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Michigan Family Law

Michigan Family Law

Michigan Family Law: An Overview

Michigan Family Law is a complex area of the legal system that governs family relationships and domestic matters such as divorce, child custody, spousal support and marital property partition. In the state of Michigan, family law matters are handled by the family division of the circuit court in each county.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of Michigan Family Law, including recent updates and changes to the law. It will also discuss common family law issues and the resources available to individuals who may need legal assistance.

Divorce in Michigan

Divorce is a common issue in Michigan Family Law. A divorce is the legal termination of a marriage and can be either contested or uncontested.

In Michigan, a divorce is considered contested when the couple cannot agree on the terms of the settlement. This could include issues such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and support. A contested divorce can take significantly longer and be more expensive than an uncontested divorce.

An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, is when both parties can agree on the terms of the divorce settlement. This is generally faster and less expensive than a contested divorce.

Grounds for Divorce

Michigan has a no-fault divorce law, which means that neither party has to prove that the other did something wrong to cause the marriage to break down irretrievably. One of the parties must simply allege that there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.

The court will consider all relevant factors, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, their earning capacities, and the contributions that each made to the marriage when determining the appropriate division of assets and spousal support.

Child Custody in Michigan

Child custody is another common issue in Michigan Family Law. Child custody refers to the legal responsibility for a child’s care and upbringing, including decision-making authority for the child’s education, health care, and religion.

When the parents are getting a divorce, they can come up with their own custody agreement outside the court. If they can’t agree, the court will decide to whom the child will be placed. The controlling factor in determining custody and parenting time awards is the best interest of the child. The court considers several factors, such as the relationship between the child and each parent, the child’s preference, the mental and physical health of the parents, and the child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community.

Joint custody is possible under Michigan law, and the court will consider this option if it is in the best interest of the child. Joint custody means that both parents have equal responsibility for the child, even if the physical custody arrangements may be different.

Child Support in Michigan

Child support is an essential part of Michigan’s family law, and it is calculated based on a specific formula created by the legislature. The amount of child support a parent is required to pay depends on the number of children and the income of both parents.

To calculate child support, Michigan uses an income-share model, which means that the amount of child support paid is proportional to the income of each parent. The formula considers the gross income of each parent, which includes salary, wages, bonuses, commissions, and other sources of income, such as rental income or investment profits.

The court will consider various other factors, such as the number of overnights the child spends with each parent, the cost of health care, daycare, and education. Parents who have lower incomes may qualify for a deviation from the formula amount in order to avoid undue hardship.

Spousal Support in Michigan

Spousal support is also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, and it is a payment that one spouse may be required to pay to the other after a divorce. Spousal support is intended to aid the receiving spouse in maintaining financial support, and it is usually ordered when one spouse will have difficulty supporting themselves, particularly if the other spouse has the financial means to pay the support.

Like child support, spousal support is also based on a formula, but there are several factors that the court must consider before awarding spousal support. These include the length of the marriage, the age, physical and emotional health of each spouse, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the contributions each spouse made to the marriage, including both financial and non-financial contributions.

The court will also look at the standard of living established during the marriage and the needs of each spouse when determining the amount and duration of the support payment.

Marital Property Partition in Michigan

Marital property refers to all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, including the marital home, cars, and bank accounts. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally.

The court will consider several factors, such as the duration of the marriage, the earning potential of each spouse, the standard of living during the marriage, and the contributions of each spouse when determining how to divide marital property. If the parties can agree on how to divide the property, they can include the details in a settlement agreement that the court will review and approve.

If the parties cannot agree, the court will order a property division based on what it deems to be fair and reasonable. The court has broad discretion in determining the appropriate division of marital property.

Resources for Michigan Family Law

Individuals who need assistance with Michigan Family Law issues can reach out to various resources. The Michigan Court’s Self-Help Center provides free assistance for individuals who need help with family law issues, such as divorce, child custody, and child support. There are also legal aid organizations and private attorneys who specialize in family law that can provide assistance.


Michigan Family Law is a critical area of the legal system that regulates family relationships, including divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, and marital property division. It is designed to protect the legal rights of individuals and ensure that the best interests of the family are taken into account. By understanding the laws and resources available, individuals can make informed decisions about their families and protect their rights.

Quick Guide to Michigan Family Laws

Where can I find the majority of Michigan Family Laws?

If you are looking for updated statues under the MI State Constitution, you should visit the following website.

You will find helpful information for searching the entire list of MI statutes at the end of this article, and this article will also serve as a guide for Michigan family laws on the website listed above.  If you are searching the updated statutes for divorce, adoption, child custody, or the majority of issues in Michigan family law, you should contact a lawyer immediately.

Specific Michigan Family Laws and Statutes

After clicking on the link provided above, you may begin searching some of the most requested laws under the MI Constitution.  In fact, the state’s legislative website lists “often requested laws,” and Michigan family law represents a large percentage of the most requested.  Some of these often requested Michigan family laws are described below for your convenience:

MCL 710.21-710.70 Adoption Code

This Michigan family law is adopted from the “Probate Code of 1939” are contains almost the entire set of adoption law and procedure.  You can find more information about this law in the recommended articles on this website.

MCL 551.1-551.18 Marriage Law

These Michigan family laws mainly address the validity of certain marriages, solemnization procedures, and more.  Section 551.1 discusses that all same sex ceremonies are invalid in the state, and 551.3-4 describes specific men and women who are prohibited from marry certain people.  For more information, view the following link to the .pdf offered by the MI Legislature.

Chapter 552 Divorce

This section of Michigan family law is also one of the most frequently accessed chapters under the MI Constitution.  This chapter covers the entirety of divorce procedures, including property division, child support under the “Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act,” change of name, and much more.  You can view these Michigan family laws at the following link:

Again, if you are viewing these statutes in order to proceed with the divorce procedure alone, you are highly encouraged to seek the legal advice of a family law attorney.

How to Search Michigan Family Law

Consider the follow search techniques while researching Michigan family laws.  These search techniques will work for this website as well.

1. Stemming- this technique includes adding suffixes onto your search, such as divorces, divorcing, divorced, or more

2. Wildcards- a wildcard allows you to search multiple words using an asterisk, and adopt* will usually bring you to adopted, adoption, adopting, adoptive, adoptable, and more.

3. Missing variables- you can search for a missing variable with a question mark, and wom?n will bring results associated with woman, women, and more

4. Boolean Operators- you should always consider using and, or, and not to limit your searches as well

Of course, searching for a specific term will limit your search and bring you closer to what you’re looking for, but if you’re having trouble finding a term, you can use the methods above.