The Difference Between Fault and No Fault Divorce in Michigan


The Difference Between Fault and No Fault Divorce in Michigan

So, you’ve heard of no fault insurance, but have you heard of “no fault” divorce? No fault divorce is the law in Michigan and it governs how a divorce is handled. Simply stated, the only thing that has to be alleged in a divorce complaint is “that there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved”.

I know that sounds like a mouthful and very legalese. In its basic terms, this means that neither party is legally at fault for the divorce. We do not have to allege why the marriage broke down in the complaint, simply that there was a breakdown of the marriage. We do not have to allege infidelity, drug problem, gambling problems, or anything else. If one spouse wants a divorce, the divorce will be granted.

No fault means that if you want the divorce, but your spouse does not want the divorce, then you will be granted a divorce. As long as you allege that there “has been a breakdown in the marriage” then your spouse cannot contest that. They can contest property division, spousal support, and child custody.

However, just because Michigan is a “no fault divorce” state, that doesn’t mean fault will never come into play. In Michigan, it is presumed that the property division will be divided 50/50 between the parties. Now if one spouse has cheated on the other, has a drug problem, gambling problem, etc. that caused the other spouse to file for divorce, fault can come into play. So the property division could be 45/55, 40/60, 30/70, or whatever the court may decide.

In addition, fault can come into play when deciding child custody . Fault, or moral fitness, can’t be used as the sole factor for deciding child custody or parenting time but it can be used as a factor in making that determination. Other factors including who can best provide for the child, how long the child has lived in a stable environment, emotional ties between the child and the custodial parent, how permanent the home will be for the child, mental and physical health of the parent, preference of the child, school or home record of the child, violence in the household, or any other factor the court chooses to look at.

So legally, Michigan is a no fault divorce State when filing a complaint for divorce and we don’t have to allege why there is a breakdown in the marriage, simply that there was a breakdown. If you want more information about your rights in a divorce, call your Metro-Detroit Divorce Lawyer at (586) 439-4297 and schedule a FREE CONSULTATION. We will assess your situation and answer any questions you have and tell you how we can help.


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