Divorce: I've been served a divorce in Michigan.

January 1, 2015 - Categories: Legal Articles

If you have been served a divorce complaint for a Michigan divorce, you need to act quickly and file an "Answer" with the court.

Proper service: First, it is important that you were served properly. Service must be:

  1. If you live in Michigan, it must be by in-person delivery from an adult who is 18 years or older, and they must hand you the paperwork.You don't need to sign for it.
  2. Alternatively, if you voluntarily sign for it, then this is also proper service.
  3. If you live out of state, then you can be served by certified mail, signature-required. This means that you are only properly served if you "sign for it." If you refuse to sign, then you have not been served.
  4. However, if you are trying to avoid service, then your spouse can get an order from the judge allowing them to serve you through "alternate" forms of service, such as: 1) regular first-class mail to you, your work, or a relative; or 2) posting the complaint on your door.

You should accept service and deal with it, so that you are in the best position to defend agaisnt the complaint and what your spouse is asking for in the case.

Answer the Complaint within 21/28 days: It is important that, once you receive the complaint, you "answer the complaint" within the required amount of time. This means that you must answer all of the allegations in their complaint by writing out an "Answer to Divorce" and filing it with the court within that amount of time. You want to also write out a "Proof of Service". Then mail the Answer to the other party (or their attorney), and mail both the Answer and the Proof of service to the court within 21 days if you were personally served, or within 28 days if you were served by mail.

What happens if I don't answer?

If you don't answer, then you are effectively "admitting" to all of the allegations that are in the Complaint. Therefore, if your spouse (the Plaintiff) asks for spousal support, child support, custody, certain property, and for you to pay certain debts, then you are basically admitting you he/she should get all of those things requested.

Therefore, it is critical that you write the Answer, file it and the Proof of Service with the court in a timely manner, and serve it on the party in a timely manner.

Have more questions or need legal help?

Feel free to call Access Legal Care to set up a free phone consultation with an attorney at 855-347-3704.