Family Law

In Michigan, there are three ways to conclude a marriage: annulment, separate maintenance, and divorce.


An annulment is a request to the court to strike down the marriage and treat it as if it never existed. Such an action is rare and usually involves a brief marriage that for all purposes never truly existed.

Separate Maintenance

Separate Maintenance is a law suit asking the court to keep the parties married, but to essentially divide up the marital property. When children are involved custody and support for the children are also established. Usually a Complaint for Separate Maintenance is filed for religious reasons or because a married couple has been married a very long time and one spouse desires to remain under the other's insurance.


The most common form to conclude a marriage is Divorce.  Divorce is a lawsuit filed by one spouse indicating that the marital relationship has ended and that reconciliation is not going to occur. Because Michigan is a No-Fault state, all that is required is for one party to testify 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. The term "No-Fault" signifies that no one has to be at fault for harming or destroying the marriage for it to be dissolved, someone simply has to want out.


A party may file a divorce action in Michigan as long as the party filing has resided in the state for 180 days. Additionally, the plaintiff must reside in the County where the divorce is filed for at least ten days.

If the divorce involves minor children (children born between the parties and under the age of eighteen or not having graduated from high school but no older than nineteen and six months) then the action cannot be finalized for a minimum of six months (aka the six month waiting period).

The Process

When minor children are involved in a divorce there is a six-month waiting period before the action can be finalized.

If the divorce does not involve minor children then the action cannot be finalized for a minimum of sixty days. This time period cannot be waived under any circumstances.

The first step is for one of the parties to file the complaint in the court which has proper jurisdiction.

Some of the most commons urgent issues are as follows: temporary custody, support, parenting time, where and with whom the parties and/or minor children will reside, who will keep and maintain what property while the divorce is pending (also known as status quo), injunctions as to property, injunctions as to harming or harassing and many others.

If minor children are involved, the parties are required to go to the Friend of the Court (FOC) for an investigation and recommendation. The Friend of the Court handles all matters involving the minor children including custody, support and parenting time. The FOC may also handle other matters such as spousal support.

If the parties are not able to negotiate a settlement, the Court will schedule a Trial. A divorce trial is like most other trials. The parties and their attorneys must appear and present testimony and evidence in support of their respective positions. It can take a few hours or days, depending on the circumstances. At the conclusion of the Trial, the Family Court Judge will render an Opinion on the disputed issues (sometimes verbally from the bench and, sometimes, in writing).

Practice Areas

Contact Us

608 South Michigan Avenue
Saginaw, MI 48602

Ph: 989 799 4701
Fax: 989 799 8563