Sunday, July 18, 2010

Divorce in Michigan: Does it matter who files first?

By: Kathryn M. Cushman

When filing for divorce in Michigan, it only takes one party to file a Complaint for Divorce alleging that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. We have "no-fault" divorce in Michigan, meaning that fault does not have to established for the divorce to be granted, but rather that one party simply wants to end the marriage.

Does it matter who files first? Generally, no. However, if there are issues in the case which would necessitate an ex-parte order (an order granted to one party without notice to the other party), there is a distinct advantage to filing first as one will not otherwise be able to get these orders without a hearing. Ex-parte orders may include financial restraining orders (which are particularly important in cases where a party may be hiding assets or there is a disparity of income between the parties), temporary support and custody orders, just to name a few. If there is no need for any ex-parte orders in a case, then there may be a psychological advantage to filing first, but likely no legal advantage.

For specific answers regarding your case, contact us at Hickey, Cianciolo, Fishman & Finn, PC.

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