Divorce & Legal Separation Attorneys Serving Kent County and West Michigan

Nobody gets married planning to get divorced or separated, but many people find themselves facing that reality. If that reality is what you're facing, Plachta, Murphy & Associates can help you through this difficult time. Few events in life are as stressful as a divorce. Even when all parties get along, the process can be complicated and uncertain. Our Family Law team will advocate for you and negotiate on your behalf to produce the best possible solution for you and your family.

Our mission is to help families meet challenges, resolve problems, and protect the legal rights of our clients and their children. We will work to protect your rights and interests – always from a position of strength and integrity – and always with a commitment to efficient communication and strict confidentiality.

If You Are Considering Divorce or Your Spouse Has Filed

There are many things to consider when contemplating a divorce from your spouse: length of marriage, custody of children, child support, spousal support, and division of property. It's best to consult with an experienced, compassionate family law attorney before letting your spouse know of your intentions. Everything you do from that point on may affect the outcome of your divorce proceedings.

If your spouse has filed for divorce and served you with divorce papers, you normally have 21 days to answer if you are served divorce papers personally and 28 days if paperwork is received by mail. The first thing you should do is consult with our trusted Family Law team. People who try to “go it alone” and represent themselves in court can be blindsided by the intricacies of divorce proceedings with long term impact on their legal rights and obligations. Your attorney can explain the law as it applies to your case, explore options with you, and help you decide on a course of action.

Understanding No-Fault Divorce in Michigan

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you do not have to prove adultery, cruelty, or any other “grounds” for divorce. You only have to declare that your marriage has irreconcilable differences. A Michigan divorce can be filed by either spouse. Even in no-fault divorce proceedings your spouse can contest child custody, child and spousal support, and property division. Although Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, a judge will consider fault as a factor in division of marital assets, child custody and parenting time, and spousal support. Therefore, it is important to document the facts well and work with an attorney who knows how to effectively present them to the court.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

There are many issues to be resolved in a divorce. A contested divorce simply means you and your spouse have not reached agreement on all of them. You may, like the majority of couples, reach settlement during the divorce process; if not, you will face going to trial on the remaining contested issues.

If you and your spouse enter the divorce having agreed on property division, child custody and parenting time, and any support issues, your divorce will be uncontested. An uncontested divorce is almost always quicker, less stressful, and less expensive than a contested divorce. However, the final judgment of divorce must be carefully drafted and entered with the court to protect your interests.

Legal Separation in Michigan

For various reasons, including religious or financial ones, couples may wish to pursue a legal separation instead of a divorce. In Michigan, the process of getting a separation is exactly like that of getting a divorce, except that the marriage is not ended and you and your spouse cannot marry other people. If one of you decides you would rather divorce, the separation case can easily be changed to a divorce.

We invite you to download our Divorce Questionnaire and contact Plachta, Murphy & Associates to schedule an initial consultation with a member of our Family Law Solutions team. We look forward to answering your questions about divorce in Michigan and helping you plan for your future.

Family Law Solutions Team: Miles J. Murphy III, Bryan D. Reeder, Vicki A. Poleni, MSW

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