Each divorce is unique, and there are loads of factors that can affect how it turns out. Things like whether or not you have kids, if you got a prenup before tying the knot, the skill and expertise of your divorce lawyer, and how angry you are at each other when you file for divorce. These are all issues that’ll play a role in your personal divorce process. However, while many people recognize those things as having an impact, what many people forget is Michigan’s residency requirement.
Can Michigan’s residency requirements affect people in Oakland County?
If you’ve never heard of Michigan’s residency requirement for divorce, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Confused about what it is? It’s a state law that says you need to have lived here in Michigan for a certain amount of time before you can file for divorce. So if you’re a resident of Novi, Troy, Birmingham, Royal Oak or Auburn Hills, but you only just moved here from out of state, you’ll probably have to wait a while before you can file for divorce.
Specifically, Michigan’s residency requirement for divorce says:
- You must have been residents of Michigan for at least 180 before the date you file, and
- You must have been residents of Oakland County for at least 10 days before the filing here in our county (or any other county in Michigan).
So if you’ve lived in the Madison Heights, Ferndale or Rochester area your entire life, this won’t make any difference to you. But if you recently moved to the area, it could put a damper on your plans.
Are there any exceptions to Michigan’s residency requirement?
Although this rule applies in almost every situation, there are a couple of circumstances where the state makes exceptions. Those are:
- If either you or your spouse aren’t US citizens, or
- If you have children, and there’s a chance that your spouse may take them out of the country against your will.
These are very specific exceptions, and they’ve been put in place to protect children who could be abducted by a parent and taken across national borders, which would make it much harder to locate and return them. So if your spouse has family, or even citizenship in another country, and you’re afraid they’ll take your children and leave the US in order to get sole custody, the court may grant you permission to file for divorce sooner. However, you’ll need to provide evidence to back up your claims in court. These cases are very rare and sometimes our attorneys have to file cases other than an actual divorce case to stop a parent from absconding with a minor child to another state or worse yet, another country.
Why does Michigan force people to live here for a while before filing?
Many people think this law doesn’t make sense, until we explain “subject matter jurisdiction” to them. This means in order for a court to have authority over a particular matter, that matter has to be within its jurisdiction. In other words, if you don’t live here, the court here doesn’t have the authority to grant you a divorce. So before you ask a Judge for a divorce, you have to prove that you live in Michigan, and fall under the jurisdiction of the Michigan court. Keep in mind however, that sometimes our attorneys get creative to find other solutions to family law problems.
Are you ready to file for divorce in Oakland County, Macomb County or Livingston County?
If you’ve been considering a divorce, and you’re a resident of Southeast Michigan, Oak Park, Wixom or Bloomfield Hills, contact highly rated family law attorneys. Regardless of how long you’ve lived here, we can help you with every part of this process, including child custody, alimony, and asset division. We’re available 24/7, because we understand that emergencies rarely happen during traditional work hours.
Just call (248) 479-6200 to get started with an initial consultation.