Prior to the 1970s, a married person in Michigan (as in most U.S. jurisdictions) who sought a divorce was required to prove that the other spouse was somehow at fault. This meant proving “grounds” such as adultery, desertion or mental cruelty. It was not enough to show that the marriage was broken, even if the other spouse agreed. In too many cases, this forced one member of a couple to exaggerate or even make up stories about his or her spouse’s wrongdoing.
The “fault” requirement has since been eliminated from Michigan’s divorce law. Today, the court can grant a divorce request by either spouse if it finds that “there has been a breakdown in 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.”
As discussed elsewhere on our website, the elimination of the need to show fault doesn’t always mean you or your spouse’s misconduct is completely irrelevant for all purposes. It may still come into play in determining the division of the marital assets and if there are disputes over child custody.
At Lucido & Manzella, we have many years of experience advising individuals who wish to legally end their marriages.
“No fault” does not mean “no issues” or “no emotion”. You and your spouse will still need to agree – or it you can’t, you’ll ask the court to decide – things such as who will have primary custody of children, who will pay child support (and how much) and how the marital home and other assets will be divided. Even if you believe you and your spouse are in general agreement on such issues, it is advisable to consult an experienced divorce lawyer in order to understand your rights and responsibilities toward him or her and any children and to be sure your understanding is properly documented. The caring and experienced lawyers at Lucido & Manzella P.C. are ready to help make this major transition in your life go as smoothly as possible.