the length of the marriage, the value of the property, age and health of spouses, what each spouse contributed, prenups, what each spouse earns, and their future earning capacity.
What is the “10 year rule” on divorce
According to the "10 year rule," you can only access a share of your ex-spouse's social security retirement benefits if you were married for ten or more years. If the divorce happens before the 10-year mark, you will not be eligible to receive any of their benefits. Who gets benefits? The lower wage-earner is eligible to collect social security benefits from the spouse with higher earnings. However, they are only eligible for a maximum of half (50%) of the higher earner’s benefits. If that amount is less than the amount available via the lower earner’s own social security benefits, the lower earner gets their own benefits and is not eligible to receive anything from their ex’s social security benefits. In addition, the spouse seeking to collect benefits must be at least 62 years of age, must be divorced from their ex-spouse for at least two years, and cannot remarry before age 60. If the lower earner is eligible for 50%, that doesn’t mean the higher earner will only receive 50%. They will still get their 100%, so the total benefits payout will be 150%. The higher earner remarrying does not impact these amounts, either.
Who can receive child support?
An individual is eligible to receive child support if they are the parent or guardian of a minor child or minor children who live with them and depend on them financially, and one or both of the parents do not live with them. Child support may be arranged out of court by the parents, or it can be decided in Michigan family court via a child support order.
How is child support calculated?
In the state of Michigan, the amount of child support owed is determined by Supreme Court guidelines. These child support guidelines are based on the monthly net income of both parents as well as how much time the child spends with each parent. Michigan uses the income share method to calculate child support. With this model, the non-custodial parent pays a percentage based on their share of both parents' combined income.
What is admissible evidence in family court?
Admissible evidence in Michigan family court cases is anything that can help you prove your points. This includes witness testimony, documents, photos, videos, and other physical or digital evidence. The evidence must be tangible, relevant, and reliable.
How to file for divorce in Michigan without a lawyer?
The following are requirements for getting divorced in Michigan:
  • Either you or your spouse must have lived in Michigan for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
  • You must file for divorce in the county where either you or your spouse has lived for the last ten or more days. In certain cases (for example, if one of you has never lived in Michigan) the court may have limited jurisdiction.
  • If you do not have children together, there is a 60-day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. This waiting period begins when you file for divorce, even if you were separated long before that.
  • An annulment may also be possible under certain circumstances.
  • A divorce begins when the Plaintiff files a summons or complaint with the court. After the forms are filed, copies must be served to your spouse. The person who serves this paperwork to the Defendant must fill out a Proof of Service form. The Defendant may then file an Answer, stating which parts of the complaint they agree and disagree with. If they do not file an Answer within the time limit (21 days if they were served in person, or 28 days if they were served by mail or outside of MI) then they have defaulted. You must then file a Default Request and Entry and provide the defendant with a copy. While there are “DIY” divorce options and help available from document preparation firms, it's always best to get help from a divorce lawyer. In addition to preparing agreements, getting ready for court, and attending mediation, we’re happy to offer professional legal advice and answer any question you may have.

    How much is a family lawyer?
    The exact cost of a family lawyer will vary depending on many factors, including how long it takes your case to be resolved. We handle your case for a fixed fee based on the estimated time and complexity of your unique case. In the event your case requires additional time and services beyond the initial rate, you will be advised of this before taking any additional steps. At Amaze Legal Services, we offer both limited scope representation and traditional legal representation so you can get as much or as little help as you need. In addition, we offer free consultations to new clients, wherein we aim to answer any questions they may have and start them on the right path.

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    Prepare for Divorce Proceedings with Confidence from Amaze Legal Services

    We understand the rollercoaster of emotions you go through as you prepare for your legal separation, and confusing divorce laws don't make the process any easier. We’re here to partner with you for the best possible outcome to your divorce. We can assist with all aspects of family law matters and post-divorce issues such as pension/domestic relations orders, mediation, child support, child custody, and the modification or enforcement of court orders.

    In over 30 years of practice, we’ve listened, fought, advocated, and won for our clients. Today we’ll put our decades of experience to work for you and your case.

    If divorce is imminent or you’re coping with another family law matter such as custody, visitation, or adoption, reach out now and connect with experienced divorce attorneys in Michigan for free consultations. Contact us online or call (248) 443-0786.