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Divorce in Bay County
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Online Divorce in Bay County
Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Bay County, Michigan, is a divorce document preparation service, not a law firm. Online Divorce is not eligible to provide legal advice. All the information below is for informational purposes only.
In Bay County, Michigan, as with anywhere in the US, an uncontested no-fault divorce is the fastest and easiest possible way to terminate the marriage. No contest implies that the spouses reach an agreement concerning the terms of their case out-of-court, avoiding a court trial. In addition to the fact that uncontested divorces take, on average, less time than the contested ones, the total price of such a separation is also significantly lower. In a contested divorce, lawyers usually charge an hourly fee, as opposed to a flat fee for an uncontested one. However, since the legal representative's assistance in a simple uncontested divorce usually consists of only the paperwork matters and support in creating a Settlement Agreement, other more affordable and easy options can be considered.
Along with mediation, counseling, or do-it-yourself divorce, online divorce is an inexpensive dissolution alternative available for an uncontested case. OnlineDivorce.com in Bay County takes on the preparation of the required divorce forms. In some cases, the spouses may even proceed without a lawyer and arrange a quick DIY-divorce using the paperwork kit provided by OnlineDivorce.
OnlineDivorce customizes all the documents according to the individual circumstances of a couple, the family law of the state, and local rules. After answering a detailed questionnaire on the site, the client can be sure that in two days he or she will receive the printable petition and other forms for their particular case and that the Bay County circuit court will approve them.
Even though OnlineDivorce does not provide legal advice, as a divorce document preparation service, it helps to reduce costs and avoid unnecessary stress. This service assists you with filling out divorce papers in Bay County online without leaving home and without having to understand legal matters. OnlineDivorce.com also provides the clients with step-by-step guidance through the process, so every step of getting a divorce in Bay County is really straightforward.
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Valid grounds to get divorce in Bay County
Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the Family Law does not provide fault-based grounds. Filing for divorce in Bay County, neither spouse has to prove the other party's misconduct.
According to the Michigan Compiled Laws, Sec., 552.6, the only legitimate ground to apply for divorce within the state is "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." The evidence of the ground shall be presented in open court.
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Spouses with children who want to obtain a divorce in Bay County are typically encouraged to reach an agreement on issues like custody and visitation.
If the court finds that the spouses' agreement meets the best interest of the child, this arrangement is enforceable. Otherwise, under the Michigan Compiled Laws, Sec. 722.23, the court decides the issues associated with the child at its discretion after analyzing factors such as:
emotional ties between the parents and the child;
the ability of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and raising of the child, as well as to meet the child's basic needs;
the moral fitness of the parties involved;
the mental and physical health of the parties involved;
the preferences of the, if the child has reached the required age to think sanely;
the willingness of each of the parties to encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, and the ability to cooperate with the other parent in the process of raising a child;
any cases of domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child;
and any other factors the court may consider as essential.
In Bay County, Michigan, divorcing couples with children are typically required to attend Parenting Classes. The classes are committed to minimizing the difficult emotional consequences of marriage breakdown for both the child and the parents. Since joint custody is presumed to be in the best interest of the child, unless it is proven otherwise, Parenting Classes can also help the spouses to structure successful co-parenting after the divorce.
If shared parenting is not appropriate in a particular divorce case, the court appoints a primary custodian based on the best interests of the child. In most cases, the second parent has visitation rights. Visitation is determined according to the schedule agreed on by the parents or established by the court, as well as access to records or information concerning the child (medical, dental, and school records, daycare provider's records, and notification of meetings regarding the child's education).
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Rules for child support in Bay County
In a divorce in Bay County, one or both parents can be obliged to pay child support, covering medical insurance, childcare, and the education of the child. Child support shall be determined according to the Michigan Child Support Formula, and an exact amount for a particular case shall be calculated using a Child Support Worksheet.
The state of Michigan follows the Income Shares Model to determine the amount of child support. The Income Shares Model means that the amount of support that would have been available if the marriage had not failed should be estimated. Then, this amount shall be divided proportionally to the spouses according to each party's income. All these steps are provided in the Child Support Worksheet. However, in a divorce in Bay County, if the income of a noncustodial parent is significantly higher than the income of the primary custodian, the parent with a higher income may be assigned more financial responsibility.
Rules for spousal support in Bay County
Under the Michigan Compiled Law, Sec. 552.23, in the divorce proceeding in Bay County, either spouse may request alimony (spousal support). Typically, alimony is awarded to the spouse with the lower income to satisfy his or her basic needs, or so that the spouse can acquire the necessary knowledge or skills that may help to find decent employment.
Based on certain landmark cases, the Michigan Supreme Court has stated that the following factors may affect the duration and amount of spousal support:
The length of the marriage
Each spouse's health and age
Each spouse's ability to work
Each spouse's financial capabilities and amount of property
Each spouse's reasonable needs
The ability of the parties to pay alimony
The standard of living of the parties during the marriage
General principles of equity
The grounds for the dissolution and the misconduct of either spouse may also affect the decision regarding alimony.
Based on these considerations, different types of alimony may be awarded:
Temporary alimony - Financial assistance that is paid during the divorce process. It terminates after the decision on dissolution is made by the judge.
Short-term alimony - This type of maintenance is aimed to help the spouse with a low income to acquire the necessary knowledge and ability to find a decent job.
Long-term alimony - Financial assistance, which is usually paid to the spouse with special needs or after 10 years of marriage or more.
Uncontested Bay County divorce with children
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Property division in Bay County
The state of Michigan suggests that the division of property should be fair, although this does not always mean that it should be equal.
Typically, the courts divide the common property, meaning everything that spouses have acquired during the marriage. However, in some instances, according to Michigan Compiled Laws, Sec. 552.19, 552.101, and 552.401, the separate property of each spouse can be subject to division too, if there is evidence that the party contributed to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of the other party's separate property.
In Bay County, the spouses can decide how the property is divided on their own. If the spouses can agree on how to divide assets in a divorce out-of-court, the judge is likely to approve their agreement. But if the spouses are in a tense conflict and cannot resolve the dispute independently, the court shall decide based on an analysis of factors such as:
the duration of the marriage;
sources of property acquisition;
the separate property of each party;
the needs of each spouse and their ability to earn;
the contribution that each spouse made for the purchase of property or its maintenance;
age, physical, and mental indicators of partners;
and any other circumstances that the court may consider relevant.
Even though Michigan is a no-fault state, when considering the issue of division of property, the court may take into account the misconduct of either spouse and the reasons which led to the dissolution of the marriage.
Mediation support in Bay County
If the spouses filing for divorce have controversial issues that they cannot resolve amicably through negotiations, they can use the services of a mediator. In Bay County, mediation is usually a voluntary process, but sometimes the courts may require the spouses to contact intermediaries for issues concerning the distribution of custody.
Mediators cannot take the side of either spouse. They are also not psychologists or lawyers. The task of the mediators is to help the spouses find a solution that will satisfy both parties.
How to file for divorce in Bay County | Step-by-Step
Family law is state-specific in the US, so the spouses should know how to file for divorce in a particular state and county. Foremost, they have to meet the Michigan residency requirements. In Bay County, Michigan, for the court to accept a dissolution lawsuit, either spouse must be a resident of Michigan for at least 180 days preceding the Petition filing date and live in Bay County for at least ten days before filing. However, there are some exceptions. The plaintiff can skip the ten-day waiting period, provided that one of the following conditions is met:
- A defendant of the case is born or is a citizen of another country.
- The spouses have minor children.
- The plaintiff has information, based on which the court can verify that the defendant may try to take their child outside of the United States without the plaintiff's consent.
In Michigan, actions for dissolution of the marriage are handled by the family division of Circuit Court, so the petition for divorce must be filed with the Bay County Clerk of Courts.
The spouse who has initiated the case has to make copies of the initial documents (the Summons, Complaint, and any other papers he or she has filed to begin the procedure).
After filing for divorce, the plaintiff should know how to serve the defendant with divorce papers in Bay County. Serving divorce paperwork in Bay County cannot be accomplished by the defendant personally. The plaintiff can seek the help of any adult person who is not involved in the case, or pay the local sheriff's department, police department, or a private process server. Regardless of who acts as the server, the following steps must be met
- The defendant must be served personally or via registered or certified mail with service restricted and a return receipt requested.
- The Proof of Service must be filled out and signed before a notary.
- The Proof of Service must be filed with the court.
Please note that the Summons must be delivered within 91 days after filing. Otherwise, the case may be dismissed.
After the Complaint and other forms are filed, the waiting period starts. The waiting period determines the minimum time needed to finalize a divorce in Bay County. In Michigan, the waiting period varies depending on whether the spouses have children (or they are expecting a child), or not. If the spouses do not have minor children, the waiting period is 60 days. If they have children, it typically takes no less than 180 days on average. This waiting period can be waived if the court finds that there is a compelling need to shorten the timeline for the safety and well-being of children.
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Filing fees for divorce in Bay County
The cost of any divorce starts with the court filing fee the plaintiff has to pay to begin the action. How much the fee will be in a particular case depends on whether the spouses have minor children. In Bay County, the filing fee for a divorce is typically between $175 and $250.
An individual who lacks the money to pay the fee is eligible to request a fee waiver. To qualify for a waiver, the plaintiff should disclose their financial information and prove the inability to pay. If the plaintiff qualifies to have the fees waived, the court may order the defendant to pay the court fees.
How long will it take?
The length of the divorce process in Bay County depends on lots of factors including the individual circumstances of the couple. The court typically schedules the final hearing earlier for amicable uncontested divorces, so if both parties agree, it takes less time to get a divorce. However, due to the mandatory waiting period, the procedure cannot be finalized in less than 60 days.
Filing for divorce in Bay County | Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a divorce cost in Bay County?
The cost of dissolution in Bay County starts with a court filing fee, but the other expenses are hard to predict. There are many options for divorce from DIY to traditional litigation as well as related services like counseling, mediation, and online services which help to arrange the process. So, in the end, it all depends on what process and what type of services the spouses choose.
How do you file for divorce in Bay County without a lawyer?
In Bay County, the spouses can file for marriage termination without legal representation, using the self-help tools provided by the Michigan Courts website or additional services like online divorce, counseling, mediation, etc. The procedure is the same as outlined in the “How to file for divorce in Bay County” paragraph of this text.
If the case is uncontested and the spouses do not have minor children, the do-it-yourself divorce option usually can help to save money without serious risks.
What forms are required for an uncontested divorce in Bay County?
The most common legal forms required for filing to terminate the marriage in Michigan include:
Summons and Complaint
Complaint for Divorce
Marital Settlement Agreement
Judgment or Divorce
Answer and Waiver
Notice of Hearing
Can I file for legal separation in Bay County, Michigan?
The form of legal separation provided by Michigan law is called separate maintenance. As a result of a separate maintenance action, all the spouses' property, debts, and liabilities are allocated as in a divorce. However, the parties remain legally married.
When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce?
The state of Michigan does not provide any restrictions for getting remarried after a Final Divorce Decree is obtained. The spouses can receive a marriage license in three days.
Divorce in Bay County online
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Here is how OnlineDivorce.com makes completing divorce papers easier:
We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
We give detailed, easy to follow step-by-step instructions for filing a divorce with the court - so the client knows exactly what to do to get his/her divorce finalized.
We provide unlimited technical support - if a client needs assistance through the online process, he/she can always reach out to us via phone, email, or live chat, and we'll do our best to help.
We save our clients time and money - if divorcing spouses agree regarding the terms of their divorce, they typically don’t have to pay thousands to a lawyer to handle their divorce forms and don't need to spend hours trying to do it all by themselves.
We guarantee 100% court approval on divorce papers prepared through our website or your money back - we have 21 years of experience in completing divorce forms so clients can be sure the court will accept their documents without issues.
With a contested divorce, spouses will have to go through numerous steps before the divorce is finalized, including:
prepare, file, and serve (deliver) the divorce petition
respond to the petition
interview and hire an attorney
pre-trial legal motions and hearings
settlement proposals and negotiations between attorneys
if settlement fails, prepare for and complete a court trial
appeal, if you dispute the trial judge’s decision(s)
Prepare to pay exorbitant attorney's fees - at least $2000-3000 depending on your case’s complexity.
Hourly rates vary with different attorneys and average $250-300 per hour. In rural areas, attorneys
may charge less. However, if you live in a large city, local attorneys may charge up to $1000 per hour.
At first glance, using such sites may look like an easy way to go, but it may turn into additional
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long processing times - do you like waiting?
inexperienced and poorly-trained customer support
not user-friendly technology
lack of guidance during the process
hidden fees, e.g., for any, even the simplest, revisions
outdated divorce forms causing court rejection
Did you know that some online divorce providers have virtual addresses in the US because they are
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