How to Serve Divorce Papers in Michigan

Getting a divorce in Michigan can be difficult. Understanding the steps involved in the divorce process will help make the process smoother. One important step is to serve divorce papers in Michigan to your spouse. This means having someone who isn't involved in the case serve the papers.

The first step in divorce proceedings is to fill out the complaint for divorce. Then, have a copy of the complaint served on your spouse, usually by a sheriff or process server.

After being served, your spouse has 28 days to respond. If they don't, a default judgment may be entered. Follow all of Michigan's rules when serving papers, including providing proof of delivery. Make sure all documents are properly filled out and filed.

Consult Clarity Family Law's skilled divorce attorneys in Dearborn for legal representation and guidance. Call today at 313-513-1919 to schedule a free consultation!

What Papers Do I Have Served?

To start the legal process of divorce in Michigan, you need the proper paperwork served. The required documents vary depending on your case but usually include a summons, a complaint for divorce, and a notice of hearing.

  • The summons notifies your spouse they are being sued for divorce and must respond within twenty-eight days.
  • The complaint for divorce outlines the issues of your case and what you are requesting.
  • The notice of hearing informs both parties of the divorce trial's date and location.

After preparing these documents, you must file them with the court and provide proof of service, either by first-class mail or in person. The method depends on the court's preference.

a couple sitting at a table with divorce papers and their wedding rings in between them

What Does the Server Do?

When someone is served with divorce papers in the state of Michigan, what the server does is provide the person being served with a copy of the summons and complaint. The server must be 18 years old or older and not involved in any way with the case. This includes being a party to the action, an attorney for either party, or any other individual related to either party.

Can I Be the Server?

In the state of Michigan, under the divorce laws, you must hire a third-party process server to serve your spouse with divorce paperwork. A process server is a person who can legally serve divorce packets on behalf of the court. It is not permissible for either spouse to serve the other with divorce papers in Michigan.

FAQ: How much does a divorce lawyer cost in Dearborn, Michigan?

The process server must be at least 18 years old and be considered competent by the court. The process server will provide proof of service, which must be filed with the court.

What Are the Rules for Mailing?

In the state of Michigan, divorce complaint papers must be served by Michigan Court Rules. In a divorce filing without an attorney or divorce law firm, one way to serve the other party is by mailing them the documents via certified mail with the return receipt requested. This will establish proof that the other party was officially served with the divorce forms.

When sending out divorce action papers via certified mail, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure the documents are properly addressed with the other party’s full name and address.

2. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return receipt card.

3. Keep a copy of all sent documents for your records.

4. Ask your local post office if they have any additional requirements that must be met when sending out certified mail.

5. Wait for the return receipt card to arrive before filing your Proof of Service with the court.

Can My Spouse Agree to Accept the Service of the Papers?

In Michigan, a spouse can agree to accept service of the divorce papers. This is known as “waiving service” or “consent to service” and it means that your spouse has accepted the divorce situation legal documents without any further action required from you.

two wedding rings sitting on a divorce document

To waive service, the spouse is required to sign a document known as a waiver of service form (MCL 552.8) and submit it to the court. This form confirms that the spouse has received and comprehended the divorce papers and consents to the terms outlined in them such as parenting time of minor children, property division, etc. 

What If I Don't Know Where My Spouse Is?

If a spouse is unable to be personally served with divorce papers in Michigan, then an alternative service may be utilized. This may include leaving the papers with a third party, such as an adult who resides with or near the spouse, or sending them by certified mail or registered mail.

FAQ: How do you file for a divorce in Dearborn, Michigan?

If there are still difficulties locating the spouse, then it may be possible to pursue publication in a qualified newspaper. The publication works like a public notice and will allow the court to assume that your spouse has been properly served with divorce papers.

What Do I Do with the Completed Proof of Service?

Once the person who served the divorce papers has completed the proof of service form, they must turn it into the court clerk. The court clerk will then file the proof of service with your court case and send a copy to both parties involved. All documents must be filed promptly for your divorce to proceed forward.

two lawyers discussing divorce paper work

Depending on your county, you may be able to file your documents online or you can bring them in person to the county clerk’s office.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Dearborn Divorce Attorney Today!

If you are considering filing for divorce in Michigan, it is important to understand the timeline of divorce and the necessary steps and processes involved. Serving divorce papers in both an amicable divorce and a contested divorce can be a complicated process that requires knowledge of state law and procedure.

To ensure proper service of divorce papers in Michigan, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Dearborn divorce attorney at Clarity Family Law.

As procedures of divorce differ from case by case qualified Dearborn divorce lawyer from Clarity Family Law can provide you with legal advice to ensure that your divorce is properly handled. Contact Clarity Family Law today!

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