Filing for Divorce: The Documents Explained

By Daniel H Moss, Attorney

Filing for divorce is not only a difficult emotional decision, it can be a confusing legal process for all parties involved. The following list details many of the documents that may be included in the initial filing of a divorce.

A summons notifies the other spouse that a suit has been started and he or she has 21 days, if personally served in Michigan, to respond or a default may be taken (28 days if served by mail or outside of Michigan).

The complaint document states the names of the parties, where, when, and by whom you were married, names and birthdays of children (if any), wife’s and husband’s names before marriage, length of residence in county and state, date of separation, grounds for divorce, a statement as to property, whether the wife is pregnant, and the relief requested. A party must reside in Michigan for at least 180 days and in the county where the suit is started for at least 10 days. There are some exceptions to the residency requirement.

Affidavit of Service and Return of Service
This document is filed when service is made.

Affidavit of Previous Suit
This informs the court as to whether a previous action of divorce between the parties has been filed.

Verified Statement to the Friend of the Court
This document informs the Friend of the Court of the essential facts (not necessary in cases where Friend of the Court Services are not required).

Record of Divorce
This is a statistical record required by the state.

Injunctions are only requested when needed to restrain a spouse from committing certain acts. Your attorney will explain this procedure to you and ask if you want an Injunction.

Ex Parte Orders
This may be obtained for temporary custody, support, etc. An objection timely filed to the ex parte order will negate the effectiveness of the Order until a hearing on this matter.

Affidavit for Ex Parte Order
Sworn statements that the facts stated in order to obtain the ex parte order are true.

Filing Fees
Filing fees are required. As of this article, the filing fee is $175.00 if there are no children involved, $255.00 if there are children.

There is also the cost of serving papers. Later on, there may be other costs for services such as services from appraisers, actuaries, accountants, depositions, etc. You will be advised before any of these expenses are incurred, so you may negate them.

Hearing Fees and Additional Fees
Notice of Hearing, Praecipe, Motions and $20.00 to $100 Filing Fees for interim relief, which requires a hearing. A motion is a plea to the court for some type of relief. A praecipe is merely a form requesting that the matter be set for hearing. Notice of hearing merely advises that a hearing will be held.

Use this brief overview as a quick reference guide as you begin the process. If you have questions or are looking for advice about your specific situation, please contact me directly at 248.855.5656 or [email protected].

Note: This information is intended to provide some general information. It is not intended to answer specific questions about a particular case, as each case is different.

If you have questions or are looking for advice about your specific situation, please contact me directly at 248.855.5656 or [email protected].