Michigan Marriage and Divorce

Marriage

Where can I find Michigan laws about marriage?

You can locate Michigan laws relating to marriage in the Law Library located at Kalamazoo Public Library, using the Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated (MCLA 551.2).

How old do I have to be to legally marry?

You can legally marry in Michigan without parental/legal guardian consent at 18 years of age.

Do I need to take a blood test before I get married?

No. A blood test is not required. A marriage license is required (MCL 551.101).

Do I have to be a resident to get married in Michigan?

No. In Kalamazoo County, the cost of a marriage license for Michigan residents is $20 per couple, $30 for non-residents. ID is required when applying for the license.

How long does the marriage license last?

The marriage must be solemnized within 33 days of application.

Divorce

Where can I find forms for an uncontested divorce?

The Law Library has divorce form packets with the commonly required forms included, such as the Summons and Complaint, Proof of Service, Complaint for Divorce, and Judgment of Divorce. Divorce forms are filed at the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court’s Gull Road Courthouse, 1400 Gull Rd. in Kalamazoo.

Must there be grounds for a divorce?

No. Since 1972, Michigan has been a no-fault state, meaning that spouses do not have to provide specific proof or examples detailing the breakdown of their marriage.

How long does the divorce process take?

An uncontested divorce without children will take a minimum of 60 days to complete. The minimum time for a divorce with children is 180 days. Under special circumstances, you can petition the court to shorten those time periods.

What if my spouse wants to contest the divorce?

A contested divorce may require the services of an attorney. For a list of Family Law attorneys in Michigan and Kalamazoo, see the online attorney directories at the Kalamazoo County Bar Association and State Bar of Michigan’s websites. If you and your spouse do not agree on child custody, parenting time, support, or property division, Family Court-approved mediators are available to help resolve matters.

How long do I have to live in Michigan before I can file for divorce?

180 days (MCL 552.9). Also, you must live in the county that you file in for 10 days.

What if I cannot locate my spouse’s whereabouts?

After filing for divorce in circuit court, if a person cannot serve divorce papers on his/her spouse, they can file a motion and verification for alternate service (form MC303) with the court. If the judge agrees to alternate service, a plaintiff may post the notice in a newspaper or a public area.

What is legal separation?

Michigan does not recognize legal separation. Instead, the court action is called Separate Maintenance and is generally filed with the same forms used for divorce proceedings.

What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?

Divorce ends a valid marriage and annulment voids a marriage considered invalid because of defects surrounding its legality. There are two kinds of annulment, Legal and Religious. A religious annulment is the voiding of a marriage from the perspective of a religious organization and has no legal foundation or effect on a person’s rights. A legal annulment is a legal declaration that no marriage ever existed because of factors or circumstances considered to have invalidated the marriage. Marriages where bigamy, incest, underage persons, or mental incompetency are involved may be legally annulled by courts of law.

Courtesy of Lucy Conklin, esq., March 2007