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Divorces take time to finalize, be prepared

Ending a marriage in Michigan isn't as fast as just deciding that the relationship has ended. There are several factors that determine how long it will take to legally end the union in this state.

Some of the factors that will affect how long your divorce takes from filing to the finalization are out of your control. Others you can try to speed along, but you must do so carefully so you keep your rights protected throughout the process. Here are some points to know about moving your divorce along.

A waiting period applies

Michigan has two waiting periods for a divorce to be finalized. People with minor children must wait at least 180 days. People without minor children have a waiting period of 60 days. These timeframes start on the day the petition is filed. There are exceptions, but they are very rare so it is best to count on waiting at least this long for the divorce to be finalized.

Property division matters

You have to work through the property division matters before the divorce can be finalized. Most people will work with their ex to come to an agreement without having to go through a trial and letting the court decide. Being willing to negotiate can help your divorce to be finalized sooner since it allows for settlement. Some people use mediation as a way to come up with property division terms, so consider this option if you feel you won't be able to keep things on track with your ex during the compromise.

Child custody issues

If you have children, you have to decide on the parenting plan and decision-making powers. The type of custody arrangement you will use and the schedule the child will follow are important. As you are deciding these matters, remember that you aren't making plans for the rest of the child's life. Instead, you are coming to an agreement that is in the child's best interests now. Child custody modifications are possible if the situation changes or your child's needs evolve.

In all matters related to the divorce, you must ensure that what you are doing meets the requirements of the state's laws. There are times when things just don't work how you think they will. For this reason, plan for the divorce to take a little longer than expected.

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