Contested Divorces in Michigan
You’ve likely heard the term “nasty divorce.” Nasty divorces usually involve disagreements between spouses on key issues such as child custody, property division, alimony, etc. In legal terms, when spouses cannot agree on one or more of these issues, the divorce becomes what’s known as a “contested divorce.” In other words, the dispute must be settled in court.
In contested divorces, both the plaintiff and defendant must retain legal counsel and present their case in front of a judge. In these cases, having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
At Kelly & Kelly P.C, we have over 30 years’ of experience representing clients in contested divorce cases. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to effectively represent your interests in the Michigan’s family court system.
Common Reasons For Contested Divorces
A contested divorce typically results from disagreements on sensitive topics such as children, property, or finances. Obviously, these matters are highly personal and can lead to heated arguments and even irrational behavior. In some cases, the divorce may even involve a narcissistic or malicious spouse and become a high conflict divorce.
Here are some of the most common sources of disagreement among spouses.
Michigan Divorce Process
In Michigan, when someone files for a divorce, the other spouse is served with a Summons and Complaint along with any other documents necessary for the divorce proceeding.
Once the divorce papers are served, the plaintiff is required to respond to the summons within 21 days from the date of service if you were served personally (handed the papers) or 28 days from the date of service if you were served by mail or while you were outside of Michigan. If these deadlines are not met, a default judgement will be ruled against the plaintiff.
It’s the plaintiff’s responsibility to read the papers carefully and decide how they want to respond. The plaintiff may agree with the terms or disagree in which the divorce may become contested. You can learn more about Michigan’s divorce process here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a contested divorce?
This is a situation where a divorce is contested where either one or both spouses dispute or disagree on an aspect of their divorce. This usually involves extensive legal fees and court time, as well as a considerably increased level of stress. Contested divorces are often known as a “nasty” divorce due to these factors.
Q. How long does a contested divorce take?
Contested divorces usually take a considerable amount of time, sometimes a year or longer. The length of time is dependent on what is being disputed, such as assets, child support or child custody. While most contested divorce cases settle, a handful actually go to trial which can extend the timeframe longer.
Q. What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce
As the name may imply, the main difference between these two types of divorces is whether they are contested or they are able amicable to both parties. Contested divorces take a considerable amount of time and money to complete, whereas an uncontested divorce is a relatively quick process because it does not require a trial, discovery or other types of legal processes associated with a contested divorce.
Contested Divorce Lawyers
When filing for divorce or being served with divorce papers, it’s important to consult with an attorney who specializes in divorces within your state. Having quality legal counsel is important to ensure your rights are protected in family court. This includes receiving a fair portion of the division of assets/property under Michigan law, as well as ensuring fair judgement for issues related to child custody and parenting time.
Working with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney becomes even more critical when there are disagreements among spouses and the divorce is contested. In these cases, emotions run high and rational thought becomes more difficult. A lawyer who specializes in divorces understands the law objectively and will advocate for, and defend your rights.
If you’re going through a contested divorce in Michigan, our experienced team of family law attorneys are well equipped to represent you in court.