Why Jurisdiction Matters in a Michigan Divorce
The term “jurisdiction” in a divorce refers to the court that will be hearing your divorce case. In Michigan, all divorce cases are held in the circuit court of the county in which the person who has filed for divorce lives. But, first, residency requirements must be met to file for divorce.
What Does Jurisdiction Mean?
If you want to be eligible to use a specific court system for your Michigan divorce complaint, it’s necessary to meet that jurisdiction’s residency requirements before you file.
Typically, people file for divorce in the county in which they live. Jurisdiction is usually only a concern for someone who has recently moved or plans to move soon which, of course, is often the case in divorces where a pair is splitting up and establishing at least one new household.
Here are some of the basic rules to file for divorce in a Michigan court:
- The person who files for divorce, or the other party, must be a Michigan resident for at least 180 days.
- One or both spouses must be a resident of that county for at least 10 days prior to filing for divorce in that jurisdiction.
- Whatever Michigan court your divorce case begins in, that is the court where it will conclude, even if the plaintiff moves out of the county. One party can file a motion to change the venue, but if the other party still resides in that county, the court will not agree to change the venue.
Be in Control of Jurisdiction in Your Michigan Divorce
There are many reasons an individual might choose to wait to file for divorce. They may want to force the other person’s hand so they themselves don’t have to file first. It may be a matter of pride. If jurisdiction is in question in any way, however, filing first to keep legal proceedings in an area where they are convenient for you is critical.
You don’t want to be at the mercy of a distant jurisdiction, not when you have your children, job, household, and other obligations to manage on your own. Can you afford to take time away, financially or otherwise? Probably not. But you won’t have a choice – it will be necessary for you to travel and be present for divorce proceedings, even if they’re not in your jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction matters. And you want to make sure it falls in your favor. It’s important to be aware of how easily jurisdiction could change. For example, maybe your estranged spouse has announced that he or she will be taking an extended vacation or making a visit to a family member or friend. Sure, they could be going abroad, or they could be moving to another part of Michigan without telling you.
If you suspect that this “adventure” is not legitimate or temporary, but rather that your ex is planning to establish residency elsewhere and then file for divorce – whether out of spite or otherwise – it may be in your best interest to file for divorce first.
Get Jurisdiction Help from a Michigan Divorce Lawyer
Bottom line: Where you live makes all the difference when you’re getting a divorce in Michigan.
Working with a Michigan divorce attorney ensures that you will have the guidance you need in all divorce matters. Residency and jurisdiction can be tricky, and they not only affect where your divorce proceedings are carried out and settled, they affect child custody and parenting time. The court that grants your divorce will continue to exercise jurisdiction over your children and have exclusive power to determine aspects of your child’s care now and in the future.
Choose an experienced family law attorney in Macomb County to work on your behalf so your divorce is carried out the way you want it to be. Divorce can be complicated and exhausting. Making the situation as convenient as possible will ease the pressure and strain. Contact the divorce lawyers at Michigan Divorce Help in Macomb County for your free consultation to get answers to all your questions about jurisdiction.