It was hard to miss one of the most dramatic entertainment-related stories of the summer: Katie Holmes files for divorce from Tom Cruise. The subtitle? Even though the couple’s main residence was in California, she filed for divorce in the state of New York, establishing residency there for the sole purpose of divorcing in a territory where she felt most comfortable and where she felt the courts would be on her side.
While it’s possible to speculate about the ins and outs of this famous divorce, the takeaway for anyone divorcing in Michigan is this: Jurisdiction matters.
What Does “Jurisdiction” Mean in Michigan Divorce?
In a Michigan divorce, the term “jurisdiction” refers to the court that will be hearing your divorce case. All divorce cases in Michigan are held in the circuit court of the county in which the person who has filed for divorce presently resides.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Perhaps. But it’s important to know that there are two very crucial details that can affect how costly and inconvenient a divorce can be if jurisdiction gets in the way.
The Two Numbers You Need to Know in a Michigan Divorce
It’s necessary for a person to live in the state of Michigan for at least 180 days before they can file for divorce. You must be established as a resident. This law was put into place to ban people from moving to Michigan from another state and filing after living here for only a few days.
The 10-day rule for county residency is also important – 10 days is how long you have to live in a Michigan county before you are permitted to file for divorce. This number may not seem significant, but it can actually be very impactful on a divorce case.
Consider this scenario: A couple lives in Macomb County. One person decides to go to Traverse City for a few days “to visit.” But what they’ve actually chosen to do is apply for residency and take all the steps related to it, including filing for a divorce as soon as those 10 days are up.
Just like Tom had to head to New York City for divorce proceedings to accommodate Katie’s filing in that state, if your spouse has set up residency in another county and files there, you will be required to travel to that county to try your divorce case. If you’re suspicious of your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s “vacation” to another part of Michigan, it’s in your best interest to file for divorce before they do to avoid the time, money, and inconvenience of divorcing in another area of Michigan.
Fighting Jurisdiction in a Michigan Divorce
Divorce is never convenient, but it doesn’t have to be even more inconvenient because of jurisdiction. If your spouse has filed for divorce in another part of Michigan, further complicating the ending of your union and making it nearly impossible for you to juggle work, family, and other obligations while dealing with your divorce, contact Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC in Macomb, Michigan, to discuss your options.